Palliative Care Coming To Waterdown Library on Thursday February 2nd

The next best thing after publishing a book is having people who admit to reading it! I’m fortunate that librarians at Hamilton Public Library have invited me to talk with their readers. Tomorrow,  Thursday February 3rd I will be speaking about the experience of writing a novel that addresses the joys and frustrations of palliative care.

Here’s how it’s billed:

Autumn’s Grace – Reflections on Writing a Family’s Journey Through Palliative Care.

Autumn's Grace Cover

Author and Registered Nurse, Bonnie Lendrum, could have chosen a lighter topic than palliative care for her first novel, but she didn’t. Instead, she chose to write about something that worried her…how we as a society manage end-of-life care. Lendrum will combine readings from Autumns’ Grace with observations on family dynamics, health care policy and practices. Like the novel, the talk will contain hearty doses of courage, humour and hope.

Consider this note to be an invitation that you may extend to friends and family to come to the  Hamilton Public Library, Waterdown Branch, 163 Dundas St. East, Waterdown, for 7:00 p.m. Thursday , February 2, 2017. Call the library to register (905-689-6269  x1021), or just plan to show up.

Bonnie Lendrum is the author of Autumn’s Grace, the story of how one family manages the experience of palliative care with hope and humor despite sibling conflicts, generational pulls and career demands.

Autumn’s Grace – at Audreys Books on June 5th

audresys-584Back in the 1950’s one of my Canadian heroes, Mel Hurtig,  was an Indie bookstore owner and publisher. In his Edmonton stores, authors could stage plays, perform readings and drink coffee with patrons. How cool was that?

This lucky author will be reading at one of these locations (10702 Jasper Avenue) on Sunday June 5th at 2:00. The bookstore is now named Audreys Books Ltd. It’s owned by two invincible spirits, Steve and Sharon Budnarchuk, who have made this author from the east feel quite welcome in the west.

Please tell friends and family to drop by on Sunday afternoon to say “Hello!” and to support these Indie Booksellers.

 

 

Reflections on Writing a Family’s Journey Through Palliative Care – An Afternoon Discussion at Westdale Public Library

Tuesday February 16, 2016 at the Hamilton Public Library, Westdale Branch – 2:00 -3:00 p.m.

Author and nurse, Bonnie Lendrum, could have chosen a lighter topic than palliative care for her first novel, but she didn’t. Instead, she chose to write about something that worried her…how we as a society manage end-of-life care. Lendrum will combine readings from Autumns’ Grace with observations on family dynamics, health care policy and practices. Like the novel, the talk will contain hearty doses of courage, humour and hope.

Please feel free to share this post with friends, family and neighbours.

The Government of Ontario Welcomes Your Comments on Physician-Assisted Dying

“In February 2015 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the law prohibiting physician-assisted dying is unconstitutional. As a result, physician-assisted dying will become legal across Canada in the near future.

The Government of Ontario wants input from the public on the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling.

You can share your thoughts and concerns at a public consultation,”1 or via an on-line survey.

Visit www.endoflifeconsultations.com to find a consultation forum in a city near you. The consultations begin on January 6th and end on January 26th .

Or visit http://www.ipsosresearch.com/endoflifedecisionssurvey/ to complete a survey

 

 1.  Advertisement paid for by the Government of Ontario, Globe and Mail, Saturday January 2, 2016.

We Can Do Better

Chapters Display

“Forget about planning your funeral; begin planning your end of life!”  That was the first response to my question, “What was your ‘takeaway’ from reading Autumn’s Grace?” as a recent discussion with The Neighbours’ Book Club was winding down.

There were nods around the room. The speaker continued, “I have started talking with the people I love about how I want my last days to be, and I ask them what they would like for theirs.”  It was a reaction that I did not anticipate as I was writing Autumn’s Grace.  At most, I had hoped that readers would vicariously, through the eyes and ears of Max, Marge, Jessie, Jane and Ethan, feel more informed about the challenges of diagnosis, treatment and care-taking. Maclean’s cross country conversations on  End of Life Care: A National Dialogue  have, I suspect, accelerated the interest in considering the issues, and for these fora I am grateful.

If individuals, couples, families and communities prepared for end-of-life as well as we do for pregnancy, childbirth and infant/child-development we might enter our last stage of life’s journey with less fear and more informed support.

The second response to my query was, “We can do better.”  This speaker was not suggesting that people (family members, health care professionals) and organizations (hospitals, community health) were mal-intended. She thought that perhaps individuals and organizations did not stop to examine recurring negative patterns, and adjust accordingly. Without being prescriptive, Autumn’s Grace shines a light on some opportunities for improvement.

Both responses resonated with me. In 2013, the Faculty of Nursing at University of Toronto dared alumnae to dream of better endings.*  Dr. Sioban Nelson, then Dean, noted that “until we see death and dying as part of the continuum of care, Canada will remain a poor place to die.” I agree. We can do better. Simply put, that was my motivation for writing Autumn’s Grace.

 

* See: Dare to Dream Of Better EndingsPulse Spring/Summer 2013, Volume 6, Number 1. Pulse  is the magazine for Alumnae of The Bloomberg School of Nursing.

 

 

Why A ‘Good Death’ Matters

Chalk it up to my age and life experiences if you will, but I do find that I spend more time now than I did in my thirties and forties thinking about how we die. Trust me. I am not being maudlin, nor melancholy. Angry and frustrated are more apt descriptors. So I have to say I am encouraged when I see more articles in the press on dying and death, like Sandra Martin’s in the Globe and Mail http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/the-hospital/lifes-last-milestone-why-a-good-death-matters/article16896444/#dashboard/follows/ .

It’s through citizen action that we can raise awareness that our health care system, by and large, does not support good deaths. That is not a statement against doctors and nurses and all the other caring professionals. It’s a statement about how the system is organized, and how it is funded.

If we gave as much societal attention and funding to dying as we do to pregnancy, birthing and early childhood development then few of us would fear dying. And more of us would be equipped with the knowledge to help the people we love to die with grace. Margaret Mead once noted, “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Her observation is as true today as when she wrote it in the last century. We need a quiet, or maybe not so quiet, revolution to support good deaths.