Good morning everyone I'm Amy Friesen and this is Artful aging with Amy on today's show we will be discussing something that it hits home for me which is navigating the sandwich generation and coming out the other side with your whole self.
In case you missed the explanation in my ninth episode with Sarah here it is again the sandwich generation means that you are an individual who is both caring for your children and your,
as a member of this generation I can tell you that it can be both exhausting and rewarding all wrapped into one.
However today's caregivers are also full-time employees Executives and business owners which causes many other stressors and obligations.
Caregivers have told me that they often feel as though they are in a tug-of-war with all the obligations and I also see high amounts of unrecognized and untreated burnout.
Did you know that the last 20 years the seniors population has increased in Canada 75 percent with a 90 plus population increase of 145 percent on its own.
It also means that 2.2 million employed individuals are caregivers to their aging parents as well as their children.
It is predicted that the senior population over the next 20 years is going to grow another 68%.
There has never been a better and more needed time right than right now to figure out new and innovative ways to support a huge population.
My guest today is someone who has had to embrace life's journey that included both of her parents being diagnosed with brain cancer at the same time,
having to shift gears in her own life very quickly and teach yourself how to be present in the moment and go on this end of life Journey with our parents has shown Laura that there is so much that still needs to be done to support other caregivers just like yourself.
Today Laura Dill is best-selling author and internationally a coach and the founder of a slave society which is a foundation focused on supporting families
and their Journey with gliac luscombe I can't see it very well or are you gonna have to tell me glioblastoma tell me in a minute welcome Laura thanks so much for joining me Laura please tell me how to say this.
It's just okay nobody can say this properly it's glioblastoma you got it the last time oh my God before we start a glioblastoma so,
Laura thank you for clarifying that and for coming on it really appreciate you shit coming on to Share story today.
You thank you so much for having me I really appreciate it and I love the work that you do any awareness that you bring to caregivers and so there's just this entire part this journey,
of all of our Lives because we're all going to be here God willing we're all going to be here at some point and it really is a blessing it's an honor to be a caregiver it's hard as hell.
But it's such a special part of life and if we learn how to not let it swallow us whole then we can really grow from it.
I think so too as well and like I said there's it's just there's a whole population of caregivers out there that are doing all this for their parents and for their children that's really.
Like silent it's really unnoticed and it's just getting more and more so maybe we could start today Laura,
by telling us more about your story and how its LED you to be where you are today could you give us a little bit of a backwards glimpse into your life.
Absolutely so the store tell me my story starts kind of boring I just had a very regular family life one you know one girl one boy like one brother one sister my two parents and they divorced when I was 17 and we had this.
Interesting Journey which so many people do have trying to figure out how to manage a blended family right but they remarried and we were all trying to come back together and in that as I became an adult and had children it was actually.
Sort of a fairytale Perfection on how they were able to manage that my mom and dad with with spouses and.
And then at the end of 2019 it all took a very tragic turn but an interesting turn when they were both as you mentioned at the top of the show they were both.
And diagnosed with glioblastoma only 14 days apart so my father had been experiencing just some very cognitive.
And a bit of a cognitive decline I guess losing you know short-term memory putting something down and forgetting where it was it looked very similar to alzheimer's to us,
we never expected that a diagnosis of a brain tumor would come back let alone a terminal brain tumor.
And so for those who aren't familiar with glioblastoma specifically it is a terminal form of brain cancer so primary primary tumor formed in the brain it did not come from anywhere else in the body.
The terminology of it is that it sends tendrils through the brain so when you remove the tumor there are still all these sort of,
Pathways of cancer that can spread right across to the other side that can't be eliminated,
it is an aggressive and treatment with six months of chemo with radiation there's a bit of a structure there but overall is about a six seven months.
Aggressive treatment plan and then just maintenance but the prognosis is 12 to 18 months for a glioblastoma patient.
So to find out about my dad I decided right away and I have three kids I had three businesses at the time and right away I decided I would.
Take a pause on my business has put them on the back burner a little bit go down to part-time and everything I did and try to be there for him as much as I could.
