Joy On!

Let’s talk about ‘intentions’ and ‘manifesting’ for a minute.

There are a lot of forums, posts, books, movies, affirmations, classes, master classes, workshops and retreats all about manifesting everything from the love of your life, to abundance, to weight loss, to employment and the list goes on.

I myself designed a 30 day release program to make room for manifesting your desires. It wasn’t a bad thing, but since then I’ve learned a thing or two. It is important to release what no longer serves you, in fact, it is imperative, but there was one component missing.

Joy.

There is a saying, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I have followed this most of my career. When I stopped loving what I was doing, I moved on. I also followed it in my marriage…though, maybe not as soon as I could’ve. I also followed it when considering purchases; if I didn’t LOVE it then I didn’t buy it. If I loved it once and then stopped? I gave it a new home.

So, tell me why I didn’t realize this applied to EVERYTHING in life?

I had an epiphany this week. A little backstory, a few weeks ago I discovered something called Body Groove. If you haven’t heard of it, I HIGHLY recommend looking into it if you are looking for something to change your fitness (physical and emotional) routines. I have tried many things over the years, aerobics, Tae Bo, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, weightlifting, yoga etc. All with the intention to lose weight, or the euphemism, ‘get healthy’. This Body Groove on Demand app comes with a Facebook (support) group. I have never found such a large collective of genuinely supportive women EVER.

As I’ve been Grooving something clicked.

I realized that I have spent the last 30+ years intending and attempting to lose weight. I have done different ways of eating with the intention to lose weight-at least 10. I have done certain exercise programs with the intention to lose weight – at least 10. Nothing EVER helped me lose the weight. I lost weight ONLY when i had to take a medicine who’s side effect was appetite suppressant. THAT is not weight loss success in my opinion.

With each new “intention” was the underlying premise…”This is broken. I’m broken. This will fix me. I’ll be happy then.” Even though I was extremely happy with who I was. I was not extremely happy with what I looked like.

I ‘tried to love my body’ as it was, but because I was so dedicated to clean eating and exercise I confess I was a little pissed off at my body for not responding as I thought/intended it should. The truth is my body may be broken. I took a medication at the age of 24 that seems to have destroyed my endocrine system only no one identified that until decades later. Decades of running on fumes. The damage may be irreparable. I can’t be pissed at my body for being broken if it had nothing to do with it! My body isn’t frail, it was betrayed.

The last few weeks I’ve been contemplating all of this and then it hit me. If you know anything about me, I place a high value on intention. Intention, however, is a tricky thing. The things I have done with the intention to ‘make me money’ haven’t made me money. The things I did with the intention to make ‘this or that’ happen actually didn’t make ‘this or that’ happen.

You know what did? Following my joy.

Following my joy, my passion, my heart…led me to the love of my life.

Following my joy, my passion, my heart…led me to raise a daughter to become someone really special and amazing.

Following my joy, my passion, my heart…led me to retire from a three decade career, move across two states, get married and which led to improving my health by 900%.

Following my joy, my passion, my heart…led me to start a new business.

I realized that my greatest successes have come not from my intention to gain a specific outcome, but from following my passion, my joy, my heart. THIS is the intention I have going into Body Groove. the intention to create more Joy. Body Groove makes me happy. Truly. It is like a drug now and it hasn’t even been that long. But between the dancing, the philosophy and the sisterhood I am witnessing THIS is my joy. Maybe, just MAYBE following my joy to Body Groove will lead to weight loss. But it doesn’t matter. If in 6 months I haven’t lost anything it won’t matter because I will STILL keep dancing. Because that isn’t my intent! My intent is to be joyful!

Joyful leads to successful!

So, if you are asking here, there or just asking yourself if this or that will lead to losing weight (or find love, or make money, or etc.), scrap that crap and ask yourself if what you are doing creates joy for you.

If it doesn’t, then move on and find something that does! But if it does, then by all means joy on!!!

This applies to everything! EVERY THANG!! Apply the intention of joy to every aspect of your life and see what manifests!

394Tammy Hogenauer, Chrissy Prebish Kuchta and 392 others99 CommentsLikeComment

What Is Happening???

In case you’ve asked yourself “What is happening??” There is a current energetic force of purging. This energy is bringing foul things to the surface. It is bringing things up and out for release.

It is showing you who YOU are, who YOU are NOT; as well as who is and who is not your people.

If things have been going awry and you find yourself wondering ‘what is happening?’ or “Why is this happening to me?” This is why! YOU are in alignment and all that is not in alignment with YOU is falling away. It may even be falling away in a rather violent manner.

Stay true to you. Don’t let them change who YOU are. Stay true to YOU. Be YOU. Let them be them and move on. You’re going to see this in people you just meet as well as people you’ve known for years. It will come out of the blue. You are evolving in one direction at great speed and they are evolving in a different direction at likely equal speed. This is not a ‘drifting apart’ kind of situation. This is more like a warp speed ripping a tear in the Universe kinda speed. Like ripping off a band-aid. Ouch.

And like that band-aid you throw it in the trash. You do not go back for it. You do not try to salvage it. You do not try to reuse it. It has served its purpose, so extend gratitude towards it. It served its purpose and now it is done.

Take time to grieve the losses of relationships that were once important to you. Then take a moment to express gratitude for them falling away! Take a moment to express gratitude that YOU are NOT those people!!

Afterwards you might experience some side effects:

  • Lightness in your being.
  • Higher vibration.
  • A humming sensation in your body.
  • Increased self-confidence.
  • Increased general well-being.

Sometimes I like to think of this process like the birthing process. This squeezing through the darkness is like traveling through the birth canal…it is necessary to get to the Light.

A Little Light House Keeping

Hello and thanks for joining me here. My blog is undergoing a bit of revamping, polishing and what I hope is organization!

Thus far this blog has been a documentation of my evolution as an individual, as a writer, but also as a professional. I have embraced various themes over the years with different focus. The thing is they felt like boxes and I don’t fit well into boxes.

So, I’m destroying the boxes and creating an open space where anything goes.

So welcome to The Foul-Mouthed Woman Blog where we will be talking about living, loving, dying, death and grief. I think that covers just about any topic you can think of, right? Well, that’s what I intend to do. You will never know what you find on here.

The Foul-Mouthed Woman and The Death Witch started as a podcasts but ran into some technical difficulties, so I’m going back to my original format. Good ole blogging. I’ll be happy to resume podcasting, because I really enjoyed it, so if anyone out there can help a sister out… Until that time my podcasting is on hold and I’ll be putting all efforts into the blog once again, combining both podcasts.

