I believe that every human being has this one thing in common: we all die.
I believe each of us finds our own way of approaching death and all paths are equally important.
I believe that how we meet our death is up to us and our decisions should be honored.
I believe that each of us has a story and that our stories are worth telling.
What I do
I help you find your way.
Not sure where to start? First, we sit down and get to know each other. I find out where you are now and which direction you are headed. I give you a safe space to talk about your hopes and fears about death. I help you talk your family and friends about your wishes. I guide you through end-of-life decisions like advanced directives, getting your affairs in order and considering funeral options. I assist you in pre-planning your funeral, writing your obituary and choosing where you want your body to rest.
I help you meet the end.
When the time comes, I give compassionate, hands-on support during the dying process. I advocate for your decisions about end-of-life care. I assist your family and your friends to carry out your wishes. I collaborate with your caregivers to make you comfortable. I provide grief support for you and your loved ones. I lead your loved ones through the complicated process of planning a funeral. I arrange all aspects of a home funeral if you choose to have one. I connect your loved ones to resources they might need.
I help you tell your story.
After you’ve gone, I help tell your story. If you meet with me while you are “finding your way”, we can create a ceremony with all the features that are meaningful to you. If not, I go through this process with your loved ones. I get to know you by listening to your story and asking questions about your life. I find out what music you love, what readings move you, which traditions you have. I talk with family and friends to fill in the blanks. I take those elements and design a ceremony that tells your story and honors your life. If you want, I can perform this ceremony as well.
My education and experience
I earned an undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology and a graduate degree in Public Health. I researched disability and health for several years before shifting my focus to end-of-life issues. As a volunteer with The Dougy Center, Housecall Providers, OHSU’s Being There Program and PDX Death Café, I have worked with people who are confronting death and dying, often for the first time.
I also contribute to Departing Decisions and serve on the program committee for the 2015 Festival of Life and Death. I am an apprentice Death Midwife, I am a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® focusing on funeral ceremonies and I am a Home Funeral Guide. My special interests include deaths from suicide; atheist/agnostic/humanist ceremonies; and funerals for the animals in our lives. I live in a little house with a big garden in Portland, with my sweetie Gil and my puppy dogs Rosebud and Bluebell.