And then 14 days later on my actual birthday on September 7th I was celebrating with my dad and my mom was in her own kitchen across the city from us here in Ottawa and she actually dropped of a seizure,
and was rushed to emerge the same emerge and was diagnosed with exactly the same rare rare terminal brain cancer.
So fast forward all that we went through quite the tumultuous Journey as.
You know we weren't kind of fortunate in a way that we got two thumbs very weird to say this but it is it is true we got to put their radiation appointments together every day.
So we would have the radiation at the same time we'd all meet there like this big weird blended family unit and you know and it up,
being something that was so horrific and so unimaginable it added this very intimate layer,
to it I got to care for both of my parents at the same time I did take my mom to live with me my dad stayed with his wife and I got to sort of be there for both and take care of both and I'm not sure.
Anybody wants to that given that I had you know divorced parents to have the opportunity to take care of them both at the same time really was such a blessing for me.
I think that will firstly thank you for sharing the story you and I have spoken before and I was in awe of your story before and that's also why I wanted you to come on today.
It sounds like it just. It's on that both ends right you've got your parents that are not with each other anymore but kind of everything has been brought together in this you know
tragedy / kind of I don't know you found your weight I don't even words for it and I'm sure you don't have a lot of words for it either you found your way to kind of get through
what you're dealing with in the brain cancer but also kind of reunited the family and brought all these extra you know your step parents together as well I was reading a bit of about in your book which we'll talk about in a minute but I just thought it was,
lovely how even though it's very tragic you were you guys were able to come together as a family and I just think that that's phenomenal,
and a lot of the questions that I want to talk to you about today is really how can we open this discussion up for
other caregivers other people that are in a similar scenario to learn from because you're so strong and you've come through it and I know that you've had these ups and downs
and and I want to just to kind of dive deep into it so with your permission I'd like to ask you some hard questions.
Like I said because I want people to see that they're not the only ones going through these Journeys and that,
there are very similar stories and I've talked to thousands of families,
and although the stories are a bit different the struggles look very similar and so how can we help people where they're at between the two of us today how can we have help them look at their situation and start putting pieces together that can help.
So I guess maybe one of the other questions I want to lead with is that you know in the time period that your parents were going through,
the their brain cancer Journey you are going through this with them, what I want to know is how did it affect your home life with your children and your husband because
a lot of the people that we're talking to you today Laura are caregivers of both their children and their parents and you know term sandwich generation how did it,
you know you putting all of your energies into your parents how did that affect your home life with your children and your spouse if you don't mind sharing.
And actually I'm so glad you asked that because. It's so focused everything is so focused on the patient and I mean rightfully so and then the focus is on the caregiver but then people seem to forget that there's this whole support network past that,
and I've always said and I maintain that the caregiver needs a caregiver and that caregiver needs a caregiver and it's like concentric circles right when you drop a rock in a pond.
Everybody needs that support outwardly. And so for myself you know I was one of the primary caregivers I was primary caregiver for my mom secondary for my dad.
But I needed somebody to take care of me, and so my husband had to step up in a very big way he also had to work extra because I stopped working so financially I was no longer providing much of anything so he had the extra burden of that.
Plus the fact that mentally and emotionally I was pretty Tapped Out, I would come home from from two parents and hospitals and I wouldn't have a lot left to give to sadly I lot left to give to my kids I just didn't and if you're watching this and you're thinking.
I can relate and it's I'm just looking want to let you know it's okay that you don't have much left right now either this is temporary,
but I didn't have a lot left for everybody else because I was giving so much to my mom and dad.
And so he had to you know right down to pick the kids up every day from school but she wasn't doing before that was usually my schedule so he was changing his routine working extra working late into the night at home on his laptop,
he was burning out so who takes care of him I can't so he ended up having and I'm going to get very personal here but he ended up having an emotional breakdown,
and I wrote about this in my book and I can talk about this very openly, but he had a breakdown so he one day shut off this is about several weeks into the second diagnosis,
he shut off he got sick he couldn't get out of bed his stomach was in knots at for about a week he thought he had the flu and then at the end of that week we realized.
There's no flew and he knew he just lied there staring at the ceiling he wasn't even turning on the TV it was just a very.
Hard way to see him there and to realize then that my dad was down my mom was down and now my husband was down it felt like.