So, let me know what you think!

Is Death The Meaning of Life?

I was listening to a podcast and heard an end of life doula say something she felt was very profound…that “death is the meaning of life”.


I’ve heard it before. It’s not new. But today was the first day I actually stopped to think about what it meant. And is it true?


Death as The Meaning of Life?


Explain this to me, because I don’t understand how Death is the Meaning of life. Does it really mean death gives life meaning? Cuz that I could KINDA understand. But death AS the meaning of life? No. That doesn’t make sense.


Death is the meaning of life. No, sorry. I don’t think so.


But it is true that life would have no meaning without death. The finiteness of life is what causes us to not take it for granted and when you don’t take something for granted you tend to find meaning in it.


Birth and death act as a container for life. “You have this moment called life and we mark it at birth here and at death here.” Life is not just what happens in between those points, but it includes those points as well.


It is because of that container, that finite space, that as humans we believe we must fill that container with meaning. So in that respect I can see how someone can think that death is the meaning of life. But only if they are talking about death creating the need for meaning in life.


Speaking of Finding Meaning in Life


Here’s one of the most primal existential questions of all…


Where does the need to find meaning in life come from? Why do we as humans feel the need to have our lives make sense? Or to mean something?

We are existential beings. Spiritual beings having the experience of being human. I used to think we were human beings having spiritual experiences, but that shifted as I aged and my perspectives changed.


Because one’s Soul or Spirit is immortal, it makes sense that it is the Soul that has a Human Body not a Human Body that has a Soul. The two together: human body and Soul make up the Human Being. Thus we are Spirit having the experience of being human.


This is where I think the need to find meaning comes.


I think it is the Soul that sets the agenda for the lifetime and it is the Soul that prods and urges the Human Body -cuz the mind is part of the body, right?-to find the meaning in life. It is in the place of meaning that the Human Body intersects and integrates with its Soul.


Now where does the need for meaning in life stem from if one is Humanist for instance? Or Atheist? That is a great question. One I cannot answer since I wear the goggles of Spirituality, so I will open up the floor to any Humanist or Atheist who would like to come on to discuss that very thing. We could do a YouTube interview!


While I think WHERE one surmises the prodding comes from might be different depending on religious, philosophical and cultural views, I think the meaning of life is the same for everyone.

The Meaning of Life According To Me


You all are going to think this is corny as hell and trite and maybe even cliche´ but I’ve thought about this for a very long time.

Death causes us to appreciate Life, by making it limited in time, Death makes Life more valuable. Something to be cherished and embraced. Thus Death gives life meaning, but is not the meaning of life.


The meaning of life is Love.

That’s it. That is the meaning of life…to explore all the aspects and wonders and powers that love holds in its many forms. And it would take several lifetimes to explore all the aspects of love, don’t you think? I mean there are self-love lessons, love of community lessons, romantic love lessons, love of others lessons, love as a healer lessons etc. etc etc

Everything boils down to experiences of love. How to love in the most challenging of circumstances. How to love yourself. How to love someone who’s hurt you. How to love unconditionally.


Love in the face of fear. Love in the face of hate. Love.


The whole point of life is love. To create and develop a life filled with love and then that love multiplies to others.


Love Is Simple But Not Easy


When someone does something unloving towards us, it’s hard to imagine feeling loving towards them. Yet when we are in our pain and we lash out at another, we often want that person to understand where we were coming from. We want them to show us compassion. And compassion is just another word for love.


So, why not start the trend of sending love to someone who has treated you unlovingly? You don’t have to date them. Or even engage with them. All you need do is take a minute to get yourself connected to Source, allow your heart to fill then send the overflow to that person who treated you unlovingly.


You won’t likely know whether or not this affects change in that person, though metaphysically speaking I can tell you a change happens, but a more significant change happens within your own self. It won’t just be a mindset shift, but an energetic shift as well. And what happens when you create an energetic shift is that everything energetic around you is shifted too. It is a true ripple effect because all energy is connected in this Universe. Just like all the water in an ocean is connected.


When you affect one part you are affecting the whole thing.


I lived the first half of my life thinking I needed to earn love. That I needed to do something to deserve it. That I needed to MAKE people love me. And That it was a commodity that could be and would be rationed, doled out, and withdrawn at another’s discretion.


I was a passive participant in love. I begged people to love me and when people loved me whom I didn’t beg, then I didn’t value it. If someone loved me easily, then “It didn’t count”, somehow.
What I now know is love is infinite. Love is abundant and I – yes I in big bold capital letter I- am the Source of it. Love starts with ME. I don’t wait for love to happen, I just love.


Is it easy? NO. I still struggle, for instance, with trying to send love to my ex-husband’s “widow” who married him 21 days before he died with brain cancer, who stole my daughter and step-daughter’s house and inheritance, who tied me up in court for years costing me tens of thousands in legal fees, who hasn’t returned my possessions that my ex was keeping for me, etc… I am still struggling with that. I am angry. I am hurt. But every day that I think about the situation and her I put effort into connecting to Source and sending her love. If I can help her be a better person to someone else down the road then I feel it is my duty.

BUT DAMMIT TO HELL IT IS A CHALLENGE!


The thing is I feel better after spending that time sending her love, than I do when I spent the same amount of time stewing and cursing her existence. I feel better. Again, capital bold face I.
Know what else happened? When I started doing that, I stopped thinking about her and the situation every day. Now it can actually be a month before I think about the things she stole from me and my family.

Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places


I wasted so much time, looking for love in all the wrong places. Searching for it in the eyes of men, of my family members, of my friends, of my elders. Always seeking for it outside myself.
What I found instead was a lot of rejection. I was basing my value on how many people really loved me, but because I kept associating with people who treated love as a commodity I never experienced real love at all. And instead of looking at those people as the reason they didn’t love me, I deemed myself unloveable for many years.


This self-imposed unloveable label only served to further drive home the narrative that I was incomplete, inept and ineligible for love. And that energy kept drawing more of those same kind of people to me. And it kept me in a loveless marriage. After all, if I could just fix myself to be lovable then all the pieces that I had gathered would suddenly fall into place.


Instead, I had to realize that I had collected pieces that weren’t even part of the puzzle I was putting together. It was never going to work with those pieces.


