END OF LIFE SERVICES
"The dying process done well, and even with drama, is one of life’s most potent gifts, filled with more growth than we can imagine."
End of Life Services with Taproot Journeys (for animal companion end of life services click here) help you align your emotional concerns about death and dying today with your emotional affairs for tomorrow when you are gone.
Why would anyone want to sit bedside, be a side-by to support the grief process, and deal with death by choice? The short answer is there are so many gifts with grief work and being an End of Life Doula, Coordinator, and Guide.
It is my complete honor to hold space for these transitions and to help you walk through these challenging parts of life with an embrace verses apprehension. Embracing struggle and challenge helps us to align with life. When we can open to all the lessons that come from these rites of passage, we connect further to universal wisdoms understanding that part of life is loss, and death, just as much as it is joy and happiness.
Taproot Journeys is part of the dying well movement helping people be at peace with death before they take off their earth robes.
With death comes grief, the glue of community. "Showing up" in the vulnerability brought to bear by grief is one of the most intimate acts experienced during earthly lives. In the aftermath of a wound, a community grows through a transformative change that binds it together.
And yet, grief is still one of the most difficult and challenging emotions that humans experience. It is a great teacher and a great equalizer. It moves us to knowing and feeling grace and helps us let go of control. The dying process done well, and even with drama, is one of life’s most potent gifts filled with more growth than we can imagine.
All grief counts, all experiences of loss are important to explore and sit with, and the cycle of life and death is important to face into. Rituals and ceremony can help us do this in proactive and healing ways as part of grief recovery. So much of our world is motivated to do things “before we die” and yet the moment of death is often ignored, feared, or dreaded.
WHO AM I?
I am a certified End of Life (EOL) Doula and an Animal Companion EOL Doula through the University of Vermont. I have also taken classes with Sacred Crossings for death midwifery and more.
During the late 90's I began discovering my Celtic/witchy roots by attending full moon gatherings and goddess circles. At the same time, I was working in graduate school exploring ecofeminism (ecofem) and making links between ecofem ideology and pagan practices.
Both honor the earth and all the cycles of life, including death. This way of being comfortable with death was different from how I was raised.
As a part of this work, I started learning about the ways power had been abused (via patriarchy) and practicing experiential rituals/ceremonies to stand in my power or to become empowered to live more fully from my core. This led me to study gender, social movements, cultural studies, and inter-natural communication while working on my Ph.D. in Communication Studies.
“Grief expressed out loud for someone we have lost, or a country or home we have lost, is in itself the greatest praise we could ever give them. Grief is praise, because it is the natural way love honors what it misses.” –Martín Prechtel
As a Communication Studies professor we teach various “generalist” subjects. Since 1997 I've had the honor of teaching Interpersonal Communication. Part of teaching this class includes units on emotions, conflict, intercultural communication, and all aspects of being in-relation with others. In short, this class covers all the material you need to be competent when dealing with challenging situations in your life. When I teach the emotions unit, I focus on grief work because it is so neglected in US American culture.
Additionally, as a scholar writing about inter-natural communication (communication between humans and more-than-humans) and environmental studies I have been watching closely the death of ecosystems and the consequences of human-made climate change for the last twenty years. The combination of these studies and my pagan earth-based practices led me to see grief and death in a new, more cyclical way.
In 2018 I completed a Shamanic Ministerial training with Venus Rising Association for Transformation where we enacted our own death and memorial through a symbolic burial and eulogy ceremony. This was an amazing and transformational expereince. I learned that “grief is praise” for a life well lived and this understanding changed my view about the loss of a loved one forever. I resonate with the idea that our tears can be seen as food for our beloveds as they make their transition.
Along with honoring the cycle of death comes a focus on grief work during and at the end of our lives. I have come to learn that we cannot experience joy without doing our grief work. A teacher in my End of Life Doula program, Colleen Wright, taught us that “grief is what we think and feel inside; mourning is our outward expression of grief.” I have been trained in Shamanic Breathwork and Breathwork Metamorphosis and find these to be great activators for mourning and grieving.
We need to do more outward mourning in our culture, taking notice of other places in the world that do openly mourn without stigma. Breathwork is a tool I use in my practice to help activate our grief so we can see the gifts that come from being in the emotional processes of living life.
Ultimately, I feel that death is illuminating and teaches us so much. I feel many contemporary societies need to switch the paradigm from a death-phobic culture and into one that honors the ending of life just as we do the beginning. Death Doulas, Death Midwives, End of Life Coordinators and so forth can be there to help with all of this striving to make death a beautiful part of life.
I am dedicated to creating conscious community through mindfulness and embracing death is part of the shift to this consciousness. My passion lies in creating spaces for organizations, communities, and individuals to explore what is not necessarily easy but has great reward and gifts from showing up for the journey in a healthy and beautiful way.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
"My experience with Madrone was educational, experiential, and exceptional. The insights that I’m taking away are that I am courageous, and open to insight and change. Thank you for providing a safe and welcoming space to explore and journey within!”
END OF LIFE SERVICES & OFFERINGS
My goal is to help you feel comfortable as you go through the rite of passage that is death and dying. Together we can ease your fear of the unknown related to your death or the death of a loved one. Part of this is early preparation through death intention worksheets, legacy projects, life story video projects and more.
These projects can take on many different forms and will be co-created between the EOL coordinator and the client. We plan so much in our lives (vacations, dinner, work etc.) but rarely do we plan for our death. Often, we get our financial affairs in order but skip the emotional planning. Imagine for a minute how much the emotional aspect of planning for your loved ones after you have gone could help them with their grief process. We need to prepare both. Being able to talk about our death is not just for the dying person but for the whole family.
It is helpful to do this emotional planning with a skilled guide who is not part of your family. This is where an EOL Coordinator helps.
This legacy project would most commonly be a guided process helping you plan for your death (e.g., advanced directives for conscious dying, what you wish to do with your remains, what you would like at your memorial service and more).
A life story is a beautiful keepsake for your loved ones to have after you have gone. It is a co-creative process discussed with the client and the EOL Doula and could come in many different forms depending on what you would like to gift to your beloveds after you are gone.
Most commonly this would consist of a series of interview-like questions that you write or that we can record. This is something those who survive you can have and cherish after you have crossed over.
PRESENTATIONS AND WORKSHOPS
End of Life Elemental Series: Coming Soon!
This series takes an elemental walk through the seasons and the elements of each (earth, air, fire, water) exploring the gifts of each that may not be wrapped up all pretty, but that are life changing.
I am also available to co-create short workshops or longer multi-part classes about grief and loss as it relates to your desired need. For example, loss of our companion animals, ambiguous loss and/or stigmatized loss.
Training and Consulting
I am available to speak and lead workshops for your family, group, business, or organization. Reach out to me here so we can work together to customize an experience for you and your participants.
GENERAL END OF LIFE DOULA SERVICES
These services may include:
Ceremony planning for before a person dies. For example, a ceremony or gathering to gift your jewelry to your friends and family.
Coordination activities with friends and family members
Greif support and processing for family, intentional family, and friends
Funeral and memorial support
In person services in the Northern Arizona area. Taproot Journeys also offers virtual support to clients everywhere.
Certified End of Life (EOL) Doula and Animal Companion EOL Doula