Hospice New Zealand

Speaker spotlight - Lucy Hone

Ahead of Conf 2018 we had a chat with Lucy about her keynote session.  This is what she shared with us. 

What does the concept of resilience mean to you when thinking death and dying?

Resilience relies substantially on our ability to focus our attention on the things we can change and accept the things that we cannot. Nowhere in the Lucy Hone.jpgresilience literature does it suggest that we ‘harden up’ or avoid negative emotions; a resilient person experiences all emotions, they just don’t get stuck in one emotion over and over again. I’ve experienced a fair bit of death and other types of loss in my life, and each time it is my capacity for resilience that enables me to think and say to myself, “Okay, this is what’s happened now, wow, we weren’t expecting that. But that’s how it is, so let’s find a way to navigate this, do the best we can to keep on going and work out how we can adapt to that new ‘new normal’.”

We can’t avoid experiencing death in our lives – be it unexpected or anticipated through illness, from your area of expertise are their common factors which influence how people approach grief?

Everybody approaches grief differently. However, for too long bereavement research focused on those people experiencing what psychologists refer to as “complicated grief”, with participants very often enrolled in a study because they were experiencing complicated grief. This gave us a false picture of bereavement, making it look like most people were experiencing protracted dysfunctioning when, in fact we now know that most people demonstrate resilience, adapting to their loss without the need for medical intervention, in a healthy way.

Thinking about your presentation: can you give us a high level summary of what you will be sharing with delegates, what can they expect to hear from your session? My presentation fuses what I know from resilience research (my work as an academic researcher) with what I have learned through personal experience of traumatic loss. I plan to share with the audience the every day processes that helped me adjust to life without Abi: the ways of thinking and acting that helped me cope, and the things that I found made that process harder. All of the strategies and tools covered in my session are backed by evidence, but also sufficiently practical that I hope those present will be able to immediately draw them into their professional practice and personal lives too.

You may have noticed that our vision is Living Every moment – what does this mean to you? Making life count. Living in a way that makes sense of the opportunity I have been given to liveRegister now 2018.jpg on without those who have left us. This doesn’t mean avoiding pain and misery, but walking into every life experience, understanding that this is all part of my journey. Accepting that and not fighting against it.

Thinking about the contents of your fridge – what are three things we will always find on the shelves? Rosé wine, bacon and butter. Always.


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