Diane Wyzga of Whidbey Island, Washington and her podcast Stories From Women Who Walk.
Listen to me being interviewed about my journey.
Today my guest is Jane Duncan Rogers, founder and Chief Officer of Before I Go Solutions and Before I Go Academy who’s joining us from North Scotland.
Like many of us who were walking their lives until Life walked them, Jane enjoyed a successful career in retailing, trained with the wonderful Louise Hay, offered You Can Heal Your Life study groups, became an award-winning psychotherapist before finding herself face-to-face with Death at the age of 54 when her husband, Phillip, died.
Three years later Jane published a book called Gifted By Grief.
Where is the gift in grief? I’ve invited Jane to talk with us about the absolutely vital end-of-life planning work that she and her team are spreading around the world. Welcome to the podcast, Jane!
Minutes 29:1500 to 2:00
Intro2:00 to 5:15
Start From Where You AreOne fine day I will get to Scotland to spend time hiking and trekking. If I met up with you on one of your favourite walks, what’s the first thing I’d notice about you?
Jane’s energy, passion and honesty.
It seems to be who she is!
No matter where she is and the topic she’s talking about that’s what she brings to it. And if we had some time to walk along together what might I get to know about you?
On the outside Jane looks pretty ordinary and normal, but on the inside is different and had unusual life in many respects. A bit of a teaser.
When we parted ways what would I remember about walking with you?
How the host felt How we make people feel is what we remember
Remember the walk as nourishing and fun and learning and excited to return to our lives
Host recalls how wonderful it would be to live next door to Jane and inspire each otherLet’s try and inspire the world here!
5:15 to 7:50
Professional Life Experiences Unexpectedly Set Stage for Current RoleWe all have a back story. Before we get to the very BIG story of Before I Go Solutions, I have a question: Those who have listened to your TEDx talk or heard your recent interview with Tara Nash on her Conscious Grief series might be aware of what started you on the road to Before I Go Solutions.
Before we get to that story I’d like to know a bit about your own growth and learning and how it prepared for your current work:Had been an award-winning counselor and coach for over 25 years, having originally trained personally with the famous Louise L. Hay in 1990, working in the personal growth
Was helping small business owners to reach their full potential when Philip died.
Jane says past didn’t really prepare her for current work; other than saying when she looked back and learned that everything done before prepared for today.
Always interested in behind the scenesAt age 16 Jane wanted to study psychology to learn how human minds work which isn’t what she learned at university; but it is the beginning of formal behind-the-scenes learning
Also interested in how businesses worked; Jane brings that to the present day in end-of-life planning facilitation training.
Loved Louise Hay for the fantastic blend of spiritual and practical; Jane has that spiritual connection to Life and being in Life which translates into a practical way that is joy in purposeJane inspires others from a bedrock of loving what she does that is also practical and helpful to people
7:50 to 12:15
Preparing for the Expected
Which brings us nicely to the next chapter.
You’ve written and spoken that because of questions your husband Phillip answered in his last year you were prepared for some things, but not all things.
Would you share with us a bit of the story about the unexpected diagnosis and preparation for end-of-life; in particular, what you didn’t know about, what you had to decide, both alone and together.
October 2010 Jane’s husband Phillip was diagnosed (out of the blue) with stomach cancer; no reason to suspect anything
Caught early so they had hope it would resolve well and Phillip would recover
After chemotherapy and surgery that was not completely successful they realized they were facing the end
Difficult and made every moment even more precious
They received an email from a mutual friend with a list of questions that Jane ignored, ignore again and then the 3rd time finally looked atTogether Jane and Phillip answered a list of very practical questions (passwords, coffin, body dressing, and so on)
Actually had a “good time doing it, believe it or not!”
Jane recalls that this was like a project; she and Phillip had been good at doing projects together (home renovation, books, etc.)
This felt like they were creating something together even with the reluctance to begin. And the project helped a lot
When Phillip died 4 months later Jane met with funeral director and when asked how the body should be dressed Jane knew what to sayWhat made that lovely?
Phillip had told that her that he wanted to be dressed in his dressing gown which Jane had made for him.
Jane didn’t know: body could be brought home to lie in the house where friends could come to pay respects; didn’t need to get the funeral home involved right away; and so on.What Jane later learned opened up choices
12:15 to 17:00
The Effect of Grief on Loved Ones Who Are Unprepared
Host finds the story remarkable that a friend sent the triggering email.
How did that come to be?
An old friend of Phillip’s was a nurse specialist who was familiar with end-of-life and either prepared or found the questions
Most importantly, the nurse friend had seen the effect on families with these things not being addressed until it is too late
Jane knew it would have been helpful to investigate a crematorium but could not; today she organizes crematorium tours for her clients which is interesting when you are “researching” and there’s a lot to learnIf we want to re-do the kitchen, say we will get bids from 3 contractors, compare and decide whom to go with.
Do we do this with funeral directors? No. Why don’t we do it?
Because at the time we need one we are faced with loss and grief
Shopping around is sensible – before the grief – well in advance of needing it
Host’s personal experience with her mother’s passing and the role of the 7 siblings jumping in to scramble and get ready with the myriad of details when death happened rather quickly.
Versus when her father passed and had a simple pine coffin in mind but still the link to purchase was shared with a friend who was able to track down coffin.
Start to plan now because your loved ones will be in no position to make big decisions at the time. As Host has written, “End-of-life is a GPS for our loved ones.”
17:00 to 19:50
Avoiding Unnecessary Costs
End-of-life decisions can be an enormous expense or not, depending on so many factors
Choices abound if you know about them ahead of time
Do the researchYou don’t need a funeral at all; all that’s required is the proper disposal of the body remains
Can easily and appropriately keep costs down if you know
People are unaware of the shocking impact that grief has; even when you know that death is imminent and how that translates to your thinking and behaviour which becomes muddled
Unless you’ve had this experience you probably have no clue how you will reactBest advice: have the conversation well beforehand and translate that conversation into writing
19:50 to 22:45
Gifted by Grief
How did your first book, Gifted by Grief come about?
What prompted you to write this book some 3 years after Phillip’s death and what might be the gift in grief?
When Phillip was ill Jane was practicing as a small business coach and writing a blog on the topic of living while a loved one is dyingJane’s writing style is direct and honest: who she is is what you getJane knew one day she would write a story from her view point and Phillip’s; but not right awayJane trusted that she would know what was the right time to write; proceeded to a mind map of the book
It took a few more months before Jane began writing the book and it all poured out in 6 weeks time
Jane’s experience was very cathartic and part of her healing journey
Making the end-of-life experience a proper book was the way to honour Phillip, the journey and help other people
22:45 to 25:40
What Followed Gifted by Grief
Following the book Jane offered small workshops to those who wanted to work on griefJane was shocked to learn that the chapter on The Questions was a popular and necessary topic
Where your Life walks you is how Jane felt: maybe I should show these folks what to do
A waiting list appeared which said, “Something’s here.”
Jane believed she was being shown what to do, knew how to take training on line“
It was just me doing this.”
Jane came to understand she needed to create a not-for-profit enterprise with a name, directors and such ‘Before I Go Solutions’ name came easily to Jane; “just popped into my head.”
The enterprise grew as Jane followed energies and impulses
Jane keeps checking in to ask if this is what she should be doing and the answer is still a big “Yes!”
25:40 to 29:15
Frustrations, Challenges and Return Next Week for Part 2
We hope you enjoyed and are motivated by our end-of-life planning conversation. We’ll be back in a week with Part 2.