I am in the Hunter’s Bay Radio studio with Eva Zachary and Jody North.
Two wonderful ladies from Muskoka Victim Services. I asked Eva what the
greatest message we could share with our community would be. She replied,
Just Be There. Be Human.
If someone is in crisis, struggling in any traumatic situation, you don’t have
to fix it. And you can’t fix it. You can’t change what happened! But, you can…
Just Show Up. Just Be There. Be Yourself.
You don’t have to walk in like you have a PhD (even if you do!) and have all the answers. It’s much better to say, I don’t know what to do or say, but I’m here! Both ladies agree and Eva adds, That’s the best thing. Jody says,
that’s how real connections are made.
Just Showing Up, and being human.
That’s how real connections are made.
We can also have these conversations BEFORE a crisis.
What should I do or say? Seek out information!
Victim Services volunteers Just Show Up in the deepest and greatest crisis of someone’s life. Eva says it is usually one of the worst days of someone’s life.
I can’t express how grateful I am for Victim Services staff and volunteers.
I have met people who have been supported by them, and it made all the difference. We want our volunteers there, but we also need our community to
have the courage to Just Show Up.
(and keep in mind, volunteers need their village too!)
Being the Program Coordinator, Jody adds that they are always accepting new volunteers on their team. (Even if you’re not in Muskoka, I have no doubt your local Victim Services needs volunteers too!)
Showing up on someone’s worst day, a very difficult thing to do.
But so rewarding, know you made the difference on someone’s’ worst day!
Thank you ladies. You are Queens of Just Showing Up.
And thank you to every Victim Services organization.
You make the difference!
My friend Minnie was admitted to hospital, and when Geordie saw her,
she was sitting in the chair eating a meatball sub. I decided I would visit her the
next day. But that night, shortly after her sons visited,
Minnie died peacefully.
Minnie lived and died the way she wanted. She spent her last years at
Castle Peaks Retirement Home in Bracebridge; a place she loved. Thankfully,
she was not in hospital for long. She was my beautiful friend.
I am sad that I didn’t know our last visit was going to be our last visit,
and that I wasn’t able to attend her funeral. That was hard. I lit our special
candle with her picture and wrote this:
My Friend Minnie
I had the easy part. I didn’t have to make medical decisions,
drive Minnie anywhere or attend doctor’s appointments. I just got to be Minnie’s friend. When I was writing my book, Love Your Life to Death, I was writing
Take Aways on Living Well, Grieving Well and Dying Well. But something was missing. My mother-in-law, Nancy Heath, suggested I visited Minnie.
She was 101 at the time. The rest is history.
Minnie and I shared many wonderful moments and deep conversations over
the last four years. I learned about her entire life and was in awe of her quiet wisdom—although she didn’t think she was wise. She knew she was opinionated though, and we laughed about that. When I would visit I would often have to
wait until she was done carpet bowling or playing bridge. But, it was always
worth it! Geordie and the twins, Jadyn and Tanner, visited sometimes too.
Minnie watched my new career evolve and was delighted when my book was complete. Her response; “It’s really is more about living well, isn’t it!” She
really got it. I am honoured to share of glimpse of Minnie in my book and she
is part of my every presentation. I share my 7 Take Aways everywhere I go.
She gave me Take Away #6:
We all need a post; something to hang onto in times of despair,
something that will be there for us, no matter what.
So, Find Your Post, and Hold Onto It.
Thank you, Minnie, for being my friend.
I already miss you!
Love Yvonne xo
We always want to be sorry that someone died, but don’t be.
Of course I’d love a hug and the people who miss Minnie need to be supported
in their grief, but Minnie lived her life well and had a good death.
So let’s celebrate my friend Minnie who lived 105 years!
(But feel free to send me a hug!)
p.s. When I told my daughter Jadyn about Minnie she hugged me,
then brought me my self-care toolbox!
I’ve been sharing my Take Aways for the last several months.
Today is the last one; Take Away #7—What Will Your Legacy Be?
So often people nearing the end of life are trying to figure out what their legacy will be? The truth? I believe we create our legacy each and every day of our lives. Are we kind? Helpful? Miserable? What will people remember about us?
Create your legacy everyday with every interaction.
I aspire to have a legacy of laughter, love and being the change I want to
see in the world. So when people think back (there are a lot of things I hope
they don’t remember; I’m not perfect), I sure hope they remember when I was
a nurse and tried to make them laugh or smile and I was really silly. And of
course the wonderful family that Geordie and I created—my greatest accomplishment. I am also so proud of my Love Your Life to Death book and
the I Just Showed Up movement.
We all have different journeys, different purpose. So I ask you;
What will your legacy be?
What will people remember most about you?
If you don’t like the answer, what can you do to change that, today?
It’s been wonderful sharing my 7 Take Aways with you. I hope that just maybe,
you had an Aha Moment and feel empowered to change some things so
you can Love Your Life to Death.
Join our community, as we continue to
support and learn from each other along the way.
Together we can create a culture of change!
Imagine facing the greatest loss of your life, and not being able to talk about it.
This is what Karen Litchfield—and her siblings—went through.
I shared a glimpse of Karen’s story in my book, Love Your Life to Death (pg. 113) and
interviewed her on my Hunters Bay Radio Show. (tune in May 5th at 8am or on HBR’s Podcast). https://www.huntersbayradio.com
Karen: We talked about my mom’s tragic death in a car accident, when she was 31 years old.
Her name, Joan Marie Sanders (nee Heard).
My dad was left with five children; 7 year old twins, and a 6, 5 and 4 year old.
He has never been able to talk about it. After she died we weren’t allowed to ask questions
about her, see photos or talk about her at all. He has never talked about her and even later in
life when we have our own children we’d say, “What can you tell us about mom?”
His response “There’s nothing to say.”
I shared: It is so hard when we don’t talk about grief or allow children to grieve.
Your dad didn’t know how to grieve. Sharing this story in my book was life-changing for me; realizing the impact of unresolved grief. I cried for a really really long time.
This is a beautiful but hard part of Karen’s story. Big grief but being a voice for change-
Encourage people to have “The Talk” and allow grief!
A wonderful part of Karen’s story is what she is doing at our local high school;
something every high school should do:
Karen: We’ve started “The Clothes Closet” where students can “shop” for all kinds of clothing.
And if we don’t have an item they need, we buy it for them!
I love it! I am SO excited! Karen, you accept gently-used clothing, new clothing
and of course... cash donations!
If you are in the Huntsville area and have a donation for this amazing cause,
call Karen at 705-788-9698 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/theclothesclosetHHS/
Wouldn’t this be great to start at your local high school?
Thank you, Karen, for sharing your story and for all that you do
to make the world a better place!
Yvonne Heath is a Canadian leader, Transformational Speaker, Blogger, Television Host, Author and Creator of the #IJustShowedUp movement.
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