Every pillar that would ever have supported me had crumbled and I only had me left so I had to then turn outward and find someone to support my husband.
And then you know and so on and so on because everybody who gives their energy to another human. Needs to be lifted up in some way this is tiring we're expending energy all the time in this caregiver role.
And make sure that my children were pretty I don't know why I'm laughing when I say my children because I just they've been dragged through the wringer mean they're really have they've seen.
My mom was living here and I she had well she had two tumors there two surgeries two days apart and she had 64 combined 64 Staples,
snake through her head and. Two big long incisions and every night I would have to put polysporin and I'm squeamish as all heck and I had to put polysporin on every you know cm of that and incision line.
With a Q-tip and so we they watch stuff like that they saw her fall down they saw her vomit they saw her,
you know like they saw her lose who she was they saw her become this pillar for them this spiritual connection the safe place that they had in their life.
I saw her go from that to childlike because this disease really does. Cuz you right off the bat very often to become childlike it literally takes half your brain.
Out and so it creates a dependency right from the get-go.
Along with physical deficits and so they saw a lot of things that most kids don't have to witness at such a young age and.
And one of my daughters has anxiety and has always struggled with very high level of anxiety and that just magnify that for her quite a bit.
And it's hard to say you know at the time they kind of just go through the motions because they're little and then you know we'll say their resilience but they go through the motions.
But it's the later it's like when the quiet happens at night time when they lie down and their little brains are spinning,
and I'll send the tears start and they're clutching their stuffies and they're sharing I don't want granny to die and that was the hardest always the hardest part you could get up and go to school they could get to their Sports they can see their friends,
until covid hit but it was the night that they had the hardest time.
That's again thank you for sharing it's so touching and it hits me on such a level 2 and I'm actually tearing up listening to it because I can put myself in your physical,
you do not entirely but in that kind of situation and and. It's super difficult and I hope that you know people can relate to that the other question I had,
with that is you know I'm a business owner as well as you know and the fact that you had to put all three of your businesses on hold to become a full-time caregiver.
To me is very upsetting as well because. You know I love what I do for work I you know that that's why we're business owners because we want to do what you know what we're really good at and what we're passionate about so how was that putting your businesses on hold for that time.
If you like I am going to take this in a whole other direction here but I think it's important to to say or to recognize because this is a part I wasn't expecting for myself but.
You know the truth is when I decided to do that it was hard and the hardest part was the lack of finances the hardest part was the you know the not having,
the money to pay our bills and seeing that my husband was trying to overcompensate for that and.
But purpose sort of purpose goes as far as me getting up every day and you know,
it didn't take away from that if there was no like gosh I miss this job or I miss you know what I did I had a Horticultural landscaping business I had a,
and a beautycounter business and I had a mom coaching and podcast business with a friend and so I missed those things,
but I wasn't like learning for them I didn't feel like there was a void there because my purpose became very clear that I needed to just be there for my parents so I never had that like.
Who am I I'm losing my sense of self I want to be working I sort of found this beautiful way too late,
dabble in those things a little tiny bit here and there but was so focused on caring for not even caring for.
Showing up for just being present for my parents it whether I was helping change their briefs or you know address their bedsores.
Gorgeous sitting there reading them a book while they slapped it was this same to me I was just happy to be present.
But what I wasn't expecting was actually after they passed away so they did both passed away in the 2020 during the pandemic 6 months apart,
and he was that it was that mess afterwards where because my businesses had been on hold.
I wasn't sure if I could just pick them all back up. Because I was going through so much grief I wasn't I didn't have it in me to just pick them all back up because I changed so much and grown and developed.
As a person did I even want to do those things anymore and therefore I would wake up feeling like well now I'm not a caregiver.
Now I'm not at a landscape business owner now I'm not this so who am I and I suffered this and still am quite honestly this like identity crisis.
Well now what do I do and who am I worth who what am I worth and who am I important to and that that was something that kind of blindsided me.
So I'm saying that to prepare you know for anybody that is in this caregiver rule.
