Caring for yourself as an advocate

Webinars | November 18, 2021

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On November 18, the Dying With Dignity Canada team was joined by Oceana Sawyer to learn about caring for yourself as an advocate in an “experiential” and interactive webinar.

Speaker:

As an End of Life (EOL) Doula, Oceana Sawyer specializes in the liminal spaces of active dying and grief. She is currently researching the intersection of embodied grief and somatic abolitionism as well as developing and holding space for healing through a sensual (all the senses) lens.

A certified home funeral celebrant, living funeral ceremony facilitator, and Conscious Dying Educator, Oceana also holds graduate degrees in counseling psychology and organizational development.

Oceana draws upon her meditation practice, experience as a sensuality educator, earth-based spirituality, and intensive study in the expressive arts and integral counseling psychology to bring a grounded, compassionate presence and holistic approach to her work. Through Death Cafes, EOL vision mapping, EOL doula training, and virtual grief events and workshops, Oceana has enjoyed working with a variety of groups and individuals, and primarily focuses on People of the Global Majority.

All right, so good afternoon and welcome everyone. My name is Samantha Shier, and I’m DWDC’s program coordinator. I’m joined today by my colleagues, Nicole Curtis and Kelsey Goforth. Before we begin, I want to acknowledge that while we’re meeting virtually the land that Dying With Dignity Canada is on is the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabe, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, and is now home to many diverse first nations, indigenous, inuit, and native people.

We acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13, within Mississaugas of the Credit. We invite and encourage you to do your own research regarding the various treaties, in particular, the land in which you are meeting on today while you’re with us. I’m so thrilled to welcome you today to our sixth session of DWDC’s online conference reflections on death and dying.

We’ll be meeting throughout November and breaking up in December for the holidays and resuming again in January, and we’ll be presenting on a range of topics related to death and dying. If you haven’t done so already, all sessions and their registration links can be found on our website. We’re going to put the link in the chat for the next session, so please feel free to register there.

The topic is organ donation with Dr. Bill Wong, Dr. James Downar and Dr. Michael Harris. So before I welcome today’s presenter, I’d just like to go over a few housekeeping items. Everyone on the call today is muted, however, there will be opportunities to unmute yourself at the end of the session. Please be sure to stay respectful and stay on topic as any sort of hate speech will not be tolerated. For the sake of time, please keep your question and comment on topic and as concise as possible. Please keep in mind that this webinar is being recorded and will be available on our website.

If you’re uncomfortable raising your hand to be unmuted, please feel free to engage with the chat or the Q&A function, and you won’t be publicly identifiable there. So to do this, please type your questions into the Q&A bar on the Zoom panel, and we’ll read it out for you during the session or at the end. Please try to keep your question as clear and concise as possible.

While we are going to try to get to as many viewer questions as possible, unfortunately, we may not get to everyone today. So if you have any outstanding questions following the webinar or questions that are quite personal in nature, please contact us at support@dyingwithdignity.ca, so we can follow up with you individually.

Now to introduce today’s speaker, as an end-of-life doula, Oceania Sawyer specializes in the liminal spaces of active dying and grief. She’s currently researching the intersection of embodied grief and somatic abolitionism, as well as developing and holding space for healing through a sensual, all the senses lens. A certified home funeral celebrant, living funeral ceremony facilitator, and conscious dying educator. She holds graduate degrees in counseling psychology and organizational development.

Oceana draws upon her meditation practice experience as a sensuality educator, earth based spirituality and intensive study in the expressive arts in integral counseling psychology, to bring a grounded, compassionate presence and holistic approach to her work. Through death cafes, end of life vision mapping, end of life doula training and virtual grief events and workshops, she’s enjoyed working with a variety of groups and individuals and primarily focuses on people of the global majority. Thank you so much for being with us here today, and now I’ll turn it over to you.

Awesome. Well, this is fun. So I’m going to start with just a pause, okay? Before we go any further, let’s just start with a pause.

(Silence).

So welcome. And for our time together in this workshop called caring for yourself as an advocate, I’m going to be leaning into the caring for yourself piece of that. And that’s something that, frankly whether you’re an advocate or not, we can all use. And so, as you can already tell, probably this workshop is not going to be probably not like the other workshops, okay? It’s going to actually be more experiential than cognitive.

