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My journey with AIDS…and more!: World AIDS Day 2016

The blank page stares up at me, “World AIDS Day 2016”. That will be Thursday. It’s not like it used to be when life was much more urgent, desperate. I think of the dead. I still sorely miss my friends, friends from our twenties and thirties. Gone. It’s like Remembrance Day, but I don’t like . . . → Read More: My journey with AIDS…and more!: World AIDS Day 2016

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: National Caregivers Month: The Third Pillar is Patience

Patience. We learn it the hard way in caregiving. In this break-neck-speed society, caregivers are like student drivers, always trying to put our foot on the gas, but with ‘fate’, the driving instructor, firmly putting his foot on the metaphorical brake. 

Caring for young children, an elderly parent, a loved one with disabilities, or someone . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: National Caregivers Month: The Third Pillar is Patience

My journey with AIDS…and more!: I’m back, breaking my blogging fast

Facebook, with its at-best superficial ways of linking me to my world, has taken me away from greater reflection possible in this blog so…I’m back – on my journey here. The past few weeks I have been involved with the Youth/Elders Project, a joint effort of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, the 519 Community Centre . . . → Read More: My journey with AIDS…and more!: I’m back, breaking my blogging fast

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: FREE WEBINAR – Managing Caregiver Emotions When the Going Gets Tough

Join me this Wednesday evening the 29th at 7pm EST for a FREE WEBINAR at The Caregiver Network – details below.Managing Emotions When The Going Gets ToughJune 29, 2016 @ 7:00-8:30 pm (EST)REGISTER HERE+ Google Calendar + iCal ExportThis sessi… . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: FREE WEBINAR – Managing Caregiver Emotions When the Going Gets Tough

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: FREE WEBINAR – Managing Caregiver Emotions When the Going Gets Tough

Join me this Wednesday evening the 29th at 7pm EST for a FREE WEBINAR at The Caregiver Network – details below.

Managing Emotions When The Going Gets Tough

June 29, 2016 @ 7:008:30 pm (EST)

This session is intended for Caregivers

How can uncomfortable emotions be managed when caregiving feels unmanageable? Is it ever possible to make peace with grief and loss in caregiving?
Re-framing grief and anxiety as natural components of loving relationships with dependent loved ones is the theme of this presentation.
The session will offer caregivers tools to better understand and manage their own grief and anxiety. Questions addressed during this session will include: Is it possible to befriend grief and anxiety?  What happens if you try to shut these feelings out? What is the difference between difficult emotions that are natural and those that are symptoms of mental illness? What are the tools to feel better and keep caregiving?
The purpose of this session is to help caregivers understand the nature of their own difficult emotions and to offer self-management strategies that enable resilience and wellbeing in the face of loss and challenge.
 This presentation will be followed by a question/answer period.

  1. Presenter

    Donna Thomson

    Donna Thomson cares for her adult son with severe disabilities and for her Mom who is still feisty at 93. She’s the author of The Four Walls of My Freedom: Lessons I’ve Learned From a Life of Caregiving (The House of Anansi Press, 2014) and blogs regularly at The Caregivers’ Living Room (www.donnathomson.com). Donna is the Caregiving Advisor for Tyze Personal Networks, a free online tool designed to help caregivers coordinate a network of support.
  1. Presenter

    Julie Keon

    Julie’s career path changed and evolved after becoming a mother herself to Meredith, in December 2003. While no longer a practicing birth doula, Julie is active in the death midwifery movement and now offers care to those at the end of life. She welcomed a new opportunity in 2012 when she became a licensed marriage officiant for the province of Ontario, and expanded her services after graduating as a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® in early 2013 from the Celebrant Foundation & Institute with a focus on end-of-life and funeral celebrations. An avid writer, Julie began work on her first book, an extension of her essay, What I Would Tell You, in 2011. Her book was published and released to the world in May 2015 and has been very well received by not only parents and the professionals who work with families like hers but also by anyone who has found themselves in a caregiving role.

. . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: FREE WEBINAR – Managing Caregiver Emotions When the Going Gets Tough

My journey with AIDS…and more!: I am reminded

I am reminded of December 6, 1989 at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique. I am reminded of February 5, 1981 – Toronto’s bath house raids, the catalyst for my coming out. I am reminded of stolen innocence as a child at the hands of a strang… . . . → Read More: My journey with AIDS…and more!: I am reminded

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Are Bad Habits Your Way of Getting Respite?

Yesterday I was listening to an artist on the radio.  I was in the car and I was travelling only a short distance, so I don’t even know who this artist is or what they produced, but I was captured by this, “I wanted to explore grief and how we eit… . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Are Bad Habits Your Way of Getting Respite?

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: THE INFALLIBLE PRESENCE OF JOY

Priya Soni is a new friend and fellow caregiver. Like me, Priya has a background in theatre as well as a natural love for storytelling. Like me, she seeks meaning in her caregiving experience and wants to help others do the same.  I encourage you … . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: THE INFALLIBLE PRESENCE OF JOY

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: THE WEIGHT OF LOVE IN DEMENTIA CAREGIVING

Recently I had the immense pleasure of reading every poignant and fascinating word in a literary magazine called The Sun.  The January, 2016 edition is on the subject of care. I highly recommend this magazine (and particularly this edition) to car… . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: THE WEIGHT OF LOVE IN DEMENTIA CAREGIVING

The Canadian Progressive: David Suzuki: Healing humanity’s grief in the face of climate change

David Suzuki suggests that the discourse on global warming should recognized the “intense feelings” and “grief” caused by climate change. He says: “Today’s social and environmental leaders need to understand the psychological implications of a world … . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: David Suzuki: Healing humanity’s grief in the face of climate change

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: A Remarkable Story of Banishing Grief After Loss

KarolinaJonderko is a Polish photographer who nursed her beloved mother throughout a frightful journey to end with cancer.  After her mother died, Jonderko realized that she’d forgotten all the happy memories of family life before cancer.  So she took a remarkable decision.  Jonderko decided to photograph herself wearing her mother’s clothes and have her sister . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: A Remarkable Story of Banishing Grief After Loss

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Caregiving With Strength – A Guidebook for Grieving Caregivers

Eleanor Silverberg understands grief.  She is a child of holocaust survivors who often witnessed her mother silently weeping.  An unspoken sorrow infused the Silverberg family home…..grief seeped into their furniture, their walls and of course their hearts.

Eleanor Silverberg’s book Caregiving With Strength: Raising Self Care to New Heights by Acknowledging the Losses . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Caregiving With Strength – A Guidebook for Grieving Caregivers

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: I Bloom Where I am Planted: A Story of Family Caregiving

November is National Family Caregiver Month.  Here in the Caregivers’ Living Room, we are celebrating by publishing your stories.  If you have a story to share, please send it to me at donna4walls@gmail.com.  Let’s celebrate our lived experience by storytelling! My name is Susan Buro Hamm.   Included in my family is my . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: I Bloom Where I am Planted: A Story of Family Caregiving

My journey with AIDS...and more!: I’m Thinking, “This is Going to Hurt!”: On ‘How Not to Deal with Grief’

From my friend Betty Ann on her Facebook page: “This article deeply moved me…as I suspect it will for any of you who have been impacted by the kind of grief associated with multiple loss, deaths due to overdose and or HIV/AIDS. Rather than just clicking on “like”, can you write a few sentences in . . . → Read More: My journey with AIDS…and more!: I’m Thinking, “This is Going to Hurt!”: On ‘How Not to Deal with Grief’

