I started this blog not long after I was diagnosed with advanced terminal cancer. I’m not sure how long I have to live–already I’ve outlived my lower expectations–but while I’m here I want to share this process of dying in the most positive way I can. I believe it’s important to talk about death and dying in this society that tries so hard to avoid it; I believe that this can reduce our fear and anxiety and potentially transform death (depending on the circumstances) into a beautiful and meaningful experience for the dying person and her loved ones.
Originally, I was writing this simply as facebook posts for concerned friends. I wanted them to know that I wasn’t suffering in despair the way they might be imagining. But my posts were long, and there were requests to gather them together. A blog seemed more readable. Since then, many people I don’t know have started reading my posts. I am so glad that my words are facilitating a conversation about death and helping people find something more than distress in this one inevitable moment we all have to face.
Before I got sick this year, I was a college English teacher and researcher in Montreal. You can find my informal pedagogical research portfolio here in Susan’s teaching blog. I was also leading a federally funded research project into Indigenous students’ stories about post-secondary education. It was inspiring work and kept me very busy!
I am also a writer and poet. You can find some interviews and reviews of my book The Crow’s Vow here: The Crow’s Vow. (I haven’t updated that blog in quite a long time.)
I have two wonderful sons, Nathan (19) and Oliver (23). Nathan has just graduated from the National Circus School’s college program as a flyer in a duo, Max & Briscoe. Most impressively, he overcame severe addiction to achieve this goal. You can see some of his acrobatics (he is crazy strong!) here: Nathan’s instagram. After a stint working in video game design (he worked on the latest Deus Ex), Oliver is almost finished a degree in computer science and has his sights set on graduate research in artificial intelligence. He always impresses me with his multi-faceted creativity and wisdom.
My sweet boyfriend Roy Cross is a professor of film production at Concordia University in Montreal. We’ve been together five years. He’s been amazing through all this! He’s also a great writer and has started his own blog about life with a dying girlfriend: And sometimes it goes the other way.
As you can see, I was greatly blessed in this life. It’s a lot to give up, but also a lot to be grateful for.