I just want to let you know that you are definitely going to come away with some ways to care for yourself, and they are probably not going to be anything new. These are probably going to just be more like reminders about ways that you already know about how to care for yourself.

And so, in that regard, this workshop is happening on two different levels. There’s the cognitive level, where I’m going to be talking and sharing and you’re going to be sharing in the chat, and then there’s also the experiential level where, we’re going to go on this journey together. We’re going to go about this in a way that’s sort of more at the pace of how I’m suggesting you could go about your work as an advocate or as a person who is at the end of their life.

I want to say a quote here by Maya Angelo. She says, “People will forget what you say, but they’ll never get how you made them feel.” And so that’s a good description of what we’re going to try to do together here in the next hour or so. So here, I want to invite you to turn away from your screen. Now, all that’s on the screen right now is just me talking, so you’re not missing anything.

So if you want to just soften you’re gaze, or you can close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing that, or you can look out that window I invited you to be near at the beginning of this time. So yeah, go ahead and just shift your gaze and rest your eyes on something beyond the screen beyond, if you can, even the room that you’re in. And if you can’t do that, maybe you have something green to look at, something that’s alive. I have one of my, a succulent, like that this some the farmer’s market. So if you don’t have it on a window, you can look at that, just something alive, even a vase of flowers will suffice.

And let’s just take some time to breathe together. And you might even want to take off your shoes so that your feet can feel the ground, feel the floor, feel the carpet, feel the place that you’re in, and let’s just breathe together from the belly. We are slowing down to the speed of breath. And you can just relax your brain. Really, you are going to get everything in this sessions that is yours to have, you don’t have to worry, and there is no hurry. We’re just going to breath.

And now I invite you to ground. Ground in whatever way you know how to do, and even if you think you don’t, you do. You can just feel yourself rooted, rooted deeply in the earth. And again, even if you’re at the top of a tall office building in the middle of the city, you can use your ample imagination to imagine roots going down from the base of your spine, through all the floors of the office building, through the concrete foundation and the sewer systems, down into the earth, all the way to the core of the planet, and feel yourself rooted. And if you’re still confused about how to root to ground, ask a plant or a tree. And I’m not even joking, feel yourself grounded.

Now I’d like you to consider who you are in this space right here, but who are you really? Beyond your job title or your role, who are you? Now this is a huge and deep question, right? So we’re only going to limit that to the here and now, not who you’ve been or who you want to be or could be, who you right here right now?

And I’ll start. Now, Samantha did a great job of reading my bio at the beginning. So you imagine that you know that I’m a death doula and do some work with grief. But more than that, I am a living being, I am a member of the human species, and I’m also rooted in blackness, my African ancestry. And I have lived long enough to know myself as an elder in the making. I’m also the person who came here today to speak to you about care and caring for yourself in the work that you do.

So I invite you now to go ahead and name yourself in the chat. Go ahead and put in the chat who you are, who you are bringing to this space today. You don’t have to worry about getting it right, I don’t even know if I can read the chat, but let’s just as a community start to bring ourselves present into this space.

There you go. Old and foggy, I love that. Yes. A woman of healing, Tara, good to meet you. Old and sad, I know that one. Boo, hello, Barb. A white settler, elder, retired addiction center, a director, humbled by all those who’ve touched mine. Caregiver, a mama of five. I am alone, but not lonely. A grieving woman. An illuminous light being, I saw that. I am a living being, yeah.

Thank you. Thank you for making yourself present, for bringing yourself present into the space with such tenderness and beauty. Now that we have named ourselves and we’ve grounded ourselves, let’s talk a little bit about where we are located. My stolen body, it buys today on the stolen land of the Suquamish. And I’m going to turn this music down just a bit.

Okay. That’s better. So this summer I was in a virtual small group gathering that began with me in my backyard, contemplating my connection into the earth. And almost immediately, I had this intense, intense, longing to go home, back to Nigeria, where my people were kidnapped. And through the magic of zoom, I was received by a Nigerian sister who happened to be in my triad. I was received and I was held there by her and the land which she was on well enough that I could return to the land that I was on, and the Suquamish people received me. Received me that stolen gift from Nigeria to the land that was stolen from them, and that we together are now rehoming on our own terms.

