Michelle McFadyen is a real warrior.
With ancestral roots in the Nordic and Viking cultures, she epitomizes the Warrior Goddess, in these images and in life. Michelle is a writer, an adventurer, a corporate executive, a strengths and conflict coach, a storyteller and founder of Life Support and Life’s Last Wishes.
Alongside a business degree, and all the other qualifications you’d expect with a professional career,
Michelle is a qualified Counselor, and a Positive Psychology Practitioner. She is also an accredited Strengths Profile Practitioner for both individuals and teams, and a trained Conflict Management Coach.
Alongside a business degree, and all the other
qualifications you’d expect with a professional career,
Michelle is a qualified Counselor, and a Positive
Psychology Practitioner. She is also an
accredited Strengths Profile Practitioner for both
individuals and teams, and a trained
Conflict Management Coach.
Michelle adventures whenever she can; she loves trekking and to honour this she
annually guides groups across the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, she has summited Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mt Kinabalu in Borneo and trekked to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. A 920km solo pilgrimage across Spain on foot kept those fires alive along with a trek along the Kumado Kodo in Japan.
Recently Michelle launched a project she’s been working on for a few years, Life’s Last Wishes, one that came about through grief and despair, and through her survival of the 2015 Nepal Earthquake that killed almost 9,000 people.
You can read about the earthquake and her other adventures on her blog at: www.lifesupportaustralia.com
Tell us about Life’s Last Wishes
Life’s Last Wishes is really a passion project of mine. I’ve been working on it since my Dad died and, to be honest, more fervently since I survived a devastating earthquake in Nepal a few years ago. One of the hardest things I found when Dad died, was not having an understanding of what his last wishes were. I know for many of us, me included, talking about our own and our loved ones death is uncomfortable, to put it mildly. So uncomfortable, that mostly I’d always ignored it. But I can say for sure, it’s not as uncomfortable as sitting deep in my grief and having a thousand questions fired at me when my brain was mush and my heart was broken. When I was in my most vulnerable state, crying, sobbing and barely recognising myself, let alone others, and still….having to come up with responses to questions I didn’t, and never will, know the right answer to.
That’s what it felt like when Dad died.
So, he died, and sobbing, grieving, barely functioning – I, along with my siblings, were faced with question after question. Bury or cremate, church or not, private or open, what type of coffin, readings at the service, who would do the eulogy, what music would he like played …this list went on and on. Where was his will? Who did he bank with? Who was he – at his core? What did he value most? If he had the chance to leave me a message, his life learnings – what would they be?
Did we get it right? We will never know because well….we will never know. And that eats at me still to this day. So it was after this experience I vowed never to put my loved ones in the position I was in. I remember on the way home from the funeral, scribbling my wishes on a piece of paper. When I got home, I opened my computer and started, in a very disorganised manner, to write down everything I wished for as my last wishes.
It became a large document over time and, in a way, to leave my own legacy, I developed from those scribbles, this gift called Life’s Last Wishes. It’s taken me a few years, and I’m really proud of it.
What is it?
There’s plenty of information on the website but in essence, it’s a customisable online product that will guide you through a process of considering and documenting your last wishes. It allows you to document information around your wishes in regard to your funeral and end of life ceremony. It includes sections for your wishes around your eulogy, burial, memories you want to leave with others, a few of your favourite things, social media and email account instructions, and much more.
Life’s Last Wishes also offers you the opportunity to share your life’s lessons, your values, thoughts, hopes and dreams with your loved ones. It’s your legacy. It’s about how you’d like to be remembered. You can even record messages to loved ones – and if you want – go out with a bang and provide a video message to be played at your service (look out for mine at my funeral). Or you can do the basics – it is entirely up to you. What I do know for sure – is that every decision we make now, relieves our loved ones of having to guess – and trust me – that guessing in the midst of grief – is a tough place to be.
How does it work?
Well it’s online and it’s simple. I’ve kept the costs low because this is so important, and there are no ongoing hosting fees or hidden extras. You sign up for $67AUD and then get 60 days to work your way through it. You can go in and out as much as you please during that time to complete it and at the end, you get a beautiful document that you can then save and share as you wish. You can also come back in a year, 5 years, whenever you like, and for $30AUD, get another 30 days access to your data to update as you wish.So this is your legacy – something you’re providing in to the world – based on your own experiences? Yes. I want to share Life’s Last Wishes with the world – because I never want to see anyone, in their grieving, have to go through what I did when Dad died. And, to be sure, I think it’s pretty cool to stop and contemplate – what is it I would like once I’m not here anymore – how do I want to be remembered, what do I want my service to look like? What messages do I want to share with my loved ones?
There isn’t much I know for sure, except that we’re all going to die and we are all going to leave behind people who love us. My wish is to not make that grief any worse by leaving them with the burden of having to make copious amounts of decisions about what we might have wished for. Instead, I created Life’s Last Wishes. I created it for me, and I created it for you and the people who love us.
It’s my living wish that Life’s Last Wishes will provide a vehicle to open up conversations with loved ones, provide an avenue for self-reflection, and help you and others to leave a legacy. It is really the greatest gift you can give yourself and your loved ones.
Where can we find out more?
You can go to the website www.lifeslastwishes.com and you can find me on Facebook and Instagram at Life’s Last Wishes.