2000 Walls and a Dream….

As I headed to Australia and New Zealand to study to be a death doula, I had no idea what was to come just a short time after my return.  I knew I was studying something that I was passionate about, I knew a dream was taking hold and I knew I was beyond excited to go...

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The Lighter Side of Why

Several years ago when I lived in Tampa, I often received calls from local financial planners offering to take me out to lunch. Now I was well aware, this was a tactic, wine and dine me, and then like most men, wildly disappoint me with an underwhelming pitch for...

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Magic

"The world has changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost. For none now live who remember it.” ~J.R.R. Tolkein Lord of the Rings  I’ve found myself several times in recent months among other practitioners...

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Nurse’s Corner – Skin Care & Preventing Breakdown

Welcome to the Nurse's Corner! This is a new category in this blog that I'm hoping draws some interest.  Here I'll share experiences,  tips, tricks and ideas for those that are nurses, caregivers, inquisitive family members, patients or just someone who finds it...

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Take a Breath, and Then a Step

Many who know me, know that I've been away from a lot of things for the past 7 months as I've journeyed through the world of hospital, rehab and home hospice care with my grandmother, Virginia (most affectionately called Gram).   I chose not to speak much of it in my...

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2016 National Healthcare Decisions Day

"It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late." Local Critical Care Nurses to Sponsor National Healthcare Decisions Day Portland, Maine – The Southern Maine Chapter of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), along with other national, state, and...

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When “Don’t Give Up” Becomes a Harmful Phrase….

I sit and I listen to the nurses and the therapists, and they say to her time and time again, "don't give up". She wants to please them, she doesn't want to be a bother, she doesn't want to be a "wimp".  So she fights with the meager internal resources she has, a body...

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The Missing Piece of The Puzzle….

If you sit down to do a jig saw puzzle, many people start by putting together the frame, it sets the stage, holds it all in, essentially it outlines the big picture and keeps it all together.   I've watched my grandmother and my father systematically put together...

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The “D” Word

I was sitting with a colleague the other day who in mid-conversation said something about the "D" word.  It was amusing for the two of us, we looked at each other almost immediately and laughed.  It seems society has so ingrained the taboo treatment of the topic of...

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Music and Life….

It is odd how the things in your life so often intertwine.  When I bought my house late last year and moved in after returning from New Zealand,  I noticed that nagging sense that something was missing.  I quickly realized that that "something", was a piano.  I found...

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The Journey Home

Each Loss, Each colleague, each relative, each acquaintance, My grandmothers and grandfathers, my parents My loves, my partners, my friends, Like mile markers along the highway of my life. It seemed as if they kept in time With the speed of days. In my youth, the days...

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Ripples that Change the World

What if those people could stand on the shore watching their wake wash a bit of the shore away? And what if each of us could stay put long enough to see the rippling trail of everything we did rolling out behind us? What if we stopped long enough to see the long train...

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Pearl Harbor Day

 Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, is a date that has been intertwined in my personal history for several reasons for quite some time now. For me, the anniversary of this date has become a day of reflection over many things. Several years ago, while working on another...

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Messages, Meditation and Sacred Space

I've been mulling through ideas for blog posts in my head all day....there are a million of them and new ones that pop in every moment.  It's exciting but also at times daunting.  I've been in meetings and appointments all morning and I was ready to get home, slip my...

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End of Life & The ER – Podcast

During the last days of our trip to New Zealand and Australia, Deanna Cochran of Quality of Life Care, LLC and I sat down and talked about the climate of end of life care in the Emergency Room.  If you're interested in listening to the conversation please use the link...

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Ashes to Ashes, Rocks to Rocks and Memories to Memories

I stood in the kitchen, unpacking a box of miscellaneous belongings that had long been stored in the bottom of a cedar chest in the guest room of my parent’s house. Years ago I started to collect some of my most treasured memory items there, my grandfather’s hat, old...

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So….What DO We DO?

Changing the Face of Dying is my vision, created out of 10+ years in the medical industry as a traveling Emergency Room Nurse.    Over time, I have grown increasingly frustrated watching families and individuals struggle over end of life decision making - or more...

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To New Zealand, Australia and Beyond!

In a little over a week, I will be traveling with Deanna Cochran, RN, CHPN of  Quality of Life Care, LLC to explore New Zealand and Australia.  We will be sight seeing and enjoying the amazing beauty of these two countries (and sharing pictures and stories along the...

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Making Peace…..No Regrets!

I read an article today entitled: An Open Letter To My Ex-Best Friend It made me think of how I want to live my life, how I don't want to leave chapters unfinished if I can help it, how I don't like to let doors of communication close with those I love; how precious I...

