Two of MY abstracts accepted for the June 2018 ESHMS Lisbon conference! Huzzah!

Came back from my – unplugged & lovely – holiday last night to discover that both of the abstracts I had submitted to the 17th Biennial conference with the European Society for Health and Medical Sociology (ESHMS) have been accepted!

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The conference – Old Tensions, Emerging Paradoxes in Health: rights, knowledge, and trust – will see me speak about the role of End Of Life Doulas in Australia, as well as ownership of the body, and body autonomy, after death in Australia (including disruptions to the corporatised medical and funeral industry models we are currently seeing emerge in Australia). For example, in Victoria Natural Grace Funerals, and in NSW Picaluna – funeral alternatives like these two companies offer true choice, time, individualisation, and (often) much less expensive End Of Life/funeral options for their clients compared to traditional corporate models. Economies of scale have seen us with our current models, however it is always good to know what your rights, options and choices are.

If you are interested in a funeral that suits you and reflects your life and personality please do not hesitate to get in touch, I am happy to help you understand what your real choices are for funerals and End Of Life.

Let’s talk.

A look into family life at End Of Life

There is a very useful article from Discover Society which considers what happens in families – and in terms of acting like ‘family’ – when someone is at End Of Life.

The article also contains some useful additional reading at the bottom of the page.

Would you like to explore the world of End Of Life and building compassionate communities and networks, including family?

Let’s talk.

Vale – a Reflection on Authors and Other Loved Ones

Vale means a written or verbal farewell, that is why the term shows up on social media platforms when someone has just died.

I have had a very busy start to February, and like many of us with over-committed lives (I am still a casual-contract social science academic and taught a Summer semester intensive; the marking turnarounds are brutal!) I began to write a post and needed to turn my attention elsewhere when I had begun a post in tribute to the late author Ursula K Le Guin.

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It was a surprise (and chagrin-making…) to come back the blog here after far too long – more than two weeks have passed – and see that I had left my intended memorial post too late. For which I apologise unreservedly to Ms. Le Guin, who deserves all fulsome and timely tributes. The Dispossessed changed my life when I was in my mid-teens, and her work has informed a great deal of my thinking and life ever since. The Earthsea Trilogy are also wonderful and influential books, and either of these are good starting places if you are new to Le Guin’s work*. And the tardiness of my written response – my literal “Vale” – serves as a good reminder to me that my life need not be so stupendously busy, ever, that I do not take a moment or two to let people know I love and care about them, or that when an author dies I cannot make time to make full notes/write about what made they way they touched my life so vital.

Books, the written works and words, the mindset and perspective that a book/author brings to my life is essential to the way I position myself in the world – take a look at the ever-increasing number of death-, dying- and End Of Life-related book reviews here on the site. However, I also read for pleasure, and also for research – books and authors form part of my personal intellectual oxygen mix, I need them to keep living as the individual I am.

I am reminded this month, with a gap in my blog posts and a hectic schedule, to pay attention to the people who touch my life. I am going to exert time and effort for the rest of February to tell the people who matter to me that they are important. I will tell the people I love that I love them, the people I respect that I respect them. I invite you, Gentle Reader, to do the same.

Our time is finite, and we do not know if we have until next week, next month, “next time” or any sort of “later” – because time waits for none of us, no matter how busy we tell ourselves we are with all our things to do. And do not forget to walk into your bathroom, look yourself in the eye and tell yourself that you love you, too. Make time for the people you love this month, and also for the things you love… because, why not?

And hey, if you need to make time to do some advance planning for your End Of Life as a gesture to the people in your life that you love and value, I am happy to help you explore your options. Communicate your love to your important people, then get in touch with me for an appointment.

Let’s talk.

*But please, please do buy them from your local independent bookseller – Amazon does not pay taxes in Australia. Keep local businesses going.

Sensible advice for holding your boundaries

It is often difficult when we are ill, stressed, overwhelmed, or any combination of these, to remember that is is perfectly fine to say ‘no’ when we need to. During End Of Life – our own, or that of someone close to us – it is particularly sensible to hold strong boundaries, and to refuse information or inappropriate actions from those around us. Even when they mean well.

A useful set of parameters is provided here – and although the article is written by an oncologist and is focused on those living with a cancer diagnosis, the parameters laid out translate well to other illnesses and diagnoses.

An End Of Life Doula can be a great asset in helping you to navigate your treatment choices and options, construct the compassionate community that will serve you best in your own personal circumstances, and to help you hold the boundaries in place when that help is needed or requested by you.

Let’s talk.