I am here to proudly say that on Feb 16th, 2018, I turned 53!
I am 53 years old and I am very grateful to have been here on this earth this long.
I am grateful for the things in my life. As I celebrated it occurred to me, how often people say, “Oh don’t ask their age, that’s impolite" or people are embarrassed to say
how old they are. Why is that???
Why can’t we celebrate how old we are, whether we are 53, 63, 83 or 93?
Should we not be saying, “Wow! That’s incredible! Good for you, you’ve been here this long.” Because we all know someone who has died young and they would be more than happy to
be 53 and have a few more wrinkles and grey hair.
Shouldn’t we be celebrating our age, no matter what it may be?
Shouldn’t we proudly announce, “I’m 53 years old, or whatever age?
So I challenge you to re-frame this thought and feel like it’s something to be proud of,
to be grateful, to celebrate each and every day. And just maybe, when you read this blog
or watch the video…why don’t you share with us, how old you are, how many years you
get to celebrate that you have been here and you are living your life. And hopefully you are living your life to the fullest at any age!
I am 53! And I am going to be piz-zazier and blingy-er (yes, those are words) with every decade, so look out!
I encourage you to share your age and celebrate your age,
whatever it may be!!
Structure Your Life in Such a Way
That You Can Live Without Each Other
Every month I am sharing one of my 7 Take Aways on how to live life to the fullest,
learn to grieving and support others and have “The Talk” about end of life, long before
it arrives and diffuse the fear. Today, we are looking at Take Away #5:
Structure your life in such a way that you can live without each other.
We all know the couple who were married for “100” years. The husband either became
ill or died and the wife had never paid a bill. Maybe she doesn’t even drive. Or,
the same couple, the wife becomes ill or dies and the husband has never even made a sandwich. The truth is, that used to be the way it was, “back in the day.” The man was
the one “bringing home the bacon” and the wife was the housewife. I’m not really sure
what they did when they faced end of life. But here’s the thing; couples are still doing this.
We are often totally dependent on our partners for certain things.
It’s great to have jobs that you do in your house and that your spouse has his/her own
jobs. BUT… even if the person is away, is ill or yes…dies… don’t we think that we should be able to do each other’s jobs? Why would we want to face that in a crisis? (I remember a
woman telling me that when her husband died, she had no idea how to manage her house
or live on her own. She was petrified!).
So I had to make my own decisions. I needed to empower myself. So I looked at Geordie’s
(my husband) tools and toolbox. Now I have my own cute little hammer and my own toolbox.
I don’t even care what anyone thinks of my pink basket of tools. I have my own nails, screwdrivers AND I can also use the electric drill, thank you very much. I learned how
to operate the generator so that when the power goes out I can start it and not be a
“damsel in distress”.
Really something to think about; what is making you dependent in your house and what
could you do to change that? It is a hard way to live when you think, “Oh my goodness,
if my spouse was away, I wouldn’t be able to do a, b or c. Let’s stop doing that to each
other and to ourselves.
Structure your life in such a way that you are resilient and self-reliant.
Last week I was at the West Parry Sound Health Centre, and connected with Jessica Caux,
a lovely young woman who works with the hospice/palliative care team.
She was instrumental in creating a beautiful space called the Reflection Room.
I wanted to learn more about it. So I asked, Jessica, what is a Reflection Room?
Jessica: A team of researchers at Saint Elizabeth Health Care developed this project called
The Reflection Room. It was created to inspire people to share their stories about their
experience with death, dying and the overall experience with grief on their journey.
It is a space created to make it OK to talk about it, OK to reflect and OK to feel those
emotions. Then, they analyze the stories and share them on their website:
www.reflectionroom.ca and it’s great!
Yvonne: I think it’s so extraordinary! People can go to the website anytime and
share their stories! Awesome! (They can also look at creating a Reflection Room in
their community!) In my three years of hearing people’s stories researching for my book,
I realized how much people need to share these stories. But they often don’t. They don’t
know where to go or who to tell. Often loved ones are afraid to listen! I look around
and see they are beautiful stories everywhere that people have shared. Stories of love
and grief! It’s so heartwarming! What made you want to create this room?
Jessica: We live in a death-phobic society and creating this space makes it OK,
then everyone starts to jump on that train!
Yvonne: Jessica, this is music to my ears!! Thank you so much for creating this beautiful
space (with, I’m sure, a great team working together!). This is open 24/7 until
February 27th, 2018. Anyone is welcome to come by, write, reflect anytime.
Have a look at the website, share your story, get information or maybe learn
how to create a Reflection Room in your community!
Creating space to pause, reflect
and share experiences with dying and death
I’ve had the privilege of interviewing Kevin Cutler on my Hunter’s Bay Radio Show.
Kevin is a long-time educator, and we talked about Restorative Practice which he now teaches. It’s a wonderful concept I learned about many years ago at my children’s school.
Kevin, tell you about Restorative Practice and what you teach:
Kevin: What we teach is that relationships are the key to learning, productivity and life.
And when harm is done, the purpose of discipline is not to punish, it’s to teach.
We do a lot of work with schools, any organization and families around building
community, having voice, having choice, being fair and engaging people.
We do a lot of teaching around how to facilitate effective circles, effective discussions
and use them for all these things.
Yvonne: And giving everyone a voice and a safe space!
Kevin: Yes. We’ve implemented this in all the schools in the area. And I’ve just
returned from Northern Quebec and the Arctic, where we worked in 14 communities
and their schools—with the Inuit Community. This practice is based on indigenous
customs and traditions. All we’ve done at IIRP (International Institute for Restorative Practices, Canada), is probably add some science and language.
Yvonne: I encourage all of you to learn more at www.canada.iirp.edu
Thank you, Kevin, for all that you do to teach this important concept,
to help build community and create a safe space for everyone!
*From the “Restorative Practices Handbook”, pg. 7
Simply put, restorative means to believe that decisions are best made and conflicts are best resolved by those most directly involved in them. The restorative practices movement seeks to develop good relationships and restore a sense of community in an increasingly disconnected world. These practices have been applied in justice systems, families, workplaces and neighbourhoods, as well as in schools.
Yvonne Heath is Canada's Proactive Living Consultant. She is a Speaker, Television Host, Award Winning Author
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