It's just it's a whole different ballgame when you kind of aren't the caregiver anymore and you wonder who you are because that's how important that caregiver role is in your life,
for sure and you're putting all of that energy for that long a period and then you're still a caregiver you still have three kids and so you're still
doing that but it looks so much different and when your days before that I'm just you know speaking from my point of view but it love your opinion your days before that,
we're committed to your family or yourself your businesses and things like that and then when you have to kind of.
Cut that off and go full into a caregiving role for your parents and stuff and then you come out of it again,
it's hard to restart that I would say like even looking at my own businesses you know once you step away.
It's hard to like you know right you know where do you belong at that point and how does that you know how is your life going to shape from there.
When you say and you're not the person you were when you stepped away from that it's right there giving changes you do it in such a positive way but it changes Who You Are.
I can definitely I definitely understand for that we talked a little bit about your your husband kind of going through a burnout phase as well,
and I had mentioned at the top of the show that you know I deal with a lot of families a lot of individuals that I as an outside professional can see that they're in Burnout and I'm so.
I look at you know this scenario so often and some other people so many other people's lives that when I'm in brno I can see myself and so I have an advantage at that that I know and I was talking to you before the show of how,
you know my burnout it's almost kind of like you you're going and then you dip and then you go and you're like okay I can do it again and then you like lose it you can do it again and then you lose it again,
and I feel like I'm you know I'm always in that, can you tell me you know what is your experience been with burnout you know how how have you found,
you know how have you found your way how have you addressed burnout maybe you could give us a little bit of information for that.
I am a naturalized as a very high-energy person and I mean I think that's a blessing and a curse but
when my parents got sick I decided the right thing to do would be to start a charity like a full-fledged charity and I started throwing all my energy I think it was my way of feeling like I had control.
Over something because everything felt like specially with covid like it was spinning out of control,
so I threw a lot of my extra time not that I had much of that into building this and this charity which has since become a registered charity.
And. So I could go go go I could go all day to the hospital you know get up get the kids ready drop them off at school go to One hospital give my mom breakfast take care of her and give her lunch get her to Physio leave that hospital go to my dad's Hospital spend the afternoon there get him up and go for a walk around the halls.
Come back pick up my kids this is when my parents were both in different hospitals and in this change throughout our journey but you know pick up the kids get them to their after-school sports do all the dinner stuff homework.
Do a bunch of foundation work to a bunch of and you know awareness where I get and it's still like you know then crash at the end of the night or not because like I said,
nighttime is quiet and your brain is spinning and that's where I would go actually go through all the processing of all the trauma of every single day.
But because I go so fast and I think this is not a bad way to be but I think anyone who's like that just needs to be careful.
I would then crash really hard and the crashes would come you know I go few weeks and then I crash really hard for a couple days and and I still do this this is still my.
My pattern I don't intend to make that a pattern but I always think I feel good I can keep going like you said go go go like I got this i got this and then boom I will spend usually about four days.
On the floor just crazy you know whether it was grief and burnout in that time and I'm staying grief because most caregivers are going through anticipatory grief,
they're already grieving and grieving the person they knew their grieving the relationship they had their grieving the dynamic that has changed from from you know parents child to now child parent.
There is grief already happening so whether it was that at that time or now just briefed of the loss of my parents.
I just for you know four days I'll end up just crashed usually as I leave out to those days I'll just lose interest in anything I love I'm a hockey player in my entire life,
and I just want to go to hockey in fact I'll dread going out the door.
Being around and I'm such an extrovert so for me to dread being around people especially people I love.
It's usually my sign that if you don't have the energy to go do one of the things you love most in life like this is bad what's coming is going to be hard and then,
just make her a lot of space for that burn out for those few days. Cancel whatever I need to lie on the couch have a lot of Bath's what I can what about a lot of coffee a lot of reading books side I just try to let it be there and not cited but I think.
I don't know whether we all need to do a really good job of balancing all this or whether we just all need to learn what our pattern is and embrace it as it comes,
that I have no idea yet I'm still learning I think you make a really good point I think you know like if you know your pattern,
you know I had a rough weekend myself specifically and I just started writing it down I was like okay what does Burnout look like because I feel like.
