In the fall I attended Blissdom Canada. It was a conference I was fortunate to attend given that I didn’t intend to go originally. I stumbled upon a sell off ticket while attending She’s Connected, another fabulous blogging conference for digital women. I really can’t say enough about either one of the conferences. Both distinct and both worthwhile. But for me, Blissdom Canada represented a huge commitment. A leap of faith, an investment in me and a vote to keep moving forward. A turning point. The summer of 2011 had been a challenging one. My mother deteriorated rapidly in the summer and my brother and I were gobsmacked when she ended up in a Guelph emergency room. Suddenly, we had to become her power of attorney, her health counsel and a physical and mental support. Our families are young and we were all plunged headlong into the deep end of the pool struggling to keep ourselves afloat while making decisions for our mother.My father has not been in our lives for decades now. We learned that summer of Alzheimer’s and dementia and health care and substitute decisions and form 1, 2 and 3 and psychiatric care. We had front row seats while trying to raise young families and deciding if, in fact, one of our homes could be adapted for an aging parent whose balance was beginning to fail and whose judgment was impaired. After months of visiting our mother in and out of hospital – mostly in, I was invited to be part of the second Shes Connected conference and the opportunity to be there reminded me of prospects and possibilities that did not stand still just because our lives were careening out of control. The spark was ignited. So when I discovered a ticket for sale to Blissdom, I jumped.
A brief three weeks later and I was there attending the conference, mingling and meeting so many brilliant and beautiful business women, savvy bloggers, writers I admire. People I have corresponded with for months on twitter. I shared a cab with witty @scarbiedoll, met the incredible writer Ann Douglas, a person I adored as much after meeting, as I did before, attended a swanky CBC event and mingled my little heart out while finally getting to meet in person @AureliaCotta, otherwise known as Maureen, an incredible person who tweeted her support to me all summer as we plodded along trying to navigate cold systems that seemed to fail our family. Blissdom was an event I would do over in a heartbeat. I know now why people line up with their credit cards and wait for the release of the tickets. The event is so worthwhile that it is hard to sum up in a few short paragraphs.
While there Jennifer Reynolds, editor in chief of Canadian Family, issued a challenge. Write about finding your Bliss. While I didn’t win, I wrote about our summer. I was nominated for a Reader’s Choice Award. My story Detour is here. If you know someone caring for a senior, or if your life has been touched by Alzheimer’s Disease of dementia, then please take a minute to vote. Thanks! Just click on the link below or the button above and vote for Detour, by Paula Schuck. Thanks for the vote. Thanks for taking time to read and I hope to meet many of you next year at Blissdom Canada.