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Training and Education

2018 Certificate in Thanatology
Association of Death Education and Counseling

2017 Certificate in Integrative Thanatology
Art of Dying Institute

2017 Death and Mourning Doula Certification
Momdoulary Method, LLC

2010 M.F.A. Electronic Arts
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

2001 M.A. Public History
Temple University

1998 Summer Seminar
Columbia Oral History Research Office

1991 B.A. History
University of Wisconsin-Madison

I trained to be a death educator and end-of-life doula with leaders in these emerging fields, including Frank Ostaseski, Leslie Blackhall, Laura Saba, Simcha Rafael, Jeanne Denney, and Henry Felsko-Weiss.

My commitment to this work is the culmination of twenty-five years of experiential learning and interdisciplinary studies. The term "death jewel" is borrowed from Janet Frame, and used here to honor my deceased teachers whom I carry with me. (see death jewels)

In 1994 my great aunt, Gladys Natchez, bought me an audio recorder so that I could interview her about her life.  Gladys reviewed her life, planned a memorial celebration, and said goodbye to her beloveds before she died. Since witnessing Gladys' journey, I have earned two masters degrees; one in public history (oral history) and one in electronic arts.  I have worked with people of all ages and heard their stories about illness, death, and loss.  As a teacher, consultant and artist I work with people of all ages, exploring both dreams and fears related to death.  My experiences convince me that these conversations enhance all chapters of life, including death.

In 2001 I moved in with my grandmother to become her primary care provider during the last month of her life. I have never experienced anything more meaningful than being with Leonore as she died. I became a hospice volunteer in 2005, and I have since sat with dozens of people in their final days. I have witnessed beautiful and devastating deaths as a volunteer, friend, granddaughter and niece. I know, from experience and study that death and grief can expand capacity for connection, inter-dependence, and compassion. When we are able to show up, despite our fears, we honor the lives of those we love and become more awake in our own humanity.

 

Affiliations

Association for Death Education Counseling (ADEC)
Funeral Consumers Alliance
Art of Dying Threshold Circle
National Home Funeral Alliance
International End-of-Life Doula Association (INELDA)
Lifespan Doula Association
Hospice of the Fisher Home

 

Death Jewel Radio --more episodes can be found here