Loving myself enough to start over, start from scratch and start with me, made all the difference in the world. That’s when life started changing. First just the way I saw things changed, then I changed, and then slowly, one by one, things in my life started changing.


Death Creates an Urgency


Without death, there would be nothing to compel members to find meaning in life, because they would literally have all the time in the world. There would be no last chances, last dances or last words. There would be no good-byes. No ‘see you laters’. There would just be an endlessness of everything. There would be no container.


Love is the meaning of life AND love gives life meaning. All the love in the world won’t matter though if you don’t love yourself first, because you won’t be able to recognize love from anyone else if you don’t establish the standard with your own self-love.


And what would love be like with no death, I wonder? Would the absence of death change the experience of love at all? I think it would. At least for those widows/widowers who went on to find love again. Could people remain with the same spouse for all eternity on Earth?


No. Death is an important part of life on Earth. It is a necessary part of the cycle of life and needs to be revered as such, not denied. I haven’t figured out all the mysteries of life, for sure, but I’m certain of this. There is a purpose for every being and event in life. We may not know what that purpose is until long after we’ve crossed the veil, but I do believe we will one day discover it.


Death Lends Perspective


The finiteness of Life lends perspective. When we contemplate death we often can put things into a different perspective simply by asking ourselves how we will feel about this moment when we are on our deathbed.


Many years ago, after having worked in hospice for a number of years, I started to end each day asking myself how I would feel about it on my deathbed. Would this day matter? Would I even remember it? Will I be proud or have regrets? This afforded me the opportunity to begin to live differently thereby changing the circumstances of my own death no matter how many years or decades yet to come.


This, I discovered, is the secret to a ‘good death’. It isn’t where you die, or who you die with or without; who’s in the room, who’s not; if there are candles lit or music playing. It won’t even matter if you die being struck by a semi-tractor trailer at age 35 or die an old lady, an old lady warm in her bed (to quote Jack from Titanic).

A good death is a death with the least amount of unfinished business. It’s a death without regrets.

The only way to ensure that is to live a life of no regret.

And that is a great topic for another post so I’ll leave it right there.

On Being Not Worthy

In March of 2021 I started two podcasts, The Foul-Mouthed Woman and The Death Witch. I ran into technical difficulties however, and have thus decided to take my musings back to the blog and YouTube.

This is the first episode of The Foul Mouthed Woman to be done in blog.

I spent half of my life feeling unworthy. Unworthy of love, of money, basically of all the goodness life has to offer.


As a holistic health practitioner I know now what dis-ease this can cause and how this feeling caused some of my health problems.


And as a holistic health practitioner now I would say feeling unworthy is a pandemic equal to CoVid. It causes problems in relationships, in employment, and is directly related to death by suicide. Yet no one is talking about it.


This is a big topic. I’ve covered Being Too Much and Being Not Enough, but how is Not Being Worthy different? That’s hard to explain, really, but I’m going to give it my best shot.
Not being worthy, to put it simply, it’s is about self-value, while being too much or not enough is about how we feel others value us.
Feeling not worthy reveals itself in insidious ways. Foremost on my mind today is
something I refer to as …

The Suffering Games


What are the suffering games?

Professionals call it Comparative Suffering. It is the process or either exalting or diminishing one’s trauma comparative to another’s. It is when survivors seek recognition for their suffering by either justifying why their hurt is greater than another’s or conversely, by downplaying their own traumatic woundedness.

As if compassion is finite and one’s right to it, to sympathy or to empathy is determined by a Suffering Score. The internal dialogue might go like, “Well, I think my experience is 6 and Harold’s is a 12 so he wins all the compassion chips this round.”I tend to think this line of thinking is introduced in the early developmental years by parents. The following phrases introduce the pattern that one’s needs, conditions or experience are relative to another’s rather than being self-determining.


Phrases others may have said to you, to plant this seed,
“Quit crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.”
“Clean your plate, there are starving children in Africa”


Enter ‘not being worthy’.

The stand that you are not worthy of compassion, understanding, nurturing, grief etc. unless your suffering measures up to invisible standards of reference.

That’s not how it works. Trauma isn’t a contest.

There will ALWAYS be someone who’s experience seems less traumatic to you and there will ALWAYS be someone who’s experience seems more traumatic to you. The irony is that many times the one you see whom you’ve judged to have a more traumatic experience is looking at you thinking the same thing.


The Suffering Games is actually a symptom of trauma.


It was a survival skill you developed to keep your head above water and make it out alive. Do you ever remember saying to yourself “it could be worse”, or “at least it’s not as bad as so-and-so’s thing”, or “at least I’m not…” or any variation of the aforementioned?


It was good when it helped you not give up, not give in and not give out. But you are no longer there and it is time to recognize the strength it took for you to make it out alive, regardless of anyone else’s journey!


When People Are In The Midst of Suffering They Cannot Feel Privilege


You might call these people ‘Negative Neds/Nellies’. No matter what positive thing you try to present they just focus on what is not optimal or what is outright wrong in their lives. They cannot let go of the victim identity forged by their trauma and seek to confirm that narrative with every event in their lives.


I call them “yeah, but…” people. No matter what positive thing you try to point out they have a ‘yeah, but…” retort.


I think this is why some white people react very strongly to the term ‘white privilege’. We tend to think of privileges as being positive in nature, ‘it has been an honor and a privilege…’ We also tend to think of privilege in terms of something we’ve earned. Children earn privileges by behaving well and achieving target goals. Adults earn driving privileges. Adults can even buy certain privileges like memberships. Wealth grants a lot of privileges not available to mainstream America, also.

While most privilege can be lost, white privilege cannot. So, you might begin to understand how this is difficult to process for some. I actually think that ‘white fragility’ might be a symptom of trauma more than it is a symptom of racism.


People are used to FEELING privilege. We have the sense that privileges are earned or bestowed and are not guaranteed. Privileges can be lost.

White people can’t FEEL white privilege because it is something they were born with, not something they earned, and not something that can be lost, like all other privileges.
For those in the midst of The Suffering Games, their trauma prevents them from feeling privilege at all. So it makes sense to me that the term ‘white privilege’ could be triggering for those who have an unresolved traumatic history and identify strongly with their suffering score, because what they hear is ‘you are privileged, therefore you haven’t suffered’.

We could probably do a whole exploration of that topic, but I’ll leave it there as food for thought.

Feeling Not Worthy Reduces The Appearance of Available Choices


The state of mind of unworthiness creates a blindness to options. It creates a conditioned passiveness.