The more of us that can talk about what it looks like and how you feel during it and how you anticipate it and things like that
the more information we can get out as people going through burnout or
and or professionals dealing with it I think the better because like I said the population of caregivers is exploding and I
have you know in my experience I see that people don't actually know the signs of what burnout is and and I'm fortunate you know fortunate or not I guess
to understand when I'm going through and I do similar things that you do is that you know I drink more coffee.
I end up being introverted even more so I tend to be introverted I can tell you covid made me more introverted.
But I do yeah you know I don't want to go anywhere and like I was telling you before the show that I had to you know,
take my daughter to gymnastics and a birthday party this weekend and there was no way too many people did you in oh my goodness there's way too many people for my comfort level but I think that that's the thing you have to understand what it is,
and be gentle on yourself and let yourself get through and.
You know what I what I was saying about the Ebbs and flows is that you know I'm not I would have burnout that that's the thing it's like I can just manage better today than I managed on Saturday for.
And bring it that's you know that's the part of you know giving yourself a little bit of Grace and just you know dealing with it with however you have to deal with it together.
Yeah absolutely Laura is also a best-selling author and internationally best-selling author,
her books entitled daughter embracing the difficult journey of caring for a dying parent without falling apart I read it it's a lovely book it's very,
emotional I have cried numerous times I'm on the journey with you in this book and so it like I said it really takes you on an emotional journey and I'm curious what was it like writing this book.
Specific emotional and it's so you just said about you know over the weekend you're experiencing burnout and you decided to write it down and that's.
Quite literally how I think I survived for lack of a better word because this is an overwrite this journey is not over grief is number over but that's how I really got through and found the strength to continue on each day.
Thrilled caregiving, and I don't you know it's I never in my wildest dreams thought I would write a book I have a reading disability like I did not a Singlish not ever not one year of my life
but I have a very creative mind and my dad actually wrote A Few books he didn't ever publish any but that was his.
That was his dying wish that he'd get one of his books published and so when this journey started for us and I started to write you know journal and I didn't even Journal before all this happened but I just sort of found this moment of hey I could just write all this down.
And then I would feel better and now that I think I've said this to you before Amy but on an almost on a selfish turn.
When I would journal and then post it because I don't have any fear of being vulnerable that way.
And so so much support would come back to me and I no longer had parents that could offer that and so I'm really thrived and even relied a lot of times
you know on that on putting out my feelings putting her heart my experience of that day the updates on my parents and getting all that support like flooding back into me so,
I feel like that's a bit selfish to say but that is the God's honest truth and so as I went along journaling these people kept saying you should you should write a book you write really well you need to put this into a book.
And so I decided that's where I would do when it's actually funny because it's is today the third of me yes it is this day last year I finished my I handed in my manuscript my manuscript was due to my editor on May third last year.
And going back through the whole process you know going back to write the book I had to.
Really it wasn't as easy as copying and pasting my post but they stood as you know almost markers throughout so I could go back read those pillows,
take them re write them elaborate on them and create this this will not create a retell this story
but there's a lot of reliving in that story and my intention and My Hope was just to write my story.
And you have people take what they needed from my story and it ended up turning into this program in a sense because,
I sort of backtracked to exactly the moment I mean I could stand here right now after having gone through the Journey.
Standing here getting say goodbye to my parents you know had no regrets and I could tell you what it's like from where I am but you can't relate to that if you're on day one of hearing the diagnosis for your dad and so I really had to take myself back.
In relive every single heartbreaking moment of that Journey over and over and over and pour it back onto paper and get it out of my body.
It's sort of just naturally. Transitioned into like on that day I just really needed to drink more water I didn't realize how dehydrated I was and I forgot that that's actually self-care not the spa not getting a manicure or not.
Having a 3-day Netflix binge which sounds all really fun but in those caregiving moments.
Sometimes your self-care has to look like make sure you drink enough water in the day and and treat your body the way it needs to be and maybe that's all you can handle.