So where is your body? Where is your body from? And where is that body now currently located? Both these parts are important. Where are you from? And where are you currently located and what needs to be honored for you to be here fully and well. I invite you now to put that in the chat. Where is your body from? Where is your body currently located and what could be honored in order for you to be here fully and well enough. Now, I want to acknowledge that is a big question, and if you only get the first two into the chat, that will be sufficient. And it’s just an offer, you don’t have to.

Oh, helping others as a volunteer, it’s nice. Good question, Lis, and where am I? [inaudible] depending on various family trees, nice.

Thank you. Thank you for acknowledging your lineage and your location so beautifully. And I know many of you are still contemplating that, and that’s righteous, is a big question. So why is all of this important? It’s important because the work that you are doing is important, and sometimes there’s an urgency to it and that’s real and right. But a lot of the time that urgency is not actually required. You might want to notice next time you feel like a rush or got to get all this stuff done, to just check, ask yourself the question, is this necessary? Is all of this, fast, breathless, quick conversations, is this really necessary or can I slow down? Pay attention to my breath, slow down to the speed of breath.

And more important than the work that you are doing, is that you are important. It’s your skill, it’s your knowledge, it’s your imagination, that is actually doing the work of advocacy, of caring for people, of ending your life well. You’re that person, you count and you matter. I want to share with you this other quote by anonymous source, but I just love it, because I just think it’s so apt, “An empty lantern provides no light. Self care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.” So you see, it’s not just you taking a bubble bath or caring for yourself, it’s being selfish. There’s nothing selfish about it, it’s how you can show up and do the work, the very important work that you’re doing.

And I just want to say here that you are so much more than you probably have been led to believe even, you just have to remember. And that’s why everything we just did together is important. It’s all about remembering you, and that’s called resource. That’s how you’re going to continue to show up powerfully and do the amazing work you do by slowing down, by feeling where you are, by remembering who you are, and resourcing yourself every chance you get.

Beyonce’s sister, Solange Knowles says, “When you take care of yourself, you are a better person for others. When you feel good about yourself and you treat others better.” And that’s why we are centering so much of this early piece on you. I’m going to do a little time check here, okay, good.

So story time. I want to tell you a little story about me and my mother. My mother died in 2019. And after she died, I tried to keep doing my job. I was there when she died, I was her doula, if you will,, through the end of her life and into death. And after she died, I tried to keep doing my job, which was at that point an aging in place coordinator for the community in which I lived. Now, my friends, though they told me, “Hey, you don’t have to come right back and jump right back in. Why don’t you slow down and take care of yourself? Give yourself some time to grieve.”

And I sort of said, “Yeah, okay. You’re right.” And I kind of did it, but like so many people who are in the early stages of grief, I wanted to keep busy. And I got to tell you that worked as well as it did until it didn’t. I crashed. And in fact, I became some amount of really incapacitated. And my job slipped away from me and someone else took it over, that by the way is what’s called secondary grief. It’s the ancillary losses that happened as a result of the primary loss. So there I was, abandoned to my grief, nothing else to do. So I leaned in. I love this quote by Renee Brown, I leaned in and I talked to myself as if I would to someone I loved. She says, “Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”

And that’s what I did, I began to treat myself as I would a client who had just lost a beloved family member. And just like I would suggest to them, and have suggested to people, I partook in some good food, long walks, sunshine, flowers on my table, journaling, long conversations with people I trusted in my circle. [inaudible], people you trust they hold space for you, we’ll talk more about that.

And in the name of research, I also started participating in a variety of healing modalities. This is the pandemic, so I did everything virtually. I did sound baths, breath work, meditation, a whole lot of things. And basically what I did was I fed myself, I fed my soul, I fed my broken heart and my life became curated for restoration. And when I saw other people grieving gracefully, I communed with them and I forgot the others.

Soon I was facilitating large and small groups on grief and death, it was after all a pandemic, and I kind of felt like all hands on deck. So I got out there, but I could do that work because I was resourced, I had made an investment in myself and my healing. And so I could go out and do some work and facilitate and help some people, and I would come back to my space for resourcing, for care, to fill my soul up, and I go back out. And over time with a lot of practice and experimentation, I developed a rhythm that works for me.

