It's been over a year since my Nana's passing, yet Shannon has me opening up and sharing my experience over a coffee at Mug Shots. Both of us in tears. And immediately I feel grateful for the new services she is bringing to town, as I know it will help many families going through this experience immensely.
Shannon Takacs is a woman of many trades. When she first arrived in Fernie 12 years ago she worked in residential care and home support, as well as a rehabilitation assistant. She then made the move to working at the Coal Mine, “to afford real estate,” she says. The next move was to start her own business, Find it in Fernie, a concierge and property management company. On top of this, she is a wedding commissioner, “for shits and giggles.”
Recently, a close girlfriend of hers read the article “The Ride of the Death Doula” printed in Maclean’s magazine, and immediately thought of Shannon.
“I have dealt with a lot of death throughout my life,” she says. “When I was 24, my 25 year old brother died suddenly in a car accident. To watch my parents, brother, and my dead brother’s girlfriend go through that loss was… educational.” Throughout her 20’s, Shannon lost additional family members and friends and has since always been drawn to people going through these types of losses as she can truly empathize with them.
The more Shannon learned about Death Doulas, the more she realized how well it suited her. She attended an educational workshop held in Calgary, and although nervous and unsure, she quickly realized she was where she was meant to be. “From the Friday night talk, I was like… I am with my people.” From learning more about the industry and the legal side of it all, to being walked through the emotional aspects of death and the physical care of the body, Shannon gained a wealth of knowledge and team of experts to help support her in this journey.
As a Death Doula, Shannon can support a family and individual any time prior to someone dying. “It could be a year, two months, or a few days,” she says. And help them make their way through the post care after a loved one has died. “What’s more sad to me is when people don’t process the grief and their hearts change,” Shannon says, adding that taking a body immediately away after a person has passed is so unnatural for grief. “By slowing down death and offering more time together at home, people can process death in a more natural time frame.”
Last month, Shannon hosted her first Death Café at the Castle on First. “It’s a safe space for people to come and talk about death,” she says, adding that she had a great turnout and even cupcakes so is looking forward to hosting more in our community. “Part of my passion is grief related, and the other part is to get people talking. Even as you are talking about your experience, you are healing yourself.” And I can attest to that. After speaking with Shannon, I felt as though a small weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
Shannon’s next steps involve getting the word out so she can reach as many people as possible, and creating working relationships with everyone that is part of the chain in healthcare.
“I want to create a really loving experience of death for all of the people that are left behind.”
1. When did you first arrive in Fernie and what brought you here? 2005, a business opportunity. I wanted to do something in tourism.
2. Where did you first live in town? The Pinnacle Ridge condos.
3. What was your first impression? Beautiful.
4. What keeps you in Fernie? The outdoor lifestyle.
5. Do you have a favourite Fernie memory? Wow, so many. The first time I floated the river with Canyon Raft definitely stands out.
6. What is your favourite time of the year in Fernie and why? Summer, because I love wearing flip-flops and I love golf, followed by a cold beer.
7. Where do you see Fernie in 5 to 10 years? As beautiful as it always has been.
8. How do you start your day or what is one of your daily rituals? Cuddles with Winnie Winnie Winston (my cat) and a cup of tea.
9. Tell us something people might be surprised to learn about you. I want to play trumpet in Harry Connick Jr.’s big band.
10. Quote to live by: I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. ~Albert Einstein