Frequently Asked Questions

Stephen Jenkinson says, in his book Die Wise: “Dying well is not the end of parenting, but the fullness of parenting, not the end of a marriage, but the last great act of a married life. Dying well is a bequest that you leave to those you love, probably the only thing that in the end will not be eaten by moths, apportioned by lawyers, or bought for quarters in a yard sale.” I think that is a remarkable statement. Every time I reread it I take away new layers!
Mortality is defined as “the state of being subject to death.” Though we often try not to think about it, this applies to all of us – and learning about it can be surprisingly enriching. When you look at your life through the lens of mortality, you discover what matters most. I am passionate about facilitating conversations about mortality that lead people to know what’s authentic to their lives.

Best 3 Months is a multi-week course developed by the Conscious Dying Institute and led by educators, like myself, who have been trained by that organization. This course will guide you through a process to examine your life in five key domains: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Practical, and your Life Legacy. At the outset, we will name the date for your imagined death, three months from when we begin. Then we explore such questions as, 

  • What will you value most in these imagined final three months? 
  • What are your priorities, wishes and dreams? 
  • What practical action steps will you take towards your desired vision?

Each week, you will have homework that includes reflection questions to help you clarify your beliefs and desires for the domain that is the focus for that week. Additional resources such as articles, books, videos, and websites will be shared, and our conversations during class will emerge from this wide base of materials. 

The Best 3 Months experience can be profound, whether you yourself are nearing the end of life, you have loved ones who are ill or elderly, or you simply want to learn more about this universal experience and see what it has to offer you about your life.

Book discussions are free. I love books and I love to talk about them with others. I publish the zoom link for these meetings in various ways, including on my website and on Facebook. Or you can email me and I’ll send the zoom link to you directly. diane@bestlifebestdeath.com You do not have to read the book to join in and enjoy what’s being shared! Typically, I offer a slide show that summarizes the book and show a related video clip.

Whatever I have recently read that I found inspiring, mostly around the ideas of mortality, death, loss, vulnerability, or grieving. For a few years now, I have been reading books that focus on these topics, and there are so many good reads out there that can challenge or inspire us. So much unexplored territory on this topic for most of us. A book discussion is a good way to “put your toe in the water” if these subjects seem overwhelming.

Right here on the website. Book discussions and other courses are all on the website and you can register for them at any time. If you have any questions or something doesn’t work right, or your 98 year old grandmother doesn’t know how to click the buttons (though I bet she does…) you can always email me. diane@bestlifebestdeath.com

Group classes offer a chance to learn from the wisdom, courage and experience of others, which is often remarkable. I act as facilitator and guide, and everyone’s voice is heard, as much as they wish. Groups are intimate and always confidential. If you feel your situation is complex, or you prefer greater privacy, or if you’d simply like more time to explore what’s happening for you individually – then one-on-one coaching can be a great choice. I’m happy to explore the question with you. Email to book a free 30 minute consultation.

Death doulas or end-of-life doulas are frontline caregivers who offer healing care to families and patients during critical illness and the dying process. They are not about medical intervention – their training is in compassionate care and communication. They work individually or in teams, being available around the clock, filling the care gaps before, nearing and during death. As the Conscious Dying Institute notes, “The compassionate presence of an end-of-life doula increases quality life moments of the families and patients they serve. Their presence at bedside assures that families and loved ones can focus on what is most important throughout the dying time.” If you are looking for a doula, I can help refer you to someone in your area.

First of all, both are amazing resources, and both offer tremendous, much-needed support to families and the dying. Hospice is a medical service and end-of-life doulas are non-medical, so doulas can be an excellent adjunct to hospice care. Doulas offer compassionate emotional and practical support, can be available for more hours than hospice may have to offer, and they have an extensive end-of-life knowledge base. In the “olden days,” families had someone within the community or extended family who “knew what to do” for such a time as death. In current times, doulas seek to fulfill that same helpful, supportive role. 

A conscious dying coach focuses on supporting clients and families to identify a clear life fulfilling vision, at whatever stage of living or dying. This can help someone with a decline in health or terminal diagnosis shift from an unsatisfactory current reality to greater healing, well-being, and even a sense of peace. The coach focuses on the present moment and the future time remaining, supporting clients to create steps to achieve the best living and nearing death experience they can manage. As Barbara Karnes, nurse and author, says: “There is no such thing as dying – we are living until our last breath.”

An end-of-life doula provides hands-on care to patients and families nearing and during the dying process, while an end-of-life coach provides end-of-life care planning through tools such as the Best 3 Months coaching process. The role of an end-of-life doula would focus primarily on providing bedside care and sitting vigil. The role of a coach would be to facilitate planning sessions and healing conversations with patients and loved ones as they prepare for a death.

7-week Best 3 Months course: $320

Best 3 Months 1:1 with Diane: $675 for 6 sessions

Hourly consultation with Diane: $65/hr

*scholarships available

At this time, I do not, but I can refer you to many excellent, compassionate doulas who do.

Not at this time. Stay tuned and we’ll see what the future has to offer. In the meantime, grab a cup of tea in your living room, and we’ll meet on Zoom.

I do not. Part of the value in the work is the back and forth between the coach and the client. Much can be gained as questions are asked and possibilities are explored. On the other hand, in a way, Best 3 Months is a self study course. The more time and thought you put into it, the more you will take away from it.

That is really up to each individual. For some, it might be relaxing in the middle of a living room, with lots of family and friends about. For others it might mean a quiet room with just a few caregivers. Most of us want to die with little pain, and I believe that with good palliative and hospice care, that really is possible. What’s a conscious death? Whatever that means to you, but you have to ask the question and dig around a little, to find your answer. And then – what can you put in place to help yourself and your loved ones arrange what you hope to have, as best as possible? If you don’t think about it and tell someone about it, you are less likely to get what you hope for. I want to help people think about the unthinkable, and then figure out how and with whom they want to share their visions for what is possible..

Well, I do love how nature sometimes aligns with us in synchronistic ways, but does the nature moment in this video mean ‘stop right there’ or ‘I love it keep going’? Signs seem to be in large part about the interpretation of them. Check out a sign from nature I received: https://youtu.be/KXta8azjDtI

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