Each person’s journey is unique and often begins in unexpected ways. My path to becoming a death doula started in a moment of profound personal loss.

It was the week of June 27th, 2015, when my dear father suffered a massive stroke. He had always expressed his wishes to pass away not in the sterile environment of a hospital but in the comfort and familiarity of his own home. However, gripped by fear and uncertainty, my mother found herself unable to fulfill his wish.

Determined to honor my father’s desire for a peaceful end, I sought alternatives. Through discussions with compassionate nurses and hours of research, I discovered hospice care. We decided on Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona, a place where my father could spend his final days surrounded by warmth, love, and respect.

Though it was a time of immense sadness and loss, there was a certain beauty in those final days. Free from the clinical detachment of hospital rooms, the incessant beeping of machines, and the impersonal discussions of medical personnel, we were able to just be with him, and he with us.

Throughout his life, my father emphasized the importance of autonomy and personal choice. In his last days, I saw how empowering it was to respect those wishes. Despite the heartbreak, I found solace in knowing that we had many heartfelt discussions about his end-of-life preferences. I was grateful that he had a chance to pass away in a way that resonated with his personal desires and values.

This deeply personal experience sparked a mission in me: to assist others when they face their end-of-life journey. To truly listen to what THEY want. To spread awareness that dying in a hospital is not the only option. As a death doula, I’m now committed to advocating for those nearing the end of life, ensuring their voices are heard, and their preferences are respected.

Death is a part of our journey here, and how we experience it matters profoundly. It’s my hope that by sharing my story, more people will become aware of the possibilities surrounding end-of-life care. Let’s create a world where everyone has the opportunity to pass away peacefully, in a way that aligns with their individual beliefs, desires, and dignity.

In honor of my father and his legacy, I encourage us all to love and support each other. To be kind and thoughtful towards others and ourselves. Let’s ensure that the lessons we learn from the end of life inform the way we live every day.

A photo of my father, Robert

A photo of me by my father's side near his end-of-life

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Holding my father's hand

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