My journey with AIDS...and more!: R.I.P. Emma

(From 04-04-2014) Following a “massive stroke” my beautiful friend of almost exactly fifteen years has left me. Emma (short for Emerald, the colour of her eyes) dropped to one side, sprawled on the floor, and let out a yell worthy of her Siamese ancestors. Now my breaths draw up sobs and tears as the quietest . . . → Read More: My journey with AIDS…and more!: R.I.P. Emma

My journey with AIDS...and more!: R.I.P. Emma

(From 04-04-2014) Following a “massive stroke” my beautiful friend of almost exactly fifteen years has left me. Emma (short for Emerald, the colour of her eyes) dropped to one side, sprawled on the floor, and let out a yell worthy of her Siamese ancestors. Now my breaths draw up sobs and tears as the quietest . . . → Read More: My journey with AIDS…and more!: R.I.P. Emma

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Weeping in Public Places

Forgive me, I have been crying.  Today I wept while driving, when I saw an old couple hug on the sidewalk.  I wiped my cheeks as I watched the post office clerk weigh my letter and add up the international postage for my letter of condolence to an old and dear friend.  Tears . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: Weeping in Public Places

My journey with AIDS...and more!: Early morning, April 25, 2007

A prompt this week to write about something in a health-care context brought out this story which, despite having been told over and over in my head, had heretofore not made it down in writing. It wasn’t quite 5:30 am and Janice was already waiting for me on the main floor of Union Station. Her . . . → Read More: My journey with AIDS…and more!: Early morning, April 25, 2007

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Fathers, Sons and the In-Between Spaces of Grief

 I tell our family story to anyone who will listen.  I hope that our story will shift readers’ embedded thoughts and ideas about what it means to be different and to care for a loved one over time.  For me, the most gratifying aspect of writing a book is that parents write to me . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: Fathers, Sons and the In-Between Spaces of Grief

Canadian Progressive: Canadians Put Politics Aside for Suicide Prevention Day

by Amelia Wood Whether you identify yourself as a conservative, liberal or something in between, there’s no denying the fact that you or someone you know has likely been affected by the tragic epidemic that is suicide. Recognized as one of the biggest issues plaguing modern Canada today, suicide is a result of a culmination . . . → Read More: Canadian Progressive: Canadians Put Politics Aside for Suicide Prevention Day

My journey with AIDS...and more!: Five Years Since a Critical Day One

It was an early night to bed on Tuesday, June 19, 2007. I had absolutely no more drinking to do and decided that the last day of this particular spring was a bitterly appropriate day to reach out for sobriety. Ruminations of suicide the past few days signalled to me that it was nearly past . . . → Read More: My journey with AIDS…and more!: Five Years Since a Critical Day One

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day was mostly just another day. My mother never let me attempt breakfast in bed. Chances are, she cooked breakfast for me. Mom’s right arm was never the same after the cancer, and her tendency to swing hot pans close to my head became a nervous running joke.

Mom did housework well until the . . . → Read More: Mother’s Day

My journey with AIDS...and more!: Craig`s timing

When Craig died five years ago today he could not have ordained that his memory would loom large during this week each year as the award in his name is presented at today`s Convocation ceremonies of United Theological College. He would not have chosen, for Mom`s sake at least, to die so close to his . . . → Read More: My journey with AIDS…and more!: Craig`s timing

Those Emergency Blues: Nurses Grieve Too

An underexplored or ignored aspect of nursing professional life: how nurses working in a Labour and Delivery unit grieve over the loss of their patients, and how this grief affects care and support of survivors. What is really striking about the film is the culture of mutual support and respect among the nurses working in . . . → Read More: Those Emergency Blues: Nurses Grieve Too

My journey with AIDS...and more!: Plan ahead – before it kills you

h/t to my friend BA! Today, April 16th, is National Advanced Care Planning Day in Canada…have you started the conversation? Here’s a link for more information and a 3 ½ minute video produced by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. Please forward this video, share on your Facebook page, tweet about it and help to . . . → Read More: My journey with AIDS…and more!: Plan ahead – before it kills you