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.

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.

Informal carers, the cared-for, and how an End Of Life Doula can benefit both.

ScottWilliamsTEDSpeaker


This TED talk  by Scott Williams (pictured above), considers the importance of unpaid carers, how much carers boost the economy (there are Australian figures in this talk), and how essential the role and work of a carer is not just to society, but for the person who is cared for. The role of carer is one that is quite familiar to many, many members of our communities – but we may be frequently isolated within that role, or not well-versed in articulating that we are carers (particularly when the role has slowly changed and  increased over time. If you are caring for someone at their End Of Life, or if you yourself are at End Of Life and would like to better understand compassionate communities and how to more effectively communicate your needs around caring, an End Of Life Doula may be just what you need.
In our multi-tasking 21st century lives, having someone to focus on the way a compassionate community of carers and supporting, loving people interact together can be the perfect stress-reduction factor. End Of Life Doulas provide a sympathetic ear, an objective and compassionate set of problem-solving skills, and in my case a background as a psychotherapist and counsellor which is useful when carers/ network members may be tired, emotional, distressed or overwhelmed.
 
End Of Life Doulas like myself often act as negotiators and communication hubs for those around someone at End Of Life, passing along information, doing research, translating medical-speak when needed, helping to arrange schedules and/or helping friends and family to better understand how to plan time and activities more effectively to fit in with busy lifestyles. 
 
I am an End Of Life Doula who can facilitate communications amongst and between carers and the cared-for, help you build a more supportive network of support, help you better understand your advance planning choices, and be a proactive member of your End Of Life community.
 
Let’s talk.