20 11, 2014

Laughing About Tombstones: Living in Focus

By | 2014-11-20T00:12:20-08:00 November 20th, 2014|Inspiration, Planning Ahead|14 Comments

Last week, at one of our workshops, we were asked to take a minute to think about and write down our epitaph. We were told that we could include the year we wanted to die (why not?) and were reminded to keep our text brief as only so many characters will fit.  This is the second time I've been asked to do this. I don't remember what I wrote the first time (not a good sign) so I was eager to participate in this exercise again. If I couldn't remember my epitaph, it had to have been bad. When we [...]

22 10, 2014

An Interview with a Cancer Patient: Kori and Breast Cancer

By | 2014-10-22T21:30:55-07:00 October 22nd, 2014|General|18 Comments

  I've known Kori for a LONG time. Her story is one that can only be described as miraculous on steroids. For a long time Kori's story was drug addiction, alcoholism, theft, and prison. Change began happening in her and soon treatment and recovery were added to her story. At last, this year saw opening up before her a life of integrity and freedom that she began living with a tenacity and grace that amazed me. Then, 134 days ago, she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I sat down with her the day after her last chemo treatment to see [...]

10 09, 2014

“I Remember” || What to Say About 9/11 & Grief

By | 2014-09-10T20:45:50-07:00 September 10th, 2014|Ceremonies|31 Comments

  For a person in grief, there are almost no two sweeter words than, "I remember ..." Those two words begin stories, spark memories, open old joys, and bring feelings back to us with blazing clarity. On a day like today I wondered, what would I write for this mortuary blog? what is there to say still about this infamous, monumental, and mournful day? And the only thing that came back to me was this: I remember. I grieve 9/11 each year. Last week I felt a nausea settle over me as I thought of the day's events and anticipated [...]

23 07, 2014

Why Thinking About Death is Actually Good for You

By | 2014-07-23T23:11:57-07:00 July 23rd, 2014|Inspiration|45 Comments

It seems that most people generally fall into one of these two categories when it comes to thinking about death; 1. Total Avoidance: Death freaks you out, you don't like how it makes you feel so you choose not to think about it (because that's going to help). Some people cope with their fear of death by dieting, working out, and worrying about their body. Others are fearful of taking risks or doing potentially dangerous things, even basic sports. People can live their lives in bubbles from a fear of dying when they are arguably, in far more danger of [...]

4 02, 2014

What Helps When You’re on the Front Line? | A Cancer Journey

By | 2014-02-04T20:46:26-08:00 February 4th, 2014|Resources & Information|50 Comments

  This is Part III of my story, to read Part I, or Part II, click here. { my husband Lou was diagnosed with cancer and given months to live. this is what happened to both of us as his life drew to an end. the people that touched me were angels and not many people read this part of the story. if you know someone on the front lines like i was, here's what you can do to help } Photo Courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/ajt It was amazing to us how quickly Lou lost basic strength and the [...]

20 11, 2013

We all have dates that changed our lives. This is mine.

By | 2013-11-20T18:52:43-08:00 November 20th, 2013|General|44 Comments

August 2, 2000 – We all have dates that changed our lives. This is mine. My mother, brother, and I were pulling in the driveway from the grocery store, when my grandmother, Aunt, and Uncle came walking up. Photo Courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/bestdesigns Every one of them had a look of pain in their face, and my grandmother’s eyes were red and swollen. I remember my grandmother asking to speak with my mom in private.  So my brother and I stayed and put the groceries away. I vividly remember looking at my brother, who was only 7 at the [...]

8 10, 2013

Change of Seasons and 3 Ways to Embrace Autumn

By | 2013-10-08T23:00:51-07:00 October 8th, 2013|General|39 Comments

A snapshot from my camping trip in Pescadero, CA Fall is my favorite time of year because it is nature’s pause. We start to see a beautiful transformation with the trees changing from a vibrant green to a crunchy orange. The carefree attitude of the summer months shift into a comfy, cozy frame of mind during late September and October. I get excited for the crisp weather and the pumpkin flavored goodies, like pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin biscotti that line the market aisles. With all the physical changes that happen around us, what changes are happening within us? [...]

21 08, 2013

If Humans Had Expiration Dates, Would We Live Differently?

By | 2013-08-21T06:00:57-07:00 August 21st, 2013|Inspiration|49 Comments

If you knew the exact day that you were going to die, how would you deal with that information? Mark TwainPhoto Courtesy of http://cherrybam.tumblr.com/post/50626391123 I think about dying everyday, it is one of the blessings and curses of my chosen profession. Being a funeral director has added an interesting perspective to my life and overall I look at this point of view as a blessing. But like anyone else, there are times when I forget all the lessons that come with this perspective. I can easily get caught up with life’s fast pace and miss out on the [...]

24 07, 2013

Diversity in Death: Lessons Learned from A Giant, 2 Families, and a Hare Krishna

By | 2013-07-24T05:05:48-07:00 July 24th, 2013|Ceremonies|14 Comments

Diversity is a constant in life. It teaches us how to be flexible under stress, to appreciate ourselves and each other. Diversity tells us that it’s OK to be curious and ask questions, to live and let live. Diversity isn’t always drastic. Subtle diversity can yield the greatest experiences. But is there diversity in death?  Absolutely! I have served almost every kind of family you can think of in my 9 short years as a mortician. Families of strong faith and atheists, wealthy families and poor ones, families that can populate a small city and individuals who are the last [...]

22 05, 2013

Bringing Memories into the Future: Inspired by Mr. Gatsby

By | 2013-05-22T05:00:30-07:00 May 22nd, 2013|Inspiration, Self-Help|5 Comments

    "Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose." - The Wonder Years   I recently saw the new film, “The Great Gatsby” – it’s a breath-taking, jaw-dropping, and thoroughly enchanting representation of the novel. I absolutely loved it and walked out of the theater feeling far more haunted by the idea of Gatsby than I ever had before. I was caught by the memories, hopes & dreams that Gatsby clings to and works so hard to make come true. I won’t spoil any of [...]