“This is a moment for all of us to rethink death.” – Caitlin Doughty, Mortician & Activist
How did I get here?
As a teacher for over 30 years, I bring passion and creativity to the evocative subject of mortality. What is mortality? The definition is: “the state of being subject to death.” Through conversation around this often taboo topic, I hope to help others feel less afraid, develop clarity, and walk through life with a deeper understanding of themselves.In addition to being a teacher, I am also a mother, wife, dog-mom, daughter, and friend. I love to create and rarely find time to sit down, preferring instead to:
- Sew. I mostly create wild quilts with made up patterns. I’m intrigued by using up scraps, and I fulfilled my crafting dream by sorting all the fabric bits into more than a dozen baskets, by color.
- Walk and bike. After a very bad leg break while skiing in 2016 I became one of “those people” who works out a lot because I never want to break a bone like that again! My weak muscles and poor flexibility had contributed to the situation that caused my bone to shatter. So… exercise.
- Cook, which sometimes gets a little monotonous, but thanks to a wise friend, I’ve recently reframed the whole meal-planning-cooking-thing as “self care,” which, oddly, helps me do it, and then I mind the mundane aspect of daily cooking less.
- Read. For the past few years, I have read hardly any fiction, preferring instead books on death, loss, and grief. (Seriously.) My favorite books are gritty autobiographies, like The Glass Castle and Educated. This summer, however, I plan to read the Master and Commander series, because it is on my bucket list.
- Witness life. This includes soccer games, dance shows, homework challenges, driver tests, growing teenagers, growing middle-agers, the seasons, and the journeys of friends, both literally and metaphorically.
- Practice. Whether meditation, guided visualizations, creative time, silence, or breathwork.
- Relax with family and friends, pretty much always outside or around a dinner table.
But how did I get HERE? Inspired to be an end-of-life coach and educator?
Well, I think for me life has been like a series of stepping stones that I have followed, not always knowing where the path would lead.
I have been a classroom teacher (middle school and high school English) and a painting teacher (working with Michelle Cassou of Point Zero Painting). I became a mom at 40, and that became my focus for several years. In various ways I often found myself leading groups, or heading up volunteer projects, and I always found that role to be relaxing and fun — it was a surprise to me that not everyone likes to facilitate groups. For me, listening to stories and questions, feeling the way a discussion flows, guiding that without getting in the way — this is simple and joyful!
When my oldest daughter was around 4, my father-in-law was nearing the end of his life. A chaplain with hospice helped our family so much. I loved how she sat with us as we made tentative plans for what each day might bring and processed what was happening. She was steadfast, loyal and calm. She was “leading a group,” like I enjoyed doing, but on this intimate, personal level. One day (thinking maybe I could be like her when I grew up) I asked her, “How did you come to this line of work?” She told me had a Masters in Divinity, and I tucked that away for 10 years, while my children grew older, wondering, “Would I ever get something like a Masters in Divinity??”As our girls became teenagers, I felt it was time to follow the pull towards some role in end-of-life work, though I had no idea what that meant or how to do it. I didn’t yet know there was a way to study “conscious dying.” When a friend sat with me on our patio on a warm summer evening and began to tell me about the course she had just completed with The Conscious Dying Institute, called Sacred Passage End-of-Life Doula, I knew immediately that I wanted to sign up. She left my yard, and before she was out of the driveway, I was on the computer, checking the next course dates and signing up. That course led to another one, called Conscious Dying End-of-Life Coach and Educator, and when I launched my first Best 3 Months course on Zoom — I was hooked! Put simply: I am passionate about facilitating conversations about mortality that lead people to know what matters most to them.
Free 30-Minute Consultation with Diane
Best Life Best Death, since July 2021
Available on Apple and Spotify
- Nearly 10,000 listens
- Over 50 weekly episodes
- 5 Star reviews
Guest on Alexandra Jo (Death Decoded), Nicole Christina (Zestful Aging), Taylor Gallegos (Art and Life) and Jenn Junod (Sh!t You Don’t Want to Talk About) podcasts.
The Conscious Dying Institute – Tarron Estes
Sacred Passage Doula and Conscious Dying Coach
March – Sept 2020
Conscious Dying Educator
Oct 2020 – March 2021
Soul Passages – Sarah Kerr
What Happens After We Die? – Winter 2021
Crossing the Veil: A Ritual Map for Death & Bereavement – Winter 2021
Grief and Loss as Initiation – Fall 2021
Going with Grace – Alua Arthur
Expanding Your Toolbox – Spring 2022
Birth, Breath, Death – Amy Wright Glen
Understanding Trauma for Birth and Death Doulas – Fall 2022
The Conscious Dying Institute
Sacred Passage Doula and Conscious Dying Coach – March 2021-
Conscious Dying Educator – Nov 2021 – Feb 2022 and Aug 2022 –
Best Life Best Death
Multiple courses of Best 3 Months Sept 2020-present
- NEDA – National End of Life Doula Alliance
- INELDA – International End of Life Doula Association