Signs of Life
SUPPORT THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE
I live in rural western Massachusetts, where I am sustained by a lively creative community: musicians, artists, farmers, and poets; open mics and festivals; lots of writers to hang out with and learn from. I am a supporter of public libraries and an advocate for lifelong learning. I am a Hospice board member, a Village Neighbor volunteer, and co-lead workshops on managing chronic pain for an elder services agency. Being an End-of-life Navigator and Coach makes my life an adventure of connecting with people and sharing new and meaningful experiences. I am so glad to have found work that keeps my heart open and my brain engaged.
Here and there on this site you'll see the word non-denominational or the abbreviation ND. I take my credentials of ministry seriously, and over the course of many years I have grown into a practice of kindness and kinship that I hope reflects in the fabric of this website. By non-denominational I mean just that. I have no religious affiliation, I do not preach a path or have a party line. Recently, I was approached by a guest at a celebration of life who gifted me with the highest compliment when she said I was the first clergy person she'd heard who actually meant it when they called themselves non-denominational. The capacity to hold sacred space and let it be just that, sacred for each guest in their own way, is a cultivated skill. It matters to me to be able to give everyone this respect.
If you tell me you are suffering, I will get it. I am a person contending with a progressive spinal cord injury and disability. In the course of learning to live with my physical changes and limitations I have also learned the importance of cultivating personal optimism. I'm not a pollyanna, my health issues sometimes kick my ass. But there are things I can do to understand my body as it changes, to adapt my environment to my abilities, to advocate for myself with healthcare providers, to keep my energy steady; and all of this somehow makes the whole thing more bearable. All this, and finding things to laugh about.
Training & experience:
I am a graduate of the College of Public and Community Service & the University Without Walls at the University of Massachusetts. I have a B.A. in mediation and conflict resolution, with direct engagement in school, court, and community settings. I have earned End of Life Doula Certification from the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, an Advanced Diploma in coaching from New York University, and a certificate in positive psychology coaching from The Wellbeing Institute.
I am a ULC minister and certified Life-Cycle Celebrant serving individuals and families throughout New England, and beyond. I have been a hospice volunteer and a non-denominational (ND) hospital chaplain in a major regional trauma center. I have worked with elders to support aging at home, and in health education modeling self-management of chronic illness and pain. I have additional training in home funeral support. And I am the chief instigator at Last Dance Shrouds, a custom burial shroud maker.