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Feed Chance…..

His last words were simple, not a surprise to anyone that knew him, not a surprise to her.   "Feed Chance...." I don't know if anywhere inside him he realized the profundity of those words, I somehow doubt he meant more in that moment than for her to actually feed his...

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To My Parents with Love….

“The difference between a good death and a hard death often seemed to hinge essentially on whether someone’s wishes were expressed and respected. Whether they’d had a conversation about how they wanted to live toward the end.”  To Die Well - Sidney Wanzer,...

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Expressing Your Wishes – The Paperwork Dilemma

If you've been admitted to the hospital in the last few years (and are over 18 years of age), for any reason, it is required that the admitting physician ask you what you want your "code status" to be.  While most of us in health care are busy patting ourselves on the...

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Get Excited!

Part of my job right now in preparing to do more of this work involves extensive reading and research on related topics.  Some days I wonder if there's any hope as I work through this process of learning.  I sit down at my computer to look up a topic, I...

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The Most Precious Gift – Organ Donation

There are days that I will never forget, the ones where I lose patients, the days when I'm reduced to tears over the heart break of a situation I've been trying to stay strong through for an entire shift, the ones where a critical patient comes back to say thank you,...

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Not Choosing Is A Choice – The Reality of CPR

On every admission to the hospital I watch our hospitalists (the usual term for the doctor that admits most patient into the hospital setting) ask patients what their preference is on code status.  We ask regardless of the patient's diagnosis, and most of us in the...

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Acceptance

I am neither young anymore, Nor am I old But in my being and years I have known death I have seen the beauty of her welcome face, As her arms embraced and drew the last suffering breath away Leaving peace. I have seen her in all her darkness Whisking vitality and life...

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Sometimes You Have To Leap….

It's hard to believe it was 3 years ago today that I made this dream come true. Born of a picture of Pumakkale seen years prior, I vowed to one day see her beauty with my own eyes. There are few prouder moments of my life then when I made this dream come true,...

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Death Cafe

So, you're thinking of an amazing way to pass an evening,  I doubt for any of you, attending a Death Café came to mind.  Since the idea of death cafe's started in 2004 in Switzerland they have spread across the globe with increasing popularity.  The idea is to...

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Don’t Feed The Monster

In this journey, I've had some interesting reactions along the way to what I'm doing.  Yes, even I will admit sometimes it seems odd how impassioned I am by the subject of death.  It is not, however, nor will it ever be, death that excites me.  What...

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To Find Peace…

I'll be honest with you, this is one of the hardest pieces of writing I've ever done, it's raw and new and it's challenging for me to share.  I spent most of the day considering if I would ever post it in this forum, and I've decided (obviously) that I should....

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It’s A Matter Of Perspective…..

As the 4th of July approaches, it is always a contemplative time for me, that remains true this year, if not doubly so because of the work that I’ve become so passionate about.  I was a little girl when I was introduced powerfully and personally to...

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Let Me Choose…….

My first real job,  one summer during high school, was as a dietary aide in an Alzheimer's Nursing Home in my home town.  To be honest I have no true recollection of how I came into this job, but there are a few things I remember vividly about the...

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Thank You Sheila Kitzinger

The Guardian recently posted an article on Sheila Kitzinger, a natural childbirth activist who died in April.   The article speaks of her passion for her work and her advocating for more natural births at home, the de-medicalization of the child birth process, as...

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Excited!

I am so very very excited!Let me first say - I very much appreciate the support and love from the community, those that have read this blog and mentioned it to me, shared it with others, shared their thoughts!  The primary purpose of my writing here is to...

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Beautiful Lady, Fly Away

The human body has an amazing ability to overcome obstacles we wouldn't think they could; especially at the end of life.  In my years as a nurse I have watched patient's hold on far past what we thought possible, waiting for that family member to arrive,  or...

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All I Can Offer

Peace, I cannot give you - it is not mine to give.Health I cannot return to you - it is beyond my power.Relief from your suffering I try to give - but my hands are tied.So I give you my heart, that you are loved till the end, I give you my hands to hold so you aren't...

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Let’s Have The Conversation

I want to die with the salt air of the ocean filling my lungs, amongst laughter, in sheets with a ridiculously high thread count and a mattress that feels like a puffy cloud and yet doesn't make my sciatica angry.  I want to pass with a smile on my face, holding...

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The Origins of My Journey

She died as she had lived, courageously, deliberately, with as much dignity as a woman could.  As much as I have my regrets for how the last hours went, as much as I fight against the bitter memories of watching her suffer, her suffering was brief compared to the...

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