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Susan Blackwood

Susan Blackwood

The passing of my parents ten years ago was a life-changing event. I was the medical representative for both my parents and I really did not understand what that meant, what my rights were and the kind of choices I would have to make as they approached the end of their time. It was a relief that I did not fully appreciate until years later; they had preplanned the care of their remains and their final resting place. There was still lots to do but it was just details. The major decisions were made. I have had a growing passion for the choices we do or don’t make ever since. Working as a Certified Life Cycle Celebrant facilitating funerals as well as working part-time as senior companion has brought end of life preparation on a day to day basis right in my face. The passing of my parents has turned out to be the biggest gift of my life.

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Shylene Schlackl

Shylene Schlackl

In 2013, I knew 15 people who died. Many of these people were not close to me, but I was able to see how deeply each person’s crossing effects our wider circles of belonging. And how each of us is connected and effected when someone we love, looses someone they love. In those 15 deaths only a couple were old and only few were sick, but most of them simply were gone without any warning. With this I witnessed all the ways our community was unsure, unsupported and very traumatized. Seeing how our community is failing to serve each other has driven me to find solutions, offer assurances and create harmony in an otherwise overly —– situation.