Susan’s Story

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Susan Blackwood


For many years I sensed  that I was being drawn to working with the dying, their family, their support people and the rest of their community. The voice of the calling got louder after the death of my parents. As I lived in the same town as them, I took on many of the hands-on roles that are involved with ageing parents.  I was their Medical Representative, held their Power of Attorney and was the Executor of their estate. I stepped in as they required more and more assistance in day to day activities and became the person who made end-of-life (EOL) choices for them. After they died, my siblings and I organized their funerals. At the time there were very few options around services and ceremonies; they would not have been happy with what we felt was our only choice.    As I walked this road with my parents, I lived day to day with what helped, what did not and what would have made the transition easier. I did not really understand what I was agreeing to as I signed their EOL paperwork. The experience deeply impacted me and changed the course of my life.


My personal journey has shaped how and what I offer to EOL clients.  Over a 25-year span I have, on three separate occasions, suffered compression fractures in 7 of my vertebrae.  Each time it has taken years to recover with physical limitations, exhaustion, emotional upheaval and spiritual questioning (why me?).  I personally know what it is like to lose the ability to do the things it takes to live; to have my liberty taken away and to have to rely on others.  It is challenging to face a changing reality from what was to what is happening right now.

After my first injury, I started a journey of self-investigation of who and what I was. I explored this from an energetic perspective, taking on many of the eastern philosophies of chakras, auras and meridians.  I studied and certified in several alternative-healing modalities based on humans as energetic beings.   I practised as an Alternative Practitioner with a company I started, Pathways, based on the philosophy that we are all connected and everything has an impact on us, it is sacred.


Concurrently, I started to explore Spiritual Direction with the Vancouver School of Theology.  This was not based on religion but on spiritual awareness.  I went on to study at the University of Sedona where I received a Bachelor of Metaphysics.  I became a Reverend with the Canadian International Metaphysical Ministry. (CIMM).  I am registered through them with Vital Statistics. I currently offer spiritual counselling for EOL clients.


My next step was to become a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant with Celebrant Foundation and Institute out of New Jersey, USA. It was exciting work being able to help individuals, couples, families and communities mark the benchmarks and transitions in their life with ceremonies.  These included marriages, funerals, life celebrations, interment and burial rites, EOL transitional rites, personal ceremony. Developing Ceremonies by Design, I specialized in creating unique ceremonies that deeply honour and respect a client’s beliefs and values, I take my cues from them. I have always felt grateful to my clients for allowing me to enter into an intimate and sacred time in their lives.

In seeking my life’s answers, I also studied a variety of meditation practices. Eventually, I taught meditation out of a local healing clinic in Qualicum Beach. I developed a love for spending long periods in silence and emptiness. This practice was deepened by attending week-long silent retreats with Spiritual Teacher Adyashanti.

I am a deep listener to what is being said and not being said. ARC bodywork Therapy, Loving Presence and a little bit of Hakomi helped me to hone the skills of compassionate, non-judgmental listening.  I am able to hold the big picture, step out of the emotional quagmire of Life to help navigate the journey in all the forms it takes.

Over a 15-year period, I have studied and completed the four winds medicine wheel, as well as medicine offerings from various teachers.  Each experience helped me to deepen my awareness of all that this moment brings, that life is sacred and interconnected. I have incorporated the teachings into my daily practice.  Creating a safe space to explore who we are in challenging times.

It is a deep calling to service.  One I have tried to deny but it will not deny me.


  • Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant with Celebrant Foundation and Institute,
  • Reverend with CIMM,  
  • Bachelor Metaphysics from University of Sedona
  • In 1990’s obtained Certification in Healing Touch, Therapeutic Touch, Reflexology and ARC Bodywork Therapy.  

Businesses – Entrepreneur

  • Pathways – Qualicum Beach.  Alternative Health Service 1998
  • Ceremonies by Design.  Life Cycle Ceremonies- Victoria 2011