We see it most often in women who will ‘settle’ for a man, even when the relationship does not meet her needs, because the man chose her. Her underlying believe is that she does not get to choose anyone, she can only choose who chooses her.


This is a tricky one, because of course good relationships only exist when both partners choose one another, however, the difference is that one who is unworthy is settling rather than actually choosing. Her unworthiness has her believe this is the best she will get because this person chose her. The internal dialogue goes something like, “He likes me. I don’t dislike him. I guess I like him.”


Her underlying feelings of unworthiness have her believing she can only choose from that which comes to her rather than believing she has the right to choose pro-actively. Under those conditions, one would be hard pressed to say no, not knowing when someone else might come along.


We were married about seven years when my husband and I separated. I was devastated and completely heartbroken. I was very much in love with him, even though he wasn’t really a very good husband/partner/father at all. At the time I couldn’t see that. I was so steeped in my unworthiness that I was frantic to get him to want to continue the marriage.

In talking with our therapist about this limbo we were in and why wouldn’t he make a decision to divorce or to try again, she looked at me and said that I have a choice too. I couldn’t see it. What choice did I have? He held all the cards.


But did he?


Of course there was the choice to not choose someone who wasn’t choosing me, but I couldn’t see that. When you feel unworthy, you can’t see that. I was continuing to choose him even though he wasn’t choosing me, and putting my whole life on pause while he played the game with me. When I finally made the choice to go ahead and start living my own life, guess who suddenly was making the choice to try the marriage again?


It should go without saying, but this makes those who feel not worthy prime targets for predators.

And this isn’t just a problem in romantic relationships, but also family’s of origin, in friendships, and in employment.


Workers in this state of feeling unworthy will not ask for raises, Don’t use their vacation time, take more responsibility without asking for an increase in pay, stay late, and sacrifice home life for work life. These workers are also subject to more sexual harassment and bullying. Wouldn’t it be interesting to note if feeling unworthy even plays a role in on the job injuries?


Feeling Unworthy Makes Your World Small


You don’t feel empowered. You don’t feel confident. You don’t believe in yourself. And you don’t feel like you have choices. So, yes your world is very very small.
You are literally waiting for things to land on your doorstep and you accept whatever lands there because you have built a world of lack. Nothing lands on your door step without you ordering it in some form or fashion.


So paying attention to what you are ordering by the activities you engage with, the relationships you have, the treatment you accept will start to change what comes to your door.
More importantly though, start identifying your feelings of unworthiness and work to build up your self-value. No one can do that but you. No one can help you with it either. It’s all on you. And I know you can do it, because I did it.


It’s literally a simple choice to value yourself. To turn off the programming that says “It doesn’t count unless someone else says it.” But if you need that…here I am saying it.


You are of value! There is a gift that ONLY you have to give. NOTHING takes away from that gift. Not mistakes you’ve made. Not circumstances you’ve created or found yourself in. Not what you’ve done, nor what’s happened to you.


YOU are the only you and when you stop trying to make yourself into something else. Something you feel would be ‘more acceptable’ than the real you, then you will start to see how truly fabulous you are!


Somehow we get the idea that there is an ideal way to be in this world. This is subliminal brainwashing by marketing firms across the world who sole premise is to convince you that you are not enough as you are, and that you need what they are selling to be whole.


Narcissists in your life will continue that message to convince you that you need them too. The truth is that they need YOU. YOU have all the power!


Embrace The You You Hide


What parts of you do you hide? What parts make you embarrassed? Make you feel unsure? What parts make you feel weirdly? Or that make you stand out?


These are all parts of your uniqueness and those are the things that need to be revealed!! Embrace them! Don’t dress to hide that belly fat under a big tent! Find styles that accentuate your figure! Don’t walk with your head down! Make eye contact with strangers! Say hello to others first! Initiate conversations in shopping lines.


Look at others who are ‘different’ than typical standards of beauty and see how beautiful they are when they are not hiding in shadows. I’ve seen models with skin pigmentation afflictions! I’ve seen women embracing their saggy boobs!


It’s time to take back the rigid standards of beauty and display what REAL beauty looks like…confidence!


I promise you, your world will open up 1000 percent once you start this practice!


There is nothing unworthy about you. NOTHING.


And I think that is a great place to end…

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Compassion

This word has been on my mind lately. Mostly because the world needs more of it. The people need more of it. The animals need more of it. The planet needs more of it.

As a part of my spiritual practice, I recite five principles every day. The one I end with is “Today, I treat myself and others with compassion.” I love the word compassion. It is a deeply moving word for me requiring me to be more than merely kind, but compassionate. So when I actually looked up the definition I was more than a little disappointed; “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others”.

I don’t know what I expected, but that wasn’t it. “Sympathetic pity”? I KNOW what compassion feels like for me, but I never took the time to define it. But I know ‘sympathetic pity’ wasn’t part of my definition.

How would you describe Compassion?

My definition would go something like this, “deeply felt care and concern for the wellbeing of others, in times of need.”

I debated even putting that last part in there because I think we all need compassion whether we are in the midst of a crisis or not. However, I think when not ‘in need’, kindness suffices. I think when one is in need they do need something more profound than simple kindness.

When I worked a full time 9-5 job, I had paid time off and I took it when I needed it. I took vacations regularly and stayed home when I was sick. But there were other days when I needed to just take a mental health day and I did that too. Now that I work from home, for myself, there is no paid time off. In addition, some of my work requires I be on call 24/7 for my death and dying clients. Add to that I LOVE what I do, it’s hard to really comprehend that I still need time off.

Running your own business- let alone three businesses- takes discipline and I have that in spades. So much so that I had to build in a ‘day off’ each week, but I may have been too late in doing that. Last week when I was feeling some kind of way and struck with severe back/shoulder/neck/arm pain it caught me off guard. I had worked virtually nonstop to get The Foul Mouthed Woman Podcast launched, AND get started on The Death Witch Podcast. Amidst that I was writing feverishly to complete a few Oracle Cards for the deck I’m co-creating. Everything I do is on the computer and this pain rendered me computer impotent. As I took some time to tend to the physical issue, it was clear to me that something emotionally was working it’s way up and out as well.

I decided to stop looking for a work around the pain and just surrender into it. I’ve taken sick days before when I’ve caught a virus or something. I’ve taken days off when I just felt I needed to take a break. This was different. This was compassionate care. I was taking a Compassionate Care day.

It was a sick day for my soul.

