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Serenity Till The Very End

2017. 01. 31.
Anna Jankovich
Anna Jankovich
Coaching Transitions
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(my father in front of our family chapel in Quebec, Canada)

Last week my father passed away in peace and serenity.   He was diagnosed with a rare combination of blood diseases, as well as a heart condition a month ago. Among all the roller-coaster emotions I have felt during this time, the strangest feeling I experienced, after his last breath, was Joy. All I could do was smile and close his eyes…at that very moment.  I was puzzled by my own reaction.

Don’t think for a moment that I was happy he passed away.  On the contrary, as all friends and family know, we were each other’s best friends and very close. Together, we shared everything.  Having left Canada 30 years ago, we worked hard on our relationship.  Skype has been the umbilical cord to my parents so whenever we met up together, there was less pressure to talk all at once. We enjoyed “being in the moment.”  I look forward to continue “being” with my mother as much as I can.

This last week, my inbox was flooded with an unexpected amount of condolences and memory sharing.  In addition, a few emails shared their regrets.  Regrets they had with their own parents around unresolved issues, managing expectations, simply lack of better communication. Till this day, they continue to carry this “bad feeling” with them.

Communication is the #1 issue I come across in all my work, as well as in my own personal life.  All issues no matter what they are, always come down to how we communicate, what is said and especially what is not said.  Good communication is ongoing, hard work. It must not to be taken for granted.  Communication is not easy for everyone but it is a skill that can be learnt, at any age – you have to be open to it.

After the emails and phone calls, I began to understand the reason I was puzzled at the Joy I first felt.  For the past years, my father and I had nothing left hanging, nothing left unsaid and no regrets.  We were completely at peace with each other. Serenity is what we always worked for.  This is the last gift we gave each other.

Now, one week later, I feel the grief, the tears, the emptiness and the sadness which I imagine will last quite a long time.  That gift though…I will cherish forever, with a smile.


What do you regret and can still fix?


Can We Have Some Silence Please?

2016. 11. 01.
Anna Jankovich
Anna Jankovich
Coaching Transitions
0 comment(s)


Communicating with Silence

Last Sunday evening my daughter and I went to the Opera House to watch Spartacus, Katchaturian’s famous ballet.  Towards the end of the first Act, Spartacus and Flavia, his wife, bid farewell to each other in a powerful and emotional scene, like in many ballets.  

However, this farewell was different.  There was silence, dead silence.  The orchestra stopped playing and the audience dove into total and complete stillness.  The only sounds we could hear were the dancer’s ballet shoes softly brushing the floor and the couple’s heavy breathing.  The calmness must have lasted a minute but it seemed much longer.  At first, this silence felt awkward but as it amplified this dramatic farewell, it allowed the audience to process what they were seeing, hearing and feeling.

Silence is a powerful and effective communication tool that can be used both at work and at home, when the timing is right.  It does take some courage to use silence and it’s not always easy to do.  It feels like stepping out of one’s comfort zone.

5 Impacts of Silence:


  • listen better to other people’s ideas or thoughts
  • it stimulates and improves creativity
  • a good stalling device during negotiations (equally applicable with children)
  • mother tongues are not the same for everyone, time is sometimes needed
  • hear the voices of the team/family/friends

In a world where speed seems to be a dominating factor and information is given and received to us by the touch of a finger, the idea of slowing down can be challenging.  Whether you are asking a question to a colleague, want to make an impact in a speech or confront your partner with an issue, allow 15 seconds of silence and notice the impact it has on them and on you.

What do you need to do to keep silent for 15 seconds?