Here I am with my mom in her home. If you’ve read my book,
you know that my mom and I had that awkward conversation about end of life planning.
How did it start? “Hi mom, awkward conversation coming up. I want to talk about end of life planning". I did it and Geordie did (well, that’s another story), and it was so empowering.
As we aspire to help create a culture of change, I had to walk my talk.
We reflected on that conversation, then took it a step further:
Me: “I was relieved that you were open and receptive!”
Mom: “I was because I had thought about it for years but I really didn’t know how to even start having ‘The Talk". I had no idea how to open the subject up. So for me it was a great relief to get it all talked about and done; everyone knows my wishes and they are all written down.
Me: “We even went to the funeral home, talked about organ donation, wills… everything!
I felt a great sense of relief, even if it was emotional, facing mortality. But, when people say,
"I don’t want to talk about that stuff", if you’re in a crisis, facing end of life or you don’t
get the opportunity to talk…isn’t that so much worse?”
Mom: “I can’t imagine!”
Me: “You’ve also taken trinkets and put names down so that everyone has something of yours, and today we took it another step further!”
Mom: “Yes we did. I love to sing and write songs for my children and people I love.
So I took the song, "You’ve Got a Friend" and added my own verse, because that’s the
message I want to leave for everyone. So we just filmed it and it was very emotional.
I couldn’t believe it. It was great and I’m thrilled that it’s done.”
Me: “It will be played at your Celebration of Life and it’s a treasure—it truly is.
As strange as it seems that we’re having this conversation and doing these things, it’s a wonderful gift and I’m grateful that you’re willing to do it.
We can have a little cry, and I’m sure we will.”
I know you may not want to have ‘The Talk" but I have to tell you; it is empowering,
bonding, and is a gift. It will be part of your legacy.
Have you had “The Talk?”
Interviewing entertaining Jadyn and Tanner Heath
Yvonne: “So, tell us why you like having pet rats?”
Jadyn: “Well, some people can’t have dogs or cats cause they’re allergic or they just can’t take care of a big dog. So we have pet rats!”
Y: “Do you like having pet rats?”
Tanner: “Well, they’re really small so it’s nice. You can cuddle with them really easily.
J: “Bayo is being a snuggle bug right now, but they’re crazy sometimes!”
T: “They’re just really fun to play with. You just hold them…if I could get Hazel here..gotta find her…” (whoops! She is hiding!)
J: “The struggle is real!” (haha!)
T: “So this is Hazel. She will just chill on your shoulder and she is fine!”
J: “My pet rat is Bayo, who is a bit camera-shy, obviously. Their tails are a bit awkward.”
Y: “But they are clean, they’re cuddly and they’re smart! (and low maintenance and inexpensive!)
J: “They try to clean you!”
T: “There are a lot of people who are startled by the word, ‘rat!’ They think, ‘Ew, big sewer rats!’
J: “Here is my hand and this is the size of Bayo! She’s the size of my hand!”
T: “Oh yes, they’re vicious killers!”
Y: “So pets re wonderful friends, no matter what size they are! If a dog or a cat is too much, think about getting a rat, or two (they like company!). Again, would you recommend them as pets?”
T: “Yeah, for sure!”
J: “Or it could be any rodent like a hamster, guinea pig or gerbil… or rats! You could get birds, but kind of a mess; no offense!” (This girl is cracking me up!)
Pets are wonderful companions. Moral of the story?
If you can’t love the pet you want… maybe love a rat!
I am SO excited to finally share our I Just Showed Up campaign. Over the last
three years, people have shared amazing stories, and some hard stories too. What we
realized is when it comes to grief, crisis or loss, no matter what someone is facing,
the biggest problem is what I hear most often:
“I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do.”
So we often avoid. But we can do better. We have created this wonderful movement,
this community where we can learn from each other and share stories.
I Just Showed Up teaches people of all ages how to
Just Show Up for themselves and others
so they are empowered and resilient when grief arrives.
Grief is something we cannot avoid. It shows up throughout life.
We have created the I Just Showed Up bracelet to:
*Wear as a reminder to
Just Show Up for yourself first.
Be the best version of you.
*Wear because you
Just Show Up for someone.
You can make a difference.
*Give to someone because they
Just Showed Up for you.
To say thanks.
These bracelets are a great reminder and a conversation starter. You can get yours here,
on our website and they are available in stores too!
So please, join the I Just Showed Up Community by following on Facebook and Twitter!
We want to hear your stories. Follow our blogs/ vlogs and learn to live life to the fullest.
Together we can create a culture of change and learn to be empowered and
resilient when grief arrives!
I had the honour of attending an event at Fairvern Nursing Home in Huntsville
a couple of weeks ago. Many passionate people worked hard and created the Legacy Youth/Elder Project. Stories shared and unlikely friendships formed.
Here is Kimberley and Christine to tell you a bit about it:
Christine: Today we celebrated story-tellers, telling their stories for writers, who were grade 11 students from Huntsville High School. They wrote what they heard, not necessarily a biography, but the snippets of stories, of truths, of life lessons.
Kimberley: It has been a great time, pairing the seniors with the students to bring them together, to break down the barriers that separate the generations and just open up relationships. It breaks down pre-conceived ideas of what young people today are or
what older people are, and just open up and see that we are all the same inside.
We have hopes and dreams. We might have grey hair or be in a wheelchair but
a lot of the stories are just incredible. It’s been amazing to see the students interacting
with the seniors. What has come out of this has touched the lives of the students,
the teachers, the seniors, their families, the staff and us!
Christine: The whole idea was to give people a taste of what Legacy Writing Partners does, which is behind this project. We pair writers with storytellers who may not have the ability or capacity to tell/write that story. That’s the whole purpose. We have witnessed the magic over the last few months, and gathered today to celebrate that magic!
I applaud everyone involved in this incredible and worthwhile project.
I’d love to see this happen in every high school and in every nursing home.
Our elders have so much to teach us! Thank you.
For more information about the project please visit:
Do you have, or know someone who has a story to tell?
I’m going to give you some unsolicited advice; if it’s broke… fix it!
Seven or so years ago, I started having pain in my right hip and right knee, an IT band issue; the ligament that runs down the outside of your thigh. I went to physio for a while, which
was helpful but didn’t continue going or doing my exercises at home.
I opted for something, I think perhaps, a lot of us choose to do; I ignored my injury and
wished that it would go away (I was just too busy for this!). And I did for quite a while.
Then, I could no longer lie on my right side while sleeping and my knee ached all the time.
But, I still hoped it would magically get better.
So all these years later, imagine…it’s worse! Big surprise, right!! I’ve gone back to
physio and the first question was, “Yvonne...Did you do your physio last time?”
“Uh…yeah…for a while!” Now it’s going to take longer to get better.
Why do we do these things to ourselves??
I do not know, but that is my true confession. I knew what I needed to do, I ignored it
and it got worse. So I will now say to you: PLEASE. I know you are busy, I know you don’t
have time. But do not ignore things that need to be fixed; whether is mental, physical, emotional, spiritual or even financial. Don’t ignore the issues and hope they will go away.
They won’t and they might get much worse, like my IT band!
So I’m off to do my physio. I have my awesome yoga mat and my fun pants on.
And I will keep going until it is better, and not ignore any injury again.
Have you ever done anything this silly? If so,
I’d love you to share so that I know I’m not the only one!
And remember, if it’s broke…fix it!
Yvonne Heath is a Canadian leader, Transformational Speaker, Blogger, Television Host, Author and Creator of the #IJustShowedUp movement.
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