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Debbie Seddon-Laninga

Brigid's Balm Thanadoula Services


I realize I haven't added anything here lately, so it is about time to do an update. What a lot of change the past two years has brought all of us. Personally I have married my best friend and been involved in building our new home (moving in before this year ends!), opening my new office in a fabulous location in Smiths Falls, only to have to close due to covid-19 altogether too soon, seen my youngest son graduate high school and am grateful all of my kids finding their way in the world and employed during these trying times.

I have cared for many individuals as they have transitioned through end of life, including sharing final moments with my dear father and two beloved friends. I have endured many, many moments of pure joy, as well as suffering bouts of extreme sadness over these past two years.

COVID-19 has changed the way we live. Forced isolation, face masks, increased stress levels, fear of human contact has changed our perspective regarding daily living. It has also changed how we deal with death. When a loved one becomes ill and requires hospitalization they are often forced to be alone. Visitation is done by scheduling small amounts of time with restricted access. Often people who become hospitalized at end of life are experiencing death alone, no longer able to be surrounded by loved ones. This is not only stressful and traumatic for the individual who is hospitalized, but also for their loved ones left worrying at home - isolated and alone. Funerals and memorials have changed their face as well, either allowing a very small number of people present (social distancing required - six feet apart) or being presented in a rather cold and distant Zoom or Facetime format. The lack of physical human contact during this time of grief and sorrow is resulting in trauma being added into the mix. I know this will have a negative impact on many individuals over years to come, simply because of lack of ability to "say goodbye" in a manner deemed "normal" within our culture. Dealing with trauma and grief (and anger, and sorrow) is a challenge in everyone's experience.

So as the end of 2020 looms closer many of us will be grateful to say adieu to this year and welcome new beginnings in 2021. The year ahead will see the opening of my new office space and healing gardens, hopefully more workshops and seminars and community involvement as COVID restrictions relax. I will be uploading videos on a more regular basis so keep an eye out for Thanadoula Debbie - Let's Make a Die of It! on YouTube. I also have a few other online plans in the works - notices will be put on the "Events" page of my website, as well as posted on Brigid's Balm Facebook page.

As always, I thank you for your support, questions, comments and kindnesses. We are all in this together, please continue to be kind - and be safe. Blessed be your journey xo

Well, as 2018 comes to a close I am looking back on this past year and the many amazing experiences I have had and wonderful people I have met. The year started with the caregiver spotlight shining on me in an article written about the work I do at Beth Donovan Hospice, what an honour! I continued updating and modifying my website with the addition of book reviews to help guide those in search of information for themselves or for others they care for. The Outcare Foundation gifted me with a bursary that enabled me to attend a wonderful palliative caregivers self-care day where I was able to interact with many people working in my field and forge new relationships and learn how to better serve those in need. I attended various seminars in Kingston, Ottawa and surrounding areas being held by groups such as Dying with Dignity Canada, The Ottawa Senior Pride Network,  

and various funeral homes. I held a couple of seminars on subjects such as Advanced Care Planning, Aging and Loss of Independence, and What is a Thanadoula? I attended workshops online and in person, one very memorable presentation on a Virtual Dementia Experience. Late summer found me taking part in a global study based out of Australia on the Role of Death Doulas in End of Life Care, and after a few attempts finally was able to connect via skype and enjoy a successful interview! I am looking forward to the final document when it is published. Autumn found me taking part in the Wellness Fair in Brockville where I made some new and wonderful connections with people. I look forward to continuing these relationships when I move to Brockville in 2019! November found me completing my "refresher training" at hospice and volunteering my services with the Smiths Falls Food Bank in the "Build a Mountain of Food" campaign, what a great initiative! And December I was grateful to be selected to sit on the Disability Advisory Council for Dying With Dignity Canada - such an honour! Then November and December found me withdrawing from my work with the public to focus on time with family as my dad took a turn for the worse and has been in hospital, and in hospice. So grateful for the people with whom I have worked in the past and who found themselves caring for my father. It was difficult moving between being a Thanadoula and a daughter, living the experience from both sides of the fence. So blessed to have my dad still with us, as his health has turned around and he is regaining strength and looking forward to being able to come home, hopefully in the near future! 2018 has been a very busy year, a time of continued learning and growth, and I know 2019 will be full of blessings and opportunities for continued service and moving forward in many new directions. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement, I look forward to sharing and caring with you in the year ahead! Blessings to you all, and have a happy and healthy new year! xoxox