I specialize in advance care planning, patient literacy and advocacy, non-medical support of the dying, pregnancy loss support, home funerals, and green burials. End of Life Specialist is so much more than a title, it is truly my calling in life. As death and dying begin to transition out of the medical realm, there are many new options for people at the end of life. This includes caring for dying loved ones at home and caring for the bodies of our loved ones ourselves after they have died. Along with these changes, comes an increased willingness to think about, talk about, and even plan the way we would like to die when the time comes.
I help facilitate a Death Cafe in my community. Each month I go to Death Cafe, I share my own thoughts and feelings about death and dying and hold space for others doing the same. Over the last three years, this has led to my own understanding about death and dying to evolve, broadening and deepening beyond my original comfort zone. Now, I feel confident in being able to meet almost any perspective of death, dying, and the afterlife with a curious heart and an open mind. I have trained as an advanced care planning facilitator. I focus on helping people identify the values that will guide them and their health care proxies in making decisions beyond simply listing what type of care they wish to receive. Additionally, I help ensure that information is shared and respected. I am here to help people feel comfortable with communicating with medical professional and advocating for their needs by guiding them through what it takes to be an informed and empowered patient.
For over 3 years, I’ve served as a hospice volunteer, sitting with over a dozen people as they near the end of their lives. Sometimes this involves sitting vigil beside people in their final hours. I’ve held space as these people process their regrets and triumphs, hopes and fears. I’ve learned life stories and long-held secrets, read Harry Potter and The Book of Mormon, shared jokes, hugs, tears, and moments of profound silence. Some of the people I’ve sat with have been unable to communicate verbally and I’ve learned just how much can be communicated through eye contact, body language, and intuition. I’ve connected with family members answering questions from “Is this normal?” to “What do I do?” These experiences and my training allow me to provide spiritual, powerful, and emotional support for those who are dying and their caregivers. This is called being an end-of-life doula or death midwife. I can support people of all ages including women who are experiencing pregnancy loss. I help people plan their own funerals. I am trained in the legal, practical, and spiritual aspects of having a home funeral in any state in the U.S. I am proud to offer my services as a home funeral guide for families who wish to have something different than a mainstream commercial funeral, including preparing the body at home, home memorial services, and green burial.
Certified End-of-Life Doula