In that moment and so I ended up creating his sort of these eight steps almost you know of other programs to help caregivers help guide them through from that very first point of diagnosis and of you know accepting that news,
all the way through to the end. But it was hard I bet yeah and I can relate as well when I was you know I saw I saw your post on social media the other day and when I saw it because I know how emotional was that you had written a book and I'd saw a post before about,
you're your trouble with learning and things like that and I also have those kind of issues that's why I have some trouble
you know pronouncing some words and things like that it's just that it doesn't connect for me,
and I when I wrote a book I felt the same way it's like oh my goodness I just I wrote a book and then the cool thing about it which you've probably experienced as well I know you have is that when people read your book,
and they'll like it was good and you're like oh my God it was good like it was good please tell me more right and it's like that yeah you know so it kind of.
You know I probably didn't completely balance out you know having to relive all of that stuff but then.
At the end of it you know when you publish knowing that you're helping people I think obviously you know was your goal right and it said like help people,
and to get it on paper and what not and said to know that. Do you feel like it was worth writing it for because I think it was so interesting that you went through and you know,
you laid out things like what to wear as a caregiver how to set up your environment you know and I was reading that thinking
that you know it's standard it's like point you know these are the things you have to do but as someone who has never gone through that Journey that you have,
I was like oh my goodness this would be super helpful if I was on that specific Journey,
and so I thought it was really cool that you were able to write that out and give people kind of that idea of you know what might be next or what can I look at.
That was really cool. Thank you I appreciate that and I mean a lot of it was from you know don't make the mistakes I did I had a think I even wrote about this where I wore for flip-flops for like you know I was 14 hours in the hospital most days if my parents and I was wearing flip-flops and,
my feet by the end of the day we're just excruciating Lee painful and you said just the amount of.
Nonsensical stuff I did and then silly decisions I made and the amount of coffee I consumed instead of water or instead of something that's hydrating I'm good for you because you're just going through survival mode.
Right you're just doing whatever you have to do to get literally from one minute to the next minute sometimes and so if someone could have just said like.
Don't be silly so pop star not a great idea for you know concrete Hospital floors all day I would have said oh yeah shoot right like,
and so every day after that I had little running shoes at sounds so trivial and so ridiculous in towards the end of the book it gets into much much deeper staff.
But it starts with like drink the water eat healthy food pack some snacks for the day so that you're not having to Hortons Bagels all the time I mean I obviously and he has seen this I love Tim Hortons but you know make like,
you're not going to make these sensible choices in the moment and last year reminded and you're inspired and so that's what I hope it does is takes people who are new or at this and just so overwhelmed and scared,
it makes them put on some damn shoes with some support I feel like I'm My Own mom right now like wear sensible shoes,
but you know and just and grab some carrot sticks and hummus instead of swinging through the McDonald's and getting a burger and then when the when shit hits the fan and it's the worst day you've had and you just think you're going to explode,
get the burger thanks David McDonald's and get the burger because you just need to put food in your body but plan for better.
You're worth more treat yourself better and ultimately what I wanted to remind people as. If you were your parent and you needed a caregiver who would you want to show up for you.
Would you want the person that is late as sleep-deprived malnourished. You know burned-out math or do you want the person who's looking like they're there to take care of you like they can physically lift you if you fall,
you know like they're not about to burst into tears at any given second you're going to feel that way but prepare yourself to feel the best you can for as long as you can and then Embrace those moments where you feel like you're going to cry and you need the greasy hamburger,
for sure I mean you've got to do the stuff to get through but I think that also a lot of people.
You know they're they're stuck in their daily right and it's like like you said a lot of people are just minute by minute and I think that if people started looking at the journey more as a journey and a marathon then they would understand
that at the end of that Journey or at the end of that Marathon Or Win It
quiet a little bit because it will eventually for whatever reason it does it,
you still have you at the end of the day and if you don't you know like you said with caregiving one you want to be able to show up properly but also at the end of the day you're still there and you you know if you don't treat your body properly.
And fit in what you can it doesn't have to look the same but fit in what you can because at the end of the day you're gonna have to repair all the damage that you did to yourself because you're still going to be moving forward and you know in your case you know your parents passed.
And you still have to move forward you still have three kids you still have a life you're still wanted to accomplish things and if you're a you know a Sad Sack and a mess.
You know you also then have to accomplish that again and you have to get yourself back up but it's harder as we all age as well it's harder to do that,
it's harder you know if you go through the caregiver journey and you gained 20 pounds and you haven't been exercising you're malnourished and whatever.