So here, I just want to take another pause. So just take a moment, few minutes to think about what did that story inspire you? Maybe you didn’t have all that time and space like I had, or maybe you do, in a creative way to access that just hasn’t emerged yet. And whether or not you do or don’t, this is your moment here to just pause and take a breath, notice your breathing, just be with yourself. And if you feel like stretching, this is a good time to stretch. And you can look out the window for a minute. Maybe you want to write down a few things that came to you so far in this journey together. You can certainly take a sip of your beverage, and just be in your thoughts, be in your own space.

(Silence).

So now I want to talk a little bit about embodied grieving as a way for you to think about some self care as you go about your work as an advocate. So we can think about self-care, embodied grieving, because in this work of end of life, it’s all about how are we going to grieve and grieve well and have that grieving well enough be a resource to us, be a source of fuel, be something that actually, we can use to deepen our own emotional resilience so that we can continue to do this work.

And that’s what I think when I think about embodied grieving and grieving well. I think about enough attention paid to it, that it actually, is something that becomes metabolized and something that we can use as fuel for the rest of our lives. Because that’s pretty much what a grief journey is. It’s something that begins with a major loss and if it’s a person in particular, it’s going to be something then that we… It becomes part of our life going forward.

And that’s just being human, that is what it means to be human. None of us are going to get out, as you guys well know, out of this life, and there’s always going to be in a lived human experience, an opportunity to embrace grief well enough that it actually grows us up into the kind of human beings that we want to be. And particularly in this line of work, the kind of advocates and caregivers that we want to be.

So I approach grief primarily from an embodied point of view. And so what I’m going to share with you is some ways to settle your body, and then some ways identify your care team and then look at some opportunities for what could be in your care toy box. There we go.

So the first part is to settle your body. And in the work that we are doing, often, we are confronted with intense experiences, intense emotional experiences, and even if you’re the person who is actively dying, there are lots of milestones along the way that illicit or have the potential for eliciting intense emotional experiences. And so it’s good to know how to be with intensity like that. And this stop, drop and roll technique is something that I use and it comes from my study with [inaudible].

And if you haven’t read my grandmother’s hands, I strongly recommend that you do. Also, the body keeps the score is another, excuse me, great resource around how to deal with trauma and big experience is in the body. And so the first part is to take a moment to pause, and then step back a bit, just take a step back and assess what’s going on, what’s actually going on here. And then you could decide if you need to keep rolling through with what’s actually happening, like you need to step up and do some sort some things.

And then you’ll deal with these big emotions later, or you can do whatever it takes to manage your emotional state in present time. So this is something that’s very quick. It could happen in a matter of seconds, this stop, drop back and decide if you’re going to roll through or you can manage yourself in the moment, or it can take a few minutes. It’s just purely based on the situation and what’s going on, and what you have time to do. And you’re the best judge of that. So the first piece of this is just figure out a way to settle in the face of intensive emotions.

Now I want to move on to your care team. My care team is I think really… We talk about care teams for people who are in the process of dying, but caregivers and end-of-life specialists professionals, we need care teams too. So who is going to be a part of your care team? And I would invite you here to actually start… You can write this down right now.

The first piece is friends. You can identify two or three trustworthy people in your life that you feel comfortable with coming to when you’re in of care. You need to be resourced. And it’s funny, because I have my friend Michelle here in this picture, and they are a grief therapist and also one of my members of my care team. Okay. We have a deal, this is what I suggest you do after you’ve identified those two or three people, is make an over deal with them.

Let them know you are part of my care team. And as such, I would really like to be able to set something up with you, where if I text you this code phrase and have a safe word or a code word or, or phrase. If I text you, I’ve lost my mind, and I was sure could do some help finding it, then you know that if you can, you’ll stop whatever it is you’re doing and text me or call me back.

And you can agree on the amount of time that might take beforehand or at the beginning, but it’s really good to make an over deal with someone. I was on my friend Robin’s care team. We had an overt conversation about this and whenever she texted me saying, I could really use your help right now, that was signal to me to stop what I was doing if I could and spend time with her sorting whatever out.