I tended to the wounds of my soul that were on the mend, as well as the physical knotting in my back. I watched movies that made me sob. I took walks. I took small excursions out in public as needed. I made nourishing food.

For four days.

The most important thing I did for those days though was to not feel guilt, or shame and not ‘should’ myself. Like I said, I have tons of discipline, and it would’ve been easy for me to tell myself that disregarding my regular schedule was breaking my commitments; But my most important commitment is to myself. I can no longer do what I did before, because ‘before’ wasn’t working. ‘Before’ was breaking me.

For 27 years I pushed passed my breaking points. I was taught certain rules about being a good employee and how business works. For 27 years I felt powerless, complying with directives without voicing dissension for fear of being fired. Until it made me sick. So sick that at 46 years old I felt 75 and could not fathom how I could go on another 30 years. I didn’t even know how I’d make it another 10.

I didn’t realize it was the job/career making me sick until I quit my job, moved to another state and got married. I procrastinated getting my social work license in the new state. The thought of starting all over in a new state in the same old career felt heavy. My husband put no rush on my finding work and so I settled into taking care of myself…really taking care of myself for the first time in a long time.

Simply moving seemed to give me some relief from my suffering, and with each day I felt a little better. I found new treatments, new care providers, new ways of eating, which all helped. But mostly it was finding myself that really started to heal my body. Moving away from what I ‘should’ do, towards what I ‘want’ to do, improved my health ten fold. It will be 7 years this summer and I feel better than I did 15 years ago. I still have a few issues that are left over, due to the extreme pressure I put myself under, but I have faith I’ll find the answers to those also.

What’s important now, I realize. Is to not adapt the same mindset in this new situation. Pushing myself so hard that I bring on physical immobility in order to get my own attention is simply using the same patriarchal business model in my own business. So, I’ve switched to four work days and one self-care day per week. The weekends are sort of a hodge podge of things depending on my husband’s schedule or if I am pressing a deadline. I have always been one to take a sick day, but the truth is I don’t get sick that often. So offering myself Compassionate Care days on a more regular basis, might better suit my bottom line.

Compassionate Care days have to go above and beyond normal Self-Care days. I have self care built into everyday; at least 1/5 hours, sometimes 3. So Compassionate Care days are going to be luxury self-care days. There’s going to be more treasure hunting, spa days, walks in nature and baths in the middle of the day.

I think we are all in need of compassion regardless of our current situations. Compassion doesn’t have to be reserved for ‘justified’ times of pain and suffering! I think treating one another and ourselves with deeply felt care and concern for our/their wellbeing across the board would serve the Greater Good and mend the world’s hearts.

Peace Be With You

Sacred Sundays

No doubt due to my Catholic upbringing, I hold Sundays as sacred even though I no longer subscribe to an organized religious dogma. In my youth, Sundays meant attending Sunday mass and getting Dunkin’ Donuts afterwards.

As a young wife and mother we made it family day and either went out for crepes or we brought them home. No matter the tradition, Sundays have always felt special. Like they were the one day of the week when All Possibilities were palpable.

Even as a college student at St. Teresa’s, in Winona, Minnesota it was a day to stay in pajamas, be cozy, and share with friends. We often took a walk around the lakes.

Sundays feel like clean slates.

Today, I reserve Sundays as Sacred Self-Care. There is no one particular tradition, other than I don’t work unless entirely inspired to do so. There’s no agenda on Sundays. What gets done, gets done. All the rest can wait until Monday.

Sundays are for resetting.

Monday through Saturday are work days. Whether it is working for your employer, your self, or keeping up with the household chores. Sundays should hold little to none of that. Sundays should be about fueling our souls. Connecting with our highest selves and recharging.

I find limiting my television watching on Sundays has spilled over into the week. Even ‘having it on in the background’ seems to take energy from the environment. Replacing that background noise with soothing new age music positively charges the air and nurtures the Spirit.

Reading books for leisure, and not work or research related, also is a nice activity for a Sunday. Especially those cold snowy Sundays, here in lower Michigan. I include in this category, pulling out old photo albums or scrapbooks and taking a stroll down memory lane. Double bonus points if you can find someone who will sit with you while you do it.

I work with Oracle Cards as well as other card decks and often do a reading for myself using one of my many decks. Journalling about each card, it’s message and how it pertains to my life is a very therapeutic use of a Sunday.

I rarely do small screens on Sundays. No computer. No internet. It is so freeing. No drama to get caught up in. No rabbit holes to go down. Just peace in my world.

I know it is Monday at the time of this posting, but perhaps you can think this week on how to make your Sundays more Sacred and let me know if it makes a difference next week!

Peace Be With You,

Jade

Why Throw A Living Memorial?

My husband turned 70 this week and the pre-Corona plan was to throw him an Honor Dinner (or Living Memorial) to celebrate his life. Now you might be asking what is the difference between an Honor Dinner and a birthday party. Quite simply it is the sentiment expressed.

Let’s think about a regular memorial for a minute. A loved one has died, the family is grieving, there are pictures of the loved one set out. At some point there is conversation beyond awkward condolences and people start to reminisce. People share stories of the first time they met the loved one, and they share what this person added to their life.

For me, during a loss, this last part has always been my favorite. My favorite because it is here my healing begins. The knowledge that my loved one was loved by others is reassuring, consoling and comforting. I often find myself wondering though, “did she know they felt this way about her?”

I come from an English, German, Irish and Croatian cultural background. Take a look at those again. Not a single solitary culture that is known for expressing emotion! Stoic x4. On top of that our people tend to die suddenly in car accidents or from sudden illness. We aren’t prone to long term illnesses. While that is a good thing, the drawback is there is no anticipatory grief period, no forewarning that death is around the corner. Which means there is little time to prepare and say goodbye. So many loving thoughts remain unsaid until after death. Although that is very healing for the grieving loved ones to hear, the true power of those loving words lay in sharing them with people while they are alive.

Because of my history with these sudden losses, I am one to not leave things unsaid. My friends and family are accustomed to it, but for new friends it takes some getting used to. It is for this reason that I love Living Memorials. Not just for those who know death is around the corner, but for anyone! It’s not something you do at every birthday, but it is good for those big numbers.

Due to CoVid we had to do my husband’s Living Memorial online. I created a Facebook group and instructed people to create a video expressing their sentiments, toast him, roast him or share memories/stories. The point was to express more than simple birthday wishes. I wanted this man to know exactly what he contributed to the lives of others. I wanted him to see the expression on their faces and hear the inflection of their voice; not just read words on a screen. Having it in a group rather than on his page would enable him to use it like a memory book he could refer back to frequently.

