I am honoured to share my life’s journey with you through these blogs and vlogs
and hope that every now and then you find something inspiring with these stories.
I’m learning as I go along too. Being empowered in life, grief and end of life
takes a lifelong commitment. With every turn there is something new—sometimes good,
sometimes not so good. Everyday someone will be having the greatest moment of their lives and someone else will be in the deepest grief. Life is unpredictable. Prepare for Anything.
So let’s keep caring for and supporting ourselves and each other.
It’s the only way.
A Few Highlights:
These are a few stories we’ve shared. What inspired you?
Do you have a story you’d like to share? Suggestions?
I aspire to empower our Love Your Life to Death Community
and hope that you will inspire others.
Together we can create a culture of change.
Camp Can-Aqua is a magical place where kids of all ages spend their summers and learn to swim, canoe,
ski and so much more. They also learn real life lessons; embrace incredible ideals and philosophies, how to get along with one another, and how to develop great friendships with boys and girls of all ages.
Camp Can Aqua was founded by Louis Gyori. It was his whole life. Lou was Camp. Camp was Lou.
He loved every kid and they loved him back.
Despite ongoing heart issues most of adulthood, Louis always lived his life to the fullest.
In fact, much to his cardiologist’s dismay, he would sometimes ride his bicycle 100 km
to his Doctor's appointments.
At the end of the 30th season of Camp Can-Aqua, Louis spent a weekend with family and friends.
They laughed, swam and enjoyed a wonderful time together. Louis went for a barefoot ski, (he was a Canadian champion bare footer years before) went into the sauna, collapsed and took his last breath.
He was 58 years old.
It happened September 4th, 2010. Louis Gyori was my husband Geordie’s greatest mentor and friend,
I have not seen my husband cry very often. He was stunned and devastated.
Taken from Maclean’s Magazine:
Louis’ passion, dreams and life were devoted to enriching the lives of others.
With a firm conviction in his dream, a steady, unrelenting persistence
in his purpose and an almost single-minded dedication to the young people
who came, he built something very special.
The ripple effect of Lou’s teachings will be felt for generations!
On July 31, 2016, A beautiful new Health Centre was built at Camp Can-Aqua and dedicated to Louis. Geordie spoke of the positive impact Louis had on him and so many others. He concluded with,
“Thank you, Louis, for creating the ripple that has changed thousands of lives all across the world.
This building is for you.”
Louis Gyori lived a full life in 58 years. The poem, “The Dash” by Linda Ellis, speaks of the dash between your birth date and the date of your death.
Louis Gyori changed the lives of thousands of people.
To see the tribute video made for Louis Gyori by his friends and family
How are you living your dash?
I am overcome with emotion as I write these words.
Geordie and I had the privilege of spending the day at the Canadian Transplant Games in Toronto,
August 13, 2016. These athletes and their friends and family understand our message only too well.
“Life is unpredictable. Prepare for anything. Plan your life, plan your death and then just
love your life to death.
Because when you plan your life you live every day to the fullest. And when you plan for end of life,
long before you are facing it, you can make logical decisions.
Like the decision to be an organ donor.
My family and I made the decision to register as organ donors a long time ago. I’ve explained to my children that once my spirit leaves my body it is free. I no longer need my body, but it can help so many other people. And when someone you love dies, would it help to heal your heart, knowing they gave someone else a chance? How many? Organ donation can save 8 lives and enhance 50 people’s lives.
We met so many amazing athletes of all ages. I said to one person, “Imagine that most of these athletes would not be here if it weren’t for organ donation.”
He simply smiled and replied, “None of them would be.”
Look within and make an informed decision. Register. Share your decision with your family.
Here are some of the beautiful people who would not be here today, if someone had not been an
organ donor and given them the gift of life!
Are You a Registered Donor?
I have grieved, felt lost and alone, anxious, depressed… deeply sad.
I have been in dark places feeling like the light would never shine again. But I have also laughed, loved, felt extreme joy and happiness that took my breath away. And I have no doubt I will feel it all again.
Because life is like that; unpredictable, turbulent and yet so wonderful.
Here’s the hard truth; Grief shows no mercy. It arrives unannounced, uninvited. It does not care what else you are going through. It does not care if you’ve had enough. But if we prepare as best as we can before grief arrives, we can navigate through the acute phase, knowing the pain will dull. We cannot avoid grief, it’s the only road to healing, but we can avoid excessive suffering. Why should we bother? Because grief is coming. Grief is part of living and we grieve our whole lives; friends or children leaving, job loss, divorce, etc.
Grief is sometimes the price of Living and Loving. But it’s worth it.
And your heart will heal if you take good care of it. And you never know what awaits, on the other side of grief. You can feel joy again, I promise!
Easier said than done? Yes, most of this is.
But don’t we stand a much better chance of moving through our pain, if we know it’s coming,
instead of pretending it never will?
I’ve taken a good look at how I grieve; I get chest pain, irregular heartbeats,
sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe. Knowing this, I sit with it, tell myself I will be OK and take slow deep breaths. I will need a good cry and am usually a hot mess. I take things slow, one step at a time and frequently ask myself; “What do I need or want right now?”
And then I do that. I make self-care a top priority.
Knowing that it’s hard for me to think or to remember “the good stuff” I have created a self-care toolbox. When sadness and grief take over, I dive in.
(Geordie and the kids each have their own self-care toolbox also).
A Few Items in my Self-Care Toolbox:
- names and numbers of loved ones who will support me
- soft tissue for a really good cry
- names of movies that will make me laugh or cry, whatever I need.
- trinkets from family, friends, patients…to remind me that I am loved.
- pictures of wonderful times in my life.
- my Grandmother’s shawl, who died in 2007. It reminds me that we stay connected.
- a branch to remind myself to go outside, and let nature heal me!
What does grief look like for you?
What would you put in your self-care toolbox??
* Visit a lonely neighbour, and have a cup of tea, or visit someone at a nursing home, play cards… or just listen.
*Go to the local animal shelter and give the animals some love. They will love you right back.
* Pick some wildflowers, bring them to the hospital and give them to a volunteer, patient or nurse.
*Offer to read to the children at school or watch a busy mom's children so she can go for a walk!
*Stroll downtown and compliment as many people as you possibly can, or simply tell everyone to have a wonderful day.
*Donate some of your items to Habitat for Humanity or your local shelter.
*Volunteer for something you feel passionate about.
*Write a letter, call, text or email someone who would love to hear from you. Tell them what they mean to you… just because.
*Clean up garbage somewhere and perhaps you will inspire others to do the same.
*Just grab someone and dance, sing or whatever will make them smile!
*Most important one of all, bonus #11…
HUG as many people as possible.
And if you hug left side to left side, you make a heart connection!
“Help people, help people, help people. Never stop helping people!”
Yvonne Heath is a Canadian leader, Transformational Speaker, Blogger, Television Host, Author and Creator of the #IJustShowedUp movement.
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