So I really can’t stress enough identifying those two or three people and making an overt deal, letting them know that you’re on their care team. And if you find yourself in need of someone like that, there’s no need to do reciprocity by the way. You can set that up overtly ahead of time, but if you find yourself in need of someone and it’s really good to also not slip in to.. If you are in that spot of being on the care team for someone, you don’t have to build affinity by talking about your problems too. Like, so you want to keep the attention and the boundary on the person who’s advocating or in need of help.

Mentors and role models. This is another key part of your care team, identifying people who are mostly kind of getting it right with resourcing themselves, with caring for themselves. I have as part of my mentors and role models, Tricia Hershey, the Nap Bishop. I get onto Instagram regularly just to find out what she’s posted lately. Her integrity is impeccable around this work, and I really do appreciate that. I have another friend Alisa Forney, who is a grief advocate and just launched pause. And I love the way that she conducts her life, and I’ve taken note from her and we’ll talk with her often about how she takes space for herself, and that’s really, really so important and a great role model.

Sarah Clark, a yoga teacher, another person who has become part of my cadre people that I look to for how are they taking care of themselves well. And she’s had a really big up and down life, especially through the pandemic, and it’s been instructional to watch how she navigates that. So you find some people, you follow them, you read their books, you listen to their podcasts, you take their workshops, anything you can do to get inspiration or guidance or even reality that you’re already doing it really well.

And so I invite you right now, just go ahead and write down your journal, like who might be your mentors and role models. Just jot down a couple of ideas it popped to the top of your head. And then in terms of therapists and practitioners, I know many of you are practitioners, or doctors, or physicians, or professionals. There’s really no shame, as you well know, in seeking out professional help for yourself. Then I highly recommend that talk therapy, life coaches, spiritual advisors, all count. I have myself used a couple different therapists and coaches along the way in my grief journey.

And then there’s also other modalities like an acupuncturist, or a body worker, or sound healer. I have practitioners in those rooms also that are part of what I call my care team. People that I can just schedule a session with, like Shana Nunnelley, I need a sound bath, I just need to feel grounded and feel sound wating through my body, and healing some of the ganglyness that has emerged from years in building up for me. And so I invite you also to consider what practitioners are you already using that might be useful and included as overtly as part of your care team.

Skipping a pause there because of time. I’m just going to talk about now your care toy box. What do you want to have in your toy box that you can pick up immediately or easily that will immediately feed your soul, give you resource? And I like to journal, I do a lot of personal free writing, I pick journals that have no lines, because that’s kind of who I am, I like to be able to draw and write and draw and write as part of my process. And when you’re doing that, I would suggest that you set the space up. I mean, obviously you can always just pick up your journal to start writing wherever you are or whenever you can, but you can also make the space special by letting a candle or playing evocative music.

Moving energy is so key to resourcing yourself and dealing with grief. Walking, jogging, any kind of workout you want to do, whether that’s on an exercise bike, or just in your house doing yoga or tai chi or any kind of qigong. I had a client who moved energy in their grief journey by cleaning the house, yeah, they would just put on a great soundtrack and just clean the heck out of their house, and that’s how they moved energy. Obviously getting outside, if you can, is the best, and gardening also, doing stuff with your hands. And then meditation and prayer, whether you do that alone, or you use recordings, video or audio, spending some time with just yourself, even if you’re with other people just going inside, like we did earlier, is a way resource yourself a way to ground, a way to tap back in to some of your own innate energy.

Churches, temples synagogues, long houses centers, are also good places to be now that we can with our vaccinated cells and our mask. It’s good to be with people too, to co-regulate, co-regulation is so useful in terms of bringing balance back to yourself, your body and your mind, really. If you guys have other ideas about any of these that I just mentioned, go ahead and pop them in the chat.

I want to make a note here about art. Beauty and pleasure can be so restorative, and we often think in the work that we do that it’s not useful to do. It feels somehow selfish or frivolous to spend time looking at something beautiful or finding ways to pleasure ourselves, but it is restorative, and it is a great way to allow you to give to yourself in a way that you can show up for other people in a better state, a more generous state, because when you’re feeling good, you’re actually more generous.

