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I made a promise to my brother, Bobby that he would not die alone after accepting the enormous responsibility to be not only his advocate, but also his health care proxy. The long flight from Phoenix, AZ to Albany, NY is one I will never forget. I had a big decision to make. My brother's health declined drastically and he was unresponsive. When I walked into his hospital room, he opened his eyes, we chatted briefly and said, "I love you" to each other. I was hopeful that he'd come around. Shortly thereafter, he went into a coma. It was time; his time. I was sitting bedside holding his hand when he took his last breath surrounded by family and the women he loved profoundly. Holding vigil for my brother was an extraordinarily beautiful experience that I will always cherish. Robert Michael Cook was one of the best men I knew and loved so deeply. He is in large part the reason I am an End of Life Doula.
A Soul's Awakening
During the summer of 2017, at 46 years old, I had my first soul awakening. I woke up one Saturday morning with the nudge to paint. I headed to the art supply store, purchased a bunch of supplies and started painting and drawing. Unbeknownst to me, I have talent. Before I could draw my next breath, my artwork was displayed in two restaurants. In my first year, I sold 11 paintings and participated in three art exhibits. Aside from being an incredible wife to a saint of a husband and a pet mom to five magnificent poodles, I am a professional artist. A few months after I started painting, I learned about this thing called Death Doula from a friend. God Himself might as well have paid me a visit. I knew without a shadow of a doubt my higher self was being called to serve others through their end of life. Through my Doula training, I stumbled upon how Reiki can reduce stress, lessen pain, and create inner calm and harmony at the end of life. It helps with letting go and moving more peacefully across the threshold. Through three degrees of separation, I found a well renown and gifted Master Reiki teacher, or she found me. My artwork and energy work as a Reiki Master are integral to creating a meaningful, peaceful, and overall positive dying experience.
A Soul's Awakening
I have trained as an End of Life Doula with International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA) and the University of Vermont, Larner College of Medicine. I am also hospice trained as an eleventh hour companion. Additionally, I have always been interested in healing and the mind, body, spirit connection. With my desire to serve others, I am trained in an array of healing modalities.
When my dad was diagnosed with A.L.S. also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, I was nine years old. In 1981, he passed away nine months from the time of his diagnosis. When I look back, this was when my care giving journey started. Although just a little girl, I was lock-in-step with my mom when it came to caring for my dad. There was nothing that she wouldn't do for him. Mom was a rock star and the pillar of strength for our entire family. After dad passed away, mom's emotional well-being suffered greatly. She battled with mental illness most of her life. A topic not openly discussed and a disease that was often swept under the rug. With two older brothers, 15 and 17 years my senior, married with kids, I was my mom's saving grace. She needed me. Thus, I became her pillar of strength through the ups-and-downs of life until I laid her to rest in 2012.
As part of my End of Life Doula journey, I have facilitated dignity therapy and life reviews, ideated and helped with legacy projects, I've ghost written eulogies, and orchestrated life celebrations and remembrance events. My decades of professional experience planning and organizing large projects, including tending to people related organizational changes integrates seamlessly into all aspects of the work I do as an End of Life Doula at The Luminous Soul from helping you and your loved ones prepare for transition to vigil and memorial planning.
I joyfully incorporate my training and experience with personal loss, yoga, meditation, light work, aromatherapy, herbalism, creative writing and painting, and storytelling to help those I work with to listen for their soul’s deepest calling, accessing meaning, purpose, and inner truth along the way.
Anam Cara, Celtic Origin
The soul shines all around the body like a luminous cloud. When you are open - appreciative and trusting - with another person, your two souls flow together. This deeply felt bond with another person means you have found your Anam Cara, "Soul Friend" or companion. Your Anam Cara, always beholds your light and beauty, and accepts you unconditionally for who you truly are.
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