After an eight-year journey with Alzheimer’s Disease, my beloved partner, Dave, died peacefully at home on Hospice care surrounded by loved ones. My “on-the-job training” as his caregiver had taught me much more than the practical aspects of caregiving. I learned this gem from Dave: Acknowledging that the end of life is near sparks us to savor the precious moments that are left, discard the superfluous and find the zest for truly living life to the fullest.
A decade earlier, after watching both his parents suffer with dementia, Dave carefully considered his own future and wrote clear medical care instructions for the late stage of Alzheimer’s Disease. He thoroughly discussed these instructions with his loved ones. Then we went sailing for three adventurous years.
Years later, when Dave was in the late stage of Alzheimer’s Disease and could no longer speak for himself, we were faced with hard decisions. Even though it was difficult, we were confident we were making the right choices and honoring Dave’s wishes. His foresight, in essence, was a gift to us. It was then that I realized the vital importance of end-of-life planning in informing end-of-life care and quality of life.
Though he had planned well overall, Dave had neglected to update his trust, which caused conflict between the beneficiaries and a year and a half of unnecessary strife and stress. Through practical experience serving as Trustee, I learned firsthand the importance of good planning and the pitfalls of leaving things undone.
These personal experiences as Dave’s caregiver and trustee motivated me to help others. After his death, I immersed myself in learning everything I could about how to prepare for the end of life. I completed the comprehensive End-of-Life Doula Training with nationally acclaimed doula Alua Arthur of Going with Grace. I attended myriad workshops, lectures and courses and read many books and articles on all aspects of preparing for and caring at the end of life from the practical to the spiritual. I loved and continue to love learning about this vital calling and serving others.
My practice encompasses the full spectrum of end-of-life needs. I am well-versed in pre-planning and often work with those who are relatively healthy and are looking to put their affairs in order. I created the Important File for this purpose.
I also support those who are actively dying, along with their caregivers, in the medley of care needed at the end of life. By deeply listening to my clients, I follow their lead and strive to honor their wishes. My clients describe me as compassionate, organized, encouraging, sensitive and as an excellent communicator. I bring my heart along with my resources to the table and to the bedside to meet their needs.