December 10, 2019

Well, that was a dark year! (I’m back!)

After a long absence and a very dark year…I’m back. Even with that, I found much strength, joy, and inspiration throughout this challenging last year. In this video, I’d like to share with you the reason for my absence and what I’ve learned because of it.

I want to share with you the journey that I’ve been on for the past year. In November of 2018, I was at my office and I received a phone call from an ambulance driver who told me my ex-husband, Tim, was having heart failure. They were taking him to the hospital. Many of you who have been following my blogs for many years, will know that my husband and I split up over four years ago at that point. But we have remained very, very close friends. I dropped everything and rushed to the hospital. He was having some strange seizures. We didn’t know what was happening. Every time he went into a seizure, I held his hand tightly and I said, “Tim, don’t you leave us. We need you. Don’t you go anywhere.”  I was desperately wanting him to live.

It was terrifying. I asked the doctors if he was having a heart attack and the doctors told me he’s having some signaling issues in the brain. They didn’t know what was happening at this point.

And that’s when I knew.  You see, earlier that year  Tim had been diagnosed with a very small, slow-growing glioma brain tumor in his brain. They did an MRI and sadly the MRI confirmed our worst nightmare, that in fact the tumor was growing. We discovered that it was a highly malignant grade three incurable brain tumor, the type that was also unresponsive to chemotherapy and radiation. When he became too sick to take care of himself, my daughters and I moved him back into my home and we took care of him until he died in August this year.  

So why do I share this with you?

I share this with you to let you know that this is where I’ve been. I have been a caregiver for the past year: taking care of my ex-husband, taking care of my children, and working with friends and family to do the best we could to ensure that Tim’s final months were good ones. It was an important job and I wanted to dedicate myself to that.

What did I learn?

I have learned, over the past number of months, that I have incredible gratitude for the training that I have in positive psychology, which is the scientific study of psychological wellbeing. I really don’t know how people get through life, get through these traumatic events, get through these very challenging, difficult times, get through it all, without the training that I’ve had. I have 10 years of training in mental toughness, training on resilience, training on wellbeing and happiness, and how to stay psychologically healthy, and I still found it incredibly difficult. But I also stayed strong and resilient and was able to feel joy and a great sense of purpose.

Mental Health is important

Recently, I went to a conference on mental health and there was not one moment of discussion about mental health. It was all about mental illness. It was about how do we manage mental illness? How much is mental illness costing us? How do we get access to services for people who are mentally ill? It was all about mental illness, which is good. We want people to be able to get help if they’re mentally ill, but who’s talking about mental wellbeing? Well, that’s what my blog is about. It’s about giving you science-backed information about what keeps us healthy, what keeps us strong, what keeps us resilient, what keeps us joyful, regardless of what is going on in our lives.

I am going to be inviting experts in to do interviews with me that I’m really excited about.

I will be talking about how to take all of this great knowledge and research and apply it within a workplace to create flourishing workplaces.

I will talk to parents about parenting strategies for how you can help your children.

And I’m going to of course be talking about how you can incorporate a lot of this science and research into keeping yourself healthy, and whole, no matter what is going on in your life.

I am so happy to be back. I am thrilled. I would love to hear from you if you have ideas or topics you would like me to explore.

Happy holidays, everybody, and enjoy your time with your friends and your family! I hope 2020 is your best year ever! 

Comments 20

  1. Glad to see your back and my sincere condolences for your loss. You may remember me by Gail Pierre-Jerome. We worked together briefly. I am divorced now and have found love again. I love this topic and am looking forward to receiving more information in this. All the best and happy holidays to you and your family as well.

    1. Of course I remember you Gail! Thank you for your kind words. I am sorry about the divorce, but very happy you have found love again! I am going to focus my future blogs on this topic. Stay tuned. Stay well!

      1. Louisa, I cannot imagine how hard it has been. You have taught me great things and I am happy to have you Iand learn from you and your experiences. I would love to know more about resilience and exercises that can help keep good mental health through tough times specially with terminal diseases. Welcome back!

    1. Thank you Noel! What a great article. I agree with #9. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “No mud, no lotus.” The lotus flower is one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, and yet it grows in the grossest muck. I have found that going through suffering allows me to grow in compassion for others, which brings me greater joy and happiness in my life. It was a privilege and an honor to help my ex-husband. I have been transformed. Stay well Noel and happy holidays!

  2. Thanks for sharing. Such as the challenges in our lives. Caring for others can be a monumental task. It is heart warming to know you were there when the need was so great. We are one; what you have done benefits us all.
    Looking forward to hearing from you and your guests in the new year. All the best to you and your family and friends.

  3. Dear Louisa,
    Welcome back!
    I am sorry to hear about your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family in this very difficult time of grief.

    Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy Holiday and New Year 2020!


    1. Thank you so much Roma. I also wish you and your family all the very best for the holidays and may 2020 be your best year ever.

  4. I’m so sorry to learn about this Louisa. I can’t imagine just how it felt, but I do know that your strength, knowledge, and love prepared you to be a wonderful caretaker. My experience with my Mom’s death showed me that the transition out of this world does not have to be purely sad and scary. It can be a powerful time of connection and love too. I hope that was the case for you and your family.
    I’m glad you’re back.

    1. Thank you so much Dan. Yes, I agree. It was a powerful time of connection, love and a lot of laughter. It is all those things that get us through. I hope you are doing well. I hope you have a lovely holiday!

  5. My Dear Louisa,

    It’s wonderful to be hearing from you again after such trying times. You have been in my thoughts.

    All of my experiences with you have been full of positivity – Your energy and warmth defined who you were and obviously, who you are.

    Personally, I have felt the weight of tragic loss and understand all too well how incapacitating and draining it can be.

    Tools that can better equip one to manage through positivity, even if that is all one does is to ‘manage’, are invaluable gifts.

    Much love

    1. Hi Kim,
      Thank you for your kind words. I am sorry to hear you have suffered tragic loss. I hope you are okay. As I share my story, I realize that everyone has a story. I will continue to send out tools and support. I agree, they are very needed. I hope you have a lovely holiday season with your family. Stay well.

  6. Oh Louisa , I’ve been thinking about you and your daughters. It’s so nice to read you, hearing your strength and wisdom shine through. You are the lotus, beautiful inside and out❤️ And such an inspiration to us all. I’m looking forward to your upcoming posts, I miss you !

  7. Louisa,
    Thank you for so bravely sharing. I’m terribly sorry for the struggle of the past months, and your devastating loss. I remember Tim from UTS, and the first CPPA conference, working tirelessly to support you. Your commitment after all that has happened and your clarity is inspiring. I’m sure your girls must be changed by this, and they so fortunate to have you, your wisdom and your modelling at this difficult time.

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