While not everyone was comfortable being extremely sentimental, we had quite a few contributors. The look on his face as he watched each video and read each post was priceless. There are no words to accurately describe it. If I had to, I would say it was a mixture of appreciation, love and pride. He was truly touched that anyone would take the time to do this.

In retrospect I think a slightly modified structure would have rendered a result closer to what I intended. I think asking people to share their favorite character trait of my husband, along with their birthday greetings would’ve been less intimidating for guests. I also think that had we been able to do it in our initial format – an honor dinner – with similar instruction, it would’ve been easier for people to really share some more sentiment.

My husband is filled with joy for the experience and that was truly my goal. I highly recommend this for anyone wanting to provide a meaningful celebration for a loved one’s birthday.

In the end it doesn’t matter if it is called a Birthday Party, a Living Memorial, an Honor Dinner or a Hoe Down. If it is making memories, sharing emotion and making people feel loved then it is part of the living well path and that path leads to dying well.

Peace Be With You,

Jade

Best Death Possible (part two) – A Daughter’s Mission

The Difference A Doula Makes

An experienced Death Doula is someone familiar with many faces of death. While death is universal in its presence, it is individual in its experience. In my situation, a Doula would’ve been outside the grief circle, someone who could hold space for me as I expended my energy fighting for my mother. He or she would be able to offer perspective and guidance to spark ideas like bringing my mom’s personal items into the hospital, taking pictures, and bringing in music. A Doula would’ve been grounding for me.

It all happened in a week; Tuesday to Tuesday. When my mom was admitted no one suspected she wouldn’t be coming home. It was too fast for any of us to catch up, we only had a week; but that week will be with me the rest of my life.

We think of Death Doulas, or End of Life Doulas or even hospice as being appropriate only when death is imminent. Our most important work, however, happens long before that time. I chose to refer to myself as a Sacred Attendant, simply because that is what it feels like to me – attending the Sacred. Acceptance of death needs to be woven throughout our lives. It is not a final chapter of our story, but more like a character in the background without the knowledge of its time of arrival, nor the circumstances of it. Conversations about death cannot be reserved for some imagined time in the future when death appears imminent. They also need to include more than just the ideal circumstances because that just isn’t probable. Weaving death positive awareness into things like birthday celebrations, traumatic events, or illness could help remedy experiences like ours.

Thing 6 I’d change is doing a death plan. That first night when she said was scared, I would’ve stayed at the hospital. I would’ve pulled out a notebook and written down all the things she would want at her funeral. I would write a letter she’d dictate to whomever she wanted. I would’ve asked what songs she wanted at the service and what readings she wanted. I would’ve updated her living will with Health Care Representative (Proxy) designation. I would’ve asked her important questions regarding what she wanted to leave behind for all of us. I wouldn’t have hesitated to discuss this because we didn’t think it was time.

As a result of my experience with my mother, and with so many others, I created LIFE’S Book, an opportunity to create a death plan and so much more. Completing something like this with my mother would’ve not only established her wishes, but it would’ve been a bonding time for us. It would’ve also provided some guidance for others who didn’t know what to say while visiting. My mother could’ve asked them to simply pick up the binder and pick a page.

The Gift Of Time

Working in hospice I saw the Gift of Time in action. In a death denying society, the Gift of Time is bestowed upon those who chose to acknowledge time for letting go and embrace it. Peace comes with the embracing of death. Understanding that it is no longer a time to fight against the disease or circumstance, but to fight for magic in the last days. It is here that the term ‘good death’ was coined. A death free from suffering and in the comfort of their own home or home-like environment, surrounded by friends and family.

However, there are so many other types of death happening at any given time, don’t they deserve magic too? People die in car accidents, from falls in their homes, from assaults, and from sudden illnesses like stroke or aneurysms. Where are the good deaths for these people? Where is the dying-specific emotional, spiritual, and soul support for these folks? And what of those who lie down to nap one day and never wake up? Where are the goodbyes for their families? Their last words? And what of those who live alone with no one to ‘surround’ their bedside and care for them in their own home? What of them? Where are their good deaths?

They say there are no do-overs in life, and yet I see Life as one big do-over. Every day I get the chance to do things differently than the day before. I learn from my past experiences, I do not view them as insufficient or lacking in any way. The things I wished to do differently led me right where I am today, offering my support to others to reduce these events, by having conversations earlier than ‘imminent’. By doing this differently, I am honoring my mother’s death.

I was just getting my feet wet in the local community network groups talking about dying and death and…

Then CoVid19 Hit

The deathbeds now are even more sterile and are missing most or all family and friends. Fear of death hangs in the air like grey clouds in the Michigan winter sky. Still there is no acknowledging it. No preparations. No magic moments within conversations. Not even while quarantined together have there been conversations about death wishes. There’s just been blaming, conspiracy theorizing and more denial.

What’s emerged is a grief crisis. Compounded complicated grief where before there would be straightforward grief. On top of losing loved ones, we are losing our traditions for grieving. No matter your spirituality, religion or culture every aspect of grieving has been affected. Everything from not being able to be at the bedside to hold a hand, to not being able to have a funeral, with a million things in between.

This results in bereavement counseling being more important than ever. A counselor or a group to hold space to offer comfort and support. There will be more turbulent feelings. More uneasiness. More anger. More regret.

We will shortly be coming upon the first death anniversaries and the grief crisis will hit people unexpectedly. How we honor those anniversaries will be most important and if we do it right, will spark new traditions by creating meaningful ritualistic ceremonies to honor that date. We can only hope that by the time the first of the death anniversaries from this pandemic time roll around that the pandemic has subsided enough to allow more ritualistic ceremonies.

This is something I am preparing. This is something most end of life consultants are preparing.

My Mission

Ask 100 people what their idea of a ‘good death’ is and statistics say that 80 of them will say ‘at home surrounded by family and friends’. Some might even choose a facility with a ‘home-like environment like a hospice house, surrounded by family and friends’. Perhaps because they don’t want their family to have to live in the place where they died, or maybe they do not wish to burden their loved ones with caring for them. Whatever the case most people will not say ‘in a hospital’ and yet that is where 60% of deaths take place.

Why?