To get that back as you age it could be a year for some people it could be multiple year but it's more impossible than the longer it lasts right like it's just.
Hard to do and and depending on your circumstance if if your caregiving Journey ends God forbid because someone passes away.
You're all you're going through enough turmoil you've got enough trauma already in your heart and then to get up and and like you said.
Get that exercise in or get those you know those good meals in or anything just get yourself back up.
So hard already so give yourself the best fighting chance for that for me what was really important to is to empower.
Caregivers I really strongly felt like how do I this is one of the things I struggle with the most.
How do I get through this journey I knew how it would end, there was no opportunity for a recovery I knew how ours would end I'm so how do I get to the end of that without any regrets how do I make sure I said all the things I would have ever wanted to say to my parents.
That's Impossible by the way to sit in that moment and and what I actually thought it was a gift to them.
Was to tell them what great parents I've been to me and to be able to say. Just build a tell them what they taught me in life and to say Mom I'm this way and this way and this way because of you I feel like as a mom I just feel like I'm screwing up constantly I think that's.
Par for the course and I thought how beautiful would it be for my mom to close out her life knowing that I'm grateful that.
I have all these qualities and these skills and the strength because of her and and same for my dad and so to be able to say to them.
Any of these things I got it thank you for teaching me to be this type of a parent and here's you know my children can do this because they learned that from you,
I felt like I was so blessed to be able to do that and for people in this caregiving position I just want to encourage them and Empower them,
it's hard as it is to try to have those moments. Because people who are taken tragically those are the regrets that their loved ones are left with all the things unsaid so say someone said this to me and I talked about it so much it's in the book.
Say all the things and take all the pictures. That was really important to me and so what I wanted to do with this book to even with going back to the drinking water and and dressing you know the right way,
was Empower those caregivers so that they could get through it not just in survival mode but in a position mentally of being able to do all the things that they would want to do without having any regrets,
you're gonna get me I'm like I can feel it feel the tears coming it's true it's so beautiful thank you for sharing that it you know.
It's so beautiful and I'm sure that you're right I'm sure your parents love to hear that and I have to change the topic because I'm going to lose my tears.
But thank you for that and I don't know a lot of. A lot of people say how do you talk about this and not cry but I I have cried yeah oceanside's I don't have it's not that I don't have anything left to cry all the time but it's,
yeah I was I felt the way you feel right now in saying those things but I did them and I glad to see them you know and that's huge and that makes me be able to sit here now without feeling like I can fall apart because I know I don't have regrets.
Now it's beautiful let's let's let's change the subject a little bit
because as I mentioned at the top of the show Laura is now running a foundation that you said is now a charity called slice Society can you tell us more about it.
So my dad had a motto which was slay one Dragon at a time and when he was diagnosed that's what he said to us in the hospital they had this moment and it was.
Like just an out-of-body experience we were all crying we'd heard the words terminal brain cancer we were not expecting not ever ever ever in our wildest dreams or nightmares.
And we all could have left the room me my brother and my stepmom and we broke down in a hallway is a different Corners that we all came back and my dad never said it to her and he said they're so stoic lie quietly,
and you know any said well guys this is how we're going to do this we're just going to slay one Dragon at a time.
And he meant if they tell me I need surgery tomorrow that's what we're going to do that's all we're going to focus on then if they tell me I need to start you know that physiotherapy for Recovery also we're going to focus on we're not going to look at the big picture and get overwhelmed inside and,
when 14 days later my mom was diagnosed my dad came to the hospital and that was a very cool thing to my parents always gives it at each other in the hospital
and he said the same thing to her Christine Morgan is slay one Dragon at a time and so it just became this like motto that we took with us and,
so when I decided to do this charity it came out of I think I need for support for caregivers as I mentioned before there's so much focus on the patient,
is not as much in place to support caregivers and I didn't know of any, thing that was raising money for caregivers and one day I stood at the gas station and I was pumping gas to write to race to the hospital to get to my mom who was recovering from her second brain surgery,
could have been my dad on his third or fourth or fifth he had six brain surgeries I don't remember which time it was but I remember pumping gas and being so mad.
