When I say I'm a professional organizer, it really doesn't say a darn thing about what I do. So, here's a long, emotional post not really about what I do but who I am.
In a professional organizer group I'm in, someone asked, "Does anyone have any tips or resources for organizing with (older) ladies dealing with the death of their husbands? "
Here's what I shared with her. Hopefully, it will give some insight into my day-to-day and how lucky I am to have found my purpose and to be able to live it every day.
"Not all organizers are ready to go to this emotional place, and that's ok. It's simply not who we all are. If it's horribly uncomfortable, find another organizer in your area you really like and trust and share business. I actually know an organizer who really prefers to not talk with her clients much. But, if you are a person who can float in the deep abyss of emotions, be yourself and help these women.
This seems to be my specialty, taking care of people while I happen to be an organizer. They want to be heard and their feelings validated. They are soooooo tired of, "Everything will be ok. Time heals all wounds. Just think about the happy times. He lived a long life."
I had a client who lost both of her parents. One day she looked at me and said, "I'm just in a shit mood today." I told her that sounded pretty darn reasonable. She kept apologizing and I let her know I knew she wasn't mad at me, she was just pissed off that her parents were gone. She was having an angry kind of day. I said, "I'm pretty sure I'm going to really damn angry at the world too when I lose my parents." She really appreciated the validation of her "negative" emotions.
Sometimes life just hurts. And it's ok to feel all of those emotions and let people know you will be there for them no matter what. It's not exactly an unconditional love kind of relationship with a client, it's unconditional acceptance and support.
I also spoke with a woman yesterday whose husband is terminal. It was an introductory call, so I'm not sure how long he has, but I can tell she is preparing herself for his death. When I told her, "My process will take care of the stuff, I will take care of YOU. My whole job is to support and take care of you," she broke down. She cried and couldn't speak for a minute or two. And, I let her. I let that horrible silence be there. And then I said, "Oh, Kim, you have so much to take care of right now. Let me take some of that for you."
I can't wait to meet her next week for her consultation. Of course, it's lovely to have a new client but what I really love is that she is going to be cared for. Her life is still going to be pure hell most of the time, but there will be a few moments that it feels lighter. In a few years, she'll look back and think of how things were so stressful and painful but she'll remember there was this woman who came into her home and brought a little light and we laughed about absurd things, a woman who got tears in her eyes whenever she did and her day was just that little bit better.
This is what we professional organizers do and it's a privilege."