Some of it is due to death phobia. The medical community, in particular, has a hard time considering death, as was evident with my mother’s team. They are taught that death is an enemy to fight against at all costs. That cost is too great however, when it robs people of precious time with loved ones.

My mission is to offer the ‘best death possible’ for everyone. None of us can change the circumstances surrounding our death or that of our loved one. However, within the scope of that circumstance we can offer the best death possible.

The best death possible means embracing the circumstances as they are and doing it ‘your way’. It doesn’t mean giving up, so much as it is giving in to the flow of life. I have had the privilege of witnessing many magical life-changing moments that took place at a bedside. I want to bring that to anyone who wants it.

Unlike a hospice referral, to employ a Death Doula there is no need for a terminal diagnosis and 6 months natural life expectancy prognosis. The decision rests solely with the individual or family to initiate at any time. It can be initiated years before the actual death, making preparations, having conversations, and creating legacies. This starts building a relationship with someone who is then familiar to you at the end of life, providing all that much more comfort.

Embracing a best death possible philosophy provides opportunity for patients and families of trauma victims the same Gift of Time as hospice patients and families. It offers the same post-death follow up and support as well. It offers something more than what has been offered to date. A Sacred Attendant or End of Life Doula isn’t meant to replace Chaplains or Social Workers, it is something additional that offers a broader blanket of comfort care to a patient and their families. The service isn’t paid for by insurance or Medicaid/Medicare, so it isn’t restricted by regulations for reimbursement. The Attendant is free to provide whatever non-medical service is right for the individual and the family unit, and to provide it as long as necessary. She or he is not limited to a ‘justified’ one hour visit once a week.

Think what peace of mind this service could be to a son who lives 1,000 miles away from his mother who has dementia and lives in a facility. That he can have someone trusted to be there as many times a week as he wants.

What comfort it could be to a daughter from out-of-town to have in-town support as she lovingly cares for her father in his home.

What clarity it could bring a family whose members all seem to be on different pages.

What a difference it would make in the hospital to have compassionate end of life support available to individuals with sudden illness or decline, or traumatic injury and their family units.

And what of this…what if hospitals offered this service to family units right now, BECAUSE of CoVid protocols and restrictions? Why not give families something to replace a small bit of what has been taken away? It’s the right thing to do.

The services of Death Doulas, End of Life Doulas, Sacred Attendants, etc… will be unique to the individuals that provide them. In overview terms, they provide non-medical support to clients and families. Specifically, they might make a well-timed phone call or text; Be a visitor who is comfortable sitting in silence; Ask just the right question at just the right time; Or offer a listening ear you are not afraid to bend. These are the tangibles every End of Life Doula (EOLD) might offer. The innumerous intangibles are impossible to list here though because they are less about doing and more about being.

Peace Be With You…And May You Be Peace

If you or anyone you know feels they would benefit from this service please speak up to your doctors, your medical team or locate your nearest End of Life Doula through the End of Life Collective https://collective.round.glass/End-of-Life/about or the National End Of Life Doula Alliance https://www.nedalliance.org/ or reach out to me personally at healingritesofpassage@gmail.com or via the contact form on this site.

Best Death Possible – Part One -A Mother’s Death

Today, December 13, 2020 is the fifteenth anniversary of my mother’s transition. Until this time I haven’t shared the details of my experience of her death.

There are so many things I would do differently, most are details that would matter only to me, however one thing I believe could’ve changed the outcome.

I want to say right off though, you can’t be a doula and be a daughter at the same time. You just can’t. There are family dynamics, emotions, fears, hopes, anticipatory grief, expectations, and underlying currents at work that you can’t, as a daughter, step out of enough to BE a doula. That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a great daughter, in attendance, advocating and emotionally supporting your mother, but I wasn’t that either.

I know this is long so I appreciate you even considering to read it all. It is not meant to be an all inclusive recount of the events, but rather a highlighted exploration of needless trauma. If I were to write it as an account of the experience there would be many many more details about the emotional and relational aspects.

Tuesday

It started on a Tuesday with a call that Mom was in the Emergency Department with difficulty breathing. I was at work and rushed over as soon as I could. I found her in a cubicle sized exam room when I arrived. She had her chemotherapy appointment a day or so before and said she just wasn’t feeling right and was having a hard time breathing.

When her cardiologist came in my mother introduced me like this, “Dr. Kramer, this is my daughter Judy. She hates chemo.” To which he replied, “Yes, it is nasty stuff.” He stated that Mom had congestive heart failure and they would be running additional tests.

The hospital was full, she would wait hours in that cubicle sized room until a patient room opened up. I was working a relatively new job as a therapist in a psychiatrist’s office, and had to return to work, but visited her between patients later in the day. I found her that time in a room that I would’ve sworn was a janitor’s closet earlier that day. It was set off by itself long past any other patient rooms, and as far away from any staff as you could get. We sat for a while and talked about what the doctors were saying and what tests were going to be done. She waited until I was halfway out the door, late for my next appointment, to say, “I’m afraid.” I replied, “I bet you are. This is scary.”

Thing 1 I would change. I would’ve turned around and stayed with her. It turns out the patient I was late to see had cancelled and it was not the policy of the office to call and let therapists know when scheduled appointments cancel. My last appointment of the day was a no show. So, yes, I would’ve stayed with her. I would’ve explored that fear more. I would’ve been a great daughter who was attentive, present and emotionally supportive.

Wednesday

When I returned on Wednesday I found her in a different room wearing a rebreather mask. She was worried about the Christmas cookies she had committed to baking for the hospice she volunteered for. The same hospice I worked for just months before starting my new job. She wanted me to call the volunteer director and let her know the cookies wouldn’t be done.

At this point the diagnosis changed to add pneumonia to the congestive heart failure. I remember seeing the x-ray of her lungs…It looked as if they were wearing woolen sweaters. Where there should be clear darkness, there was fuzzy white. They started her on antibiotics.

Thursday

When I returned Thursday she was on a different type of mask. Her breathing was no better. Her lungs were no better. I knew from my years of working as a hospice social worker that chemo compromises the immune system and that if she was not responding to the antibiotics in 24 hours it was not good. I emailed my Aunt because my father was not ready to call the family in for visiting. My Aunt was not only my father’s sister, but she was my mother’s best friend since long before they were married. There was no way I wasn’t going to tell her what I knew.

By Thursday night the medical staff was out of options. The pulmonologist wanted to do a bronchoscopy to get a biopsy of her lungs to see what kind of infection it was so they could target the treatment. The problem is that after the bronchoscopy she would need to be on a ventilator for an undetermined amount of time. This is something my mother was adamantly opposed to.

