Over the weekend, I was honoured to help facilitate the second annual Deathly Matters conference: two days of powerful speakers exploring diverse topics aimed at doing death better. The amazing speakers shared insights on palliative care in the homeless population; the ecological footprint of death; pet loss; indigenous perspectives on death, dying and grief; medical assistance in dying; home funerals; the intersection of trauma informed deathcare and cultural humility; planning for living while dying; and so much more.
It was a rich weekend of deep learning, inspiration and community building. Such a balm in this wildly chaotic year.
I’ve been sitting in heightened awareness of my chronic condition (Type 1 diabetes) recently. I’m in the process of changing my insulin delivery method and have to learn a new system and technology. I’ve been working with my coach to really be with the grief that accompanies a long-term illness…particularly, the sorrow for what might have been, and acknowledgement of how taxing it is to carry all the things I’ve had to suck up and figure out and swallow just to get through each day as best I can…without complaining, because someone’s always got it worse, right? …
Living with a chronic condition can feel like
an uphill hike that never ends
with a heavy pack you can never set down.
At least, that’s how it feels for me. For almost 40 years, I’ve been living with Type 1 diabetes.
That means since I was a kid, I have had to:
We’ve come through half a year of uncertainty caused by this pandemic. Right now, many of us are experiencing “the dip” or “hitting the wall:” a normal, to-be-expected time of depleted physical, emotional and mental energy. It happens in other endeavours of life — the most common example is running a marathon (mile 20, anyone?). Even in the coaching certification I completed, we were warned to expect “the dip” somewhere between weeks 12 to 20 and given strategies to work through it in order to complete the program. …
Whew! The kids are back at school! Or not? Are you home-schooling or remote learning or taking advantage of a hybrid offering? No matter which learning option you’ve chosen for your family, September signals a shift into new routines…during a very un-routine time.
Now, more than ever, we parents need to take care of ourselves.
We don’t know how long in-class learning will last…or how long we’ll muster our patience to support kids through online or home schooling. In this article, I’m sharing some tips to establish sustainable self-care for the long-term.
But first, what the heck do we mean…
So, how about this pandemic, hey?
For those of us who have been lucky enough not to get sick OR have loved ones fall ill OR have loved ones die, alone in a care home or hospital OR grieve from afar OR lose income and financial stability OR have trouble finding food, medication, shelter and basic comforts OR required to work on the frontlines with too-few resources and fearful of bringing the virus home, (deep breath) this pandemic has created an opportunity to examine what is essential in our lives.
You know, other than our health, our loved ones’ health…
Part 8 of a journey through diagnosis, surgery and healing
Written: April 3, 2017
Here’s the quick update: I had a second and final surgery to remove cancer from my body on March 30. Following the first surgery (February 21), I healed quickly and was back to work in two weeks. This time, I will need to heal for at least six. This will be different for me. I don’t often do “nothing.” I will get to play with the “being” side of life for a change.
Here’s the longer reflection: Leading up to this surgery, I didn’t have the…
Part 7 of a journey through diagnosis, surgery and healing
Written: March 13, 2017
My favourite children’s author died today. And it hit me like a tonne of bricks, for some reason.
I was introduced to the incredible craft and creative beauty of Amy Krouse Rosenthal after our daughter entered our lives. We received a box set of Little Pea, Little Hoot and Little Oink from my brother. As soon as I read these gems, I was in love with her voice. You know when you read something and it sounds like the voice inside your head, and you think…
Part 6 of a journey through diagnosis, surgery and healing
Written: March 12, 2017
Today is my 42nd birthday.
I was treated to beautiful Indian food with friends last night, and this morning, to sleeping in, thick coffee, bacon and eggs, handmade cards and love notes, calls and texts from extended family, belly rubs with the dog, and an otherwise leisurely morning.
Simple and perfect.
The older I get, the less fuss there is about my birthday. This year I found myself almost forgetting my birthday was coming, and as a result, it is the least fussy ever. …
Part 5 of a journey through diagnosis, surgery and healing
Written: February 28, 2017
Not dying creates a real problem.
You have to live.
You have to keep figuring life out. You have to decide who you are and who you want to be and what you want to do and how you want to impact the world.
I was happy to not die. Trust me. I was VERY relieved to wake up. Even if I was puking and sore and bruised and oozing fluids from my lady-parts. Waking up was gross and painful and messy and joyful.