Then I was paying 80 dollars to fill my gas tank for something that I never asked for that my parents never asked for and it felt.
It just felt so unfair as life often is and that's the expectation but it hurt like it was.
Infuriating and the next time I got gas someone had given me a gift card and the amount of lightness that I experienced just in putting gas in my car and knowing it wasn't costing me money was so huge and so I decided I want to give that gift to people,
and I was so well supported on my journey as a caregiver supported by the community and so I started the slave society and to raise money to support other.
Caregiver is just specifically the caregivers of glioblastoma patients because this disease is Relentless and ruthless.
And the most destructive cancer in humans and it's also the least funded of all the cancers and I just felt like I needed to do something my dad wanted to throw big fundraisers when he got out of the hospital he never did get out of the hospital.
But he really wanted to give back in a way and I'm not doing it the same way he wanted but I'm doing it in my way that makes sense to me and helps me make sense of a nonsensical situation.
That's wonderful I know that you have a event coming up called plan Topia and I think that that,
you know one as an event lovely you know it's spring at you know plants bring so much happened like so much happiness and you know all of that stuff that brings.
But I also think it's fantastic because that is and was your career and your love and bringing that into another venue and another Avenue.
It's just beautiful it's I feel like it just Mary's things so well can you tell us a bit more about the event.
So I am a horticulturist and that was my education and my career and my passion in life and.
It's been very rewarding to find you know to raise money and like to marry these two passions of fundraising advocating and Horticulture all into one so it's called plan Topia this will be our
fourth plan Topia event and it's look it's going to be held at the broad Head Brewery in Orleans in Ottawa,
on May 15th from noon to 4 we're going to have a bouncy castle we have face painting
kind of funny to have like a family-friendly out of beer brewery but why not it's during the day it's on a Sunday afternoon,
and the last time we did a you know a lot of parents shot and these kids walked around with their little plants and they were so excited to just get the heck out of there and take their plant home
and you can see these parents just saying like can you just wait like I just wanted to 10 more minutes so we thought the bouncy castle would be a really fun way to entertain you know a few children while parents
South that you can come and sell per plant for gonna have local vendors and all kind of garden and Landscape related.
Grab a pint on the patio after it's just going to be a very cool event all raising money for the slay Society.
And all that money will go back to supporting financially supporting caregiving families for glioblastoma.
Fantastic I know the bouncy castle would keep my kid there for sure she she loves rehearsing Castle yeah absolutely I can before we end today can you tell our audience where and how they can reach you.
No you can follow slay Society on social media we have an Instagram and a Facebook page both I've slay Society ink
we have our website at www.csiro.au Inc.'s CA.
And any I am always available through all of those platforms I'm always there to answer questions if you want to reach out to me send me a DM through the slay Society Facebook or Instagram page,
and or you can email us at slay Society Inc at gmail.com.
That's fantastic well again you know what I just lied its.com sorry gmail.com so good we'll get there yeah it's fantastic and again I wanted to thank you so much for coming on and sharing your story like I said I'm really hoping.
I know that it will make a difference but I'm really hoping that people find comfort in what we've been talking about today to carry on with their caregiving Journey as well and hopefully pick up your book have a read its
lovely book but you most likely will be in here so make sure that you have a Kleenex box
supposed to be uplifting Amy this is uplifting but it's emotivism right and and I said I haven't gone through what you've gone through and so I'm finding it emotional because you related to your life right and I also relate it to my career and what I've seen because I work with seniors for instance and I
I've worked in different spots so I can relate it to my life in different spots but you know that's what makes it such a great book that you know it's relatable and so many different ways so,
thank you so much not only for writing this book but also for coming on and sharing your story I really.
Thank you I appreciate it too so so much wonderful. Well and there you have it for today's show I hope that you have enjoyed Laura and eyes conversation I hope that you can take some pieces away for your own Journey,
reach out to Laura if you want to help contribute or or go over on the May 15th enjoy a bouncy castle and get some plans to support slay Society.
And and really just try to get your One Foot In Front Of Another and of course you can also reach out to me if you have questions that's it for today on our 2000 GT with a me from me to all of you I hope that you have a wonderful Wednesday.