Ten years prior she completed a Living Will specifically declining artificial life support. As we discussed the treatment options around her bed she spoke as loudly as she could through that mask that she did not want to be on a ventilator. However, she was ignored. My father is a very intimidating man and overrode her decision; insisting the doctor do the test. Later on, when I would bring up the Living Will Mom signed to attempt to advocate for her, he jumped up, towered over me and yelled, ‘WHAT piece of paper?’

When everyone left the room my mother again reiterated to me that she did not want to be put on a ventilator. We talked about it awhile. I encouraged her to talk to her husband, again, but she wouldn’t. So, I walked her through a process to get her to a place of peace about being on a ventilator short term, if it meant possibly finding an answer. She made me go to her house to bake up the cookie dough she had started.

During this whole time I needed to also be present for my twelve-year old daughter. I had pulled her out of school twice during this time because I wanted her to have every option to have last memories with my mother. Every day my mother got worse and every day I thought would be her last. I was also keeping my mother’s older sister informed who was living in a nursing home. I continued to keep my other aunt informed, as well.

Friday

Friday morning they did the bronchoscopy and by Friday night she looked like a blown-up balloon. During the bronchoscopy they pierced her lung and she was filling up with air. Bloody drainage came from the chest tube and she was indeed on that ventilator. Her doctor went out of town so we were left with an associate. The results of the bronchoscopy were inconclusive so an infectious disease doctor was brought on to determine whether or not to try fungicides or to start her on penicillin, which she was allergic to.

Saturday

By Saturday she was in multi-system organ failure and treatment options were still being discussed with my family. I was hearing lab results familiar to me from my work in hospice. I started to push the medical team about these things and realistic expectations. She agreed to be on the ventilator for a period of three days. She was only continuing to decline since. I failed at keeping her off the ventilator; I would not fail at keeping my promise that it would be short term. That night my father decided that my mother should not be left alone and he wanted me to stay at the hospital.

During the night my mother woke up on the ventilator and wanted my sister, my father and my husband there. She didn’t want to talk until they were there. She wanted my sister and I to get along. She wanted us to watch over our father. She wanted him to stop smoking. She wanted my husband to take care of me. And she wanted to say I love you to all of us.

The staff set me up in a room far away from my mother’s to stay. I wasn’t allowed to sleep in a cot or recliner next to her bed. What was the point of staying if not in her room? It was all too much for me by that time. I called my Aunt in the middle of the night because I just didn’t have anyone else to talk me off the ledge I was on. I’ll never forget the comforting voice on the other end of the phone saying, “Hold on. I’ll be there tomorrow” as I sobbed for the first time.

Sunday

Sunday morning came and there had been further decline. We as a family started talking about removing her from the ventilator, only to find out there was no supporting documentation in her chart by the doctors. Apparently what they were finally saying to us and to the nurses was not what they were documenting. So, again one by one we had conversations with each doctor about her condition and the reality of needing to let her go. By Sunday night we were talking about taking her off the ventilator Monday.

Monday

Monday came and there were faith-based hoops to jump through to get the approval to take her off the ventilator. This was the first time we spoke with anyone from palliative care and I only remember it being one brief conversation. Her doctor returned from out of town and was surprised that she had not recovered. He made his first call to her oncologist who said, “Sometimes patients respond to chemo like this. Give her steroids.” This was an emotionally devastating blow because she had been in multi-system organ failure for days now. Her cardiologist said she would likely not wake up and would need long term care placement if she did recover.

I mean it when I say my mother would rather be dead than be institutionalized living on a ventilator.

Thing 2 I’d change. I would’ve called her oncologist myself the first day she was admitted. She kept saying that she felt fine after chemo but then a day later she didn’t. I wrongly assumed that the medical team INCLUDED the oncologist. I do believe this one thing could’ve changed her outcome.

By Monday afternoon we had everything in place. I was prepared to let her go that afternoon and then I was told that it would be another day. My father wanted to wait until Tuesday.

I lost it.

I have never sobbed so hard, either before or since, as I did then. It was all so exhausting and now to make my mother suffer another day seemed cruel. I just kept yelling, ‘she deserves better than this.’ I understand – now, outside my own grief – that he needed a day to prepare. He had not been able to grasp reality days before as I had been. I had been fighting for days to end her suffering, while he’d been fighting to keep her here.

Tuesday

Tuesday morning came with yet another blow. My mother’s case now needed to be sent to the Ethics committee for approval to remove her from the vent. Why at each turn there was another hurdle someone didn’t foresee I did not understand. It was a Catholic hospital and they didn’t explain in advance the protocol to remove the tubes once in place. I was livid and unable to get face time with the bureaucrats causing my anger.

Tuesday afternoon the tubes were removed. My sister, my father and I were around her bed with our hands on some part of her when she exhaled for the last time, some 45 minutes after the machine was turned off.

I Did The Best I Could

Thing 3 I’d change. Her transition was sterile and un-ceremonial. Aside from the blanket I’d bought her for Christmas and gave her early, there were no personal effects. Nothing of my mother was in her death. I’d have music playing. She loved music. Johnny Mathis maybe or Ann Murray. Maybe Johnny Cash. Or maybe some Boots Randolph. I would’ve brought crystals to surround her. Anointing oils to bless her journey and thank her body for its service. I would’ve chosen a poem or a prayer to recite with all of her family present, not just the three of us.

Thing 4 I’d change, though not necessarily in order of importance…I’d take pictures of her in the hospital. Especially before the ventilator. She would’ve hated it though – no make up, hair unkempt, face mask pressed into her cheeks. As it is though I don’t know when the last picture of my mother was taken.

Despite these things I’d change, I know I did my best, but I still don’t feel it was good enough. We all did the very best we could within a system fraught with death denial. My energy had been used up on decoding the things that weren’t being said, forcing them into the air where my family could pluck them at their ready, then begging for the right things to be done.

This is why thing 5 I’d change, not in order of priority, is hiring a death doula (or better yet I wish the hospital had this service.) This one change would’ve made all the other changes for me. A Death Doula, a Transitions Doula, an End of Life Doula, an End of Life Specialist, a Sacred Attendant…whatever name they go by they offer the same thing – holding dedicated sacred space specific to the transition of loss and supporting the best death possible.

(Continued in Part Two- A Daughter’s Hope)