Yvonne Heath is a wife, mother to three amazing children and a nurse since 1988. She has worked in ten different hospitals in Ontario, New York, Louisiana and Texas, and has nursed in the emergency room, long term care, medical and surgical units, intensive care in chemotherapy and hospice. Yvonne has witnessed a great deal of suffering, pain and death phobia, and felt it in her own life. She is the author of Love Your Life to Death.
To those who want to live well…and die well.
What if we planned our lives well instead of just going through the motions? What if we planned our end of life—long before a diagnosis, long before we were dying? What if we learned about grief before the grief so that we could be better prepared for it? Imagine…
We have come a long way with palliative care and hospice, but have a long way to go. Many still cling to quantity of life at the expense of quality of life. Over the years, I have had many patients tell me they are ready to die but their families are not ready to let them go.
Death phobia causes excessive suffering for the dying individual and for those who are left behind to pick up the broken pieces. Parents often do not want to expose their children to death, creating death phobic adults in the future. How then, can we build resilience? How can we learn that our broken hearts will heal?
While I love being a nurse, I have always felt I also had another purpose – to help more people than I could reach in my day-to-day work. My mission now is to bring death out of the darkness and into our conversations, to help eliminate excessive suffering when grief and death do arrive.
When we learn to talk about and plan our life and death, something amazing happens. We live more fully and suffer less at the end of our lives. And so do our loved ones.
I am devoted to helping people learn to live well and die well, and to create compassionate communities. It takes a village to care for the ill, the caregiver, the dying and the bereaved. We need to take good care of each other, but we must start with taking care of ourselves.
I have learned from those who have grieved deeply, care for the dying, from patients and those who have a story to share. As an author and speaker, I share these beautiful stories, as well as my own experience.