So you can draw, you can paint, or you can look at drawings and paintings, or you could be outside, or looking out the window right now at the autumn colors, any of these aspects of beauty can be restorative. And then, I just want to make a nod here to the audio visual pieces of podcasts I listen to, I wouldn’t say so many podcasts, but the podcast that feed me are Finding Our Way by Brent Prentis Hemphill, Grief Out Loud by Jana DeCristofaro, and I like Lindsey Whissel Fenton podcast, take note.

These are just some of the ones I listen to, I’m sure you have your own that you love. And of course, movies, whether they’re informative like, High on the Hog, or Grief Out Loud, or just entertaining, Bridgerton, that was my go-to last year. So those are just some brief ideas around what is possible to have in your care toy box. And I’m sure you guys have some that work for you really well, go ahead and pop them in the chat and let’s share them.

And here I just want to take a breath. I just noticed that at the end there, I sort of speed it up and that’s interesting, right? It’s just like that urgency I was talking about, was that really necessary or is it okay just to take a pause here? Breathe and stretch, look out the window. And now I want to open it up to questions and maybe some answers.

Thank you so much. That was a wonderful presentation, incredibly calming yet informative. And we got a lot of wonderful comments specifically around the way you started the presentation and the music. We had a lot of folks asking what the music was at the beginning. So I don’t know if that’s something you can share, if it’s just a general playlist, but a lot of folks are loving the calming music at the beginning.

Samantha has the Spotify playlist. So if you want to pop that into the jet, Samantha.

Yep. No problem.

Thank you Samantha. Okay. So we have a lot of questions and thank you everyone for your participation. This was an amazing session with so much good stuff in the chat. So one question that we got is how do I care for myself physically and spiritually while still advocating for myself?

That’s such a great question, because they’re not separate. So the way that you advocate yourself is you do care for yourself spiritually and mentally and all the ways, you just do it. And the doing of it is how you are advocating for yourself. And actually, the doing of it also gives… It’s not just for you by the way. When you are in the world, taking care of yourself, you are also being a role model. You’re also showing up in a way that gives other people permission to take care of themselves. Like I said, on your care team, you have your role models and mentors and that’s who you can be just by showing up, taking care of yourself. Hope that answers that question.

I think it does, thank you. Okay. Another question that we got was, curious about how folks can help prevent compassion fatigue.

Yes. I really feel like a lot of what compassion fatigue is, is compassion that has not been given to you, compassion that has gone out and out and out and compassion that hasn’t been put back into your self, and who can do that better than you? No one. So as I said, at the beginning of my grief journey with my mother, I simply did what I would tell anybody else to do, which is to eat good food, take walks, have long talks with people you trust, fill yourself up, filling yourself up is, as far as I can tell, the best way to avoid compassion fatigue, is by giving yourself at least as much compassion as you’re giving other people. Yeah. And again, as I said, that’s how you’d be resourced to continue giving compassion to the world. You can’t give what you don’t have.

Exactly. And I think that was your message across the session today, and that’s certainly what I took from it. I just want to let everyone know that the Spotify playlist is in the chat. So if you were one of the folks who are asking about the music, you can find that in the chat. Okay. We have another question here. How can I manage my grief so that it does not interfere with my decision making?

Can you say that again?

How can I manage my grief so that it does not interfere with decision making?

Oh, yeah. Sorry. I remember this question. If you’re concerned about grief impacting your decision making, you are already impacted, or another way to look at this is, if your grief is not impacting your decision making, then I would suggest you are not actually doing the necessary work of grieving. So the extent to which you actually embrace the grief journey, the grieving is the extent to which you metabolize that experience, and you make space in your nervous system, you make space in your body and your mind to begin to actually be able to consider something else well, to confront your life in ways that are more spacious and resilient.

I say this in my patreon community, if you think that by not addressing your grief, and you just going to keep going, that you’re not doing your grief, you’re mistaken, I’m sorry. Your grief is already doing you, you’re being impacted by your grief, that’s just happening, that’s real, whether you’re confronting it or not. So it could actually becomes useful in terms of making good decisions, is that pause and turning your attention away from whatever it is you think or supposed to be putting your attention on and putting it on yourself.

Again, filling yourself up, paying enough attention to yourself, resourcing yourself. I love somebody said something about boundaries in the chat a minute ago, making clear boundaries enough that you can create space to actually grieve. This doesn’t have to take long, that’s the other thing. People think, oh my God, if I put my attention on my grief journey, then my whole life will fall apart.

I’m not talking about spending hours, days or weeks. I’m talking about a few minutes. That’s all it takes, in some cases. In some cases, it takes more but you’re an adult, you know how to do this. You know how to create your life in such a way that you can take a minute, five minutes and attend to yourself, just cry, feel, look out the window, take a breath, acknowledge, and then go back.

That’s all that could be required, and of course, there’s so much more, but you can do that. You can take a break and have a little mini grief session with yourself, and you’ll know that at the end of the day, you’ll have more time, you’ll have an hour or on the weekend you’ll have even more, but spending whatever time you have or can take to do that work, that is what is required in order to not have your grief impact your decision making.

That’s amazing, and just hearing you say that sometimes it’s just hearing someone almost like giving you the permission to just take that time. It makes it feel right. So I definitely felt that. We got a lot of other great comments, people saying it was lovely to meet you and thank you for all your insights and inspiration. I have another question here from someone who is wondering if you have any advice for finding an advocate when you don’t have any close family.

Oh, that’s so good. Yeah. If you don’t have close friends or family, then you’re going to have to seek professional support. What comes to my mind there? Isn’t that not the only answer? But it’s the one that’s on top of my head right now, is just to… And you might have to spend some time getting to that person. So you ask a friend, if they know somebody, you look, you Google grief. I’m not sure what you mean by advocate, but you can Google it, whatever that means for you, whether it’s grief or end of life, you could start there. I’ve become a big fan of social media to find resources actually. It’s a good place to get to know someone, even just virtually, before you reach out to them and want to have more of a contact. So that’s what I got.

Yeah. A lot of great communities that you can be a part of online too. Someone commented saying, “Thank you, thank you for not stating that grieving ends, I do believe it never ends, even though there are good times. When one is alone always beautiful memories come into mind, and this is when the time is hard.” And I think everyone can certainly resonate with that, so thank you for sharing that.

I’m glad you shared that comment because I often say this when I’m talking about grief, but grief is a range. So it’s not just sadness and sorrow and crying, it’s also awe, and joy, and love and so many things in between. And you don’t want to miss any of that. Like that’s the whole range of grief and all of these bodily sensations as well, and that’s life, that’s just called living. So yeah.

Yeah. Okay. I think we have time for maybe one more question. Someone here, actually we have a couple of these, folks want to know a little bit more about death cafes and how they work and what they’re like.

Oh, death cafes. I’ve been doing cafes for a year and half now. I do them doing virtually every week. They have a very loose structure, they’re peer led and you get together over snacks. You remember that slide I show you at the beginning? Snacks and beverages, and it’s meant to be a casual, nurturing environment for people to talk about the very potent subjects of life, death, grief, dying.

You have to have at least three people to have a death cafe and they can be as large as a couple hundred, in that case, they be in small groups. But the idea is that everyone gets a chance to speak about whatever they want or ask questions. And it’s a peer to peer kind of a experience. There’s so many of them online right now, still, I don’t think that’s ever going to change, I hope not anyway.

That’s great. Thanks for sharing that. So if anyone has questions about death cafes or anything else that we maybe didn’t get to today, our email support@dyingwithdignity.ca, we can follow up with you individually and share resources there. We also did record today, so the recording will be available on our website that you can watch it again.

I just want to thank you again Oceana, for coming and speaking to all of us. Your presentation was certainly a different flavor from what we’re used to, it was so calming, the music, the pauses. I loved all of it, I know everyone did as well, so many great comments coming through, your wisdom, your grace, your insights. So thank you so much again, and thank you for everybody who joined us today. Our next session will be on Tuesday and we’re talking about organ donations. So if you’re interested, you can register on our website and everyone have a great rest of your day and a wonderful weekend, and thanks again.

Bye-bye.

Bye.

Take good care.

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