Trained and Certified by INELDA, the
International End-of-Life Doula Association
Born in Salem Oregon and raised in beautiful natural spaces I was weaned on storytelling, freedom to explore and deep respect for the power of community. From crossing moss covered natural tree bridges over ravines to racing bareback with my friends, I grew into the understanding that I am pioneer stock through and through.
I can remember my mom saying that she knew in her bones that she had crossed the Oregon Trail. I know in my bones, that I'm descended from those who accompanied people in their community who were dying.
A University of Oregon graduate, with extensive small group facilitation experience focused on internal growth and change, I chose INELDA as my end-of-life doula training organization in September 2015 and haven't looked back. I am a trained volunteer for Providence Hospice and NODA.
Using active listening, gentle nudging and coaching,
I’ll meet you where you are emotionally. Your personal values and situation are paramount. We’ll contemplate how to develop a Legacy Project in a way that feels true to who YOU are. We’ll establish a Vigil Plan for final days when speaking is diminished.
My life mantras are:
Say "yes" if you can.
I can do hard things.
People matter more than things.
Shop at home first.
Is this good enough?
What are your guiding wisdoms and how do you share them with your loved ones?
I'd be honored to explore this with you.
Certified through Momdoulary's Death and Mourning Doula Training Program (TM)
Years ago, the sudden loss of a friend from a tragic accident inspired my study of death and dying. When something freaks me out I study it - and boy was I freaked out! In the course of my studies, I learned of Death Doulas/Midwives and was fascinated by the idea.
I volunteered with hospice and knew I was on the right path. In 2015 I earned my End of Life Doula certification through the Momdoulary Death and Mourning Doula Training Program. I also volunteer with End of Life Choices Oregon and Northwest Pilot Project.
In the past 150 years or so, our society has turned deathcare over to “professionals”, after having done it ourselves since forever. The result has been our losing touch with a natural and profound part of life. Because any talk of death is generally avoided until something happens, people often don’t know what their loved ones would want, or what their options are, or what the process can look like.
As an end of life doula I am committed to giving deathcare back to families. Doulas are not more “professionals” to turn things over to - we are members of the community who want to help folks have the best experience possible when it comes to dying. My goal is to help families experience as much healing, love and yes, even humor,
as possible in their last months, weeks, and days together. I love the Ram Dass quote: “We’re all just walking each other home.” It is truly an honor to serve in this way.
On a personal note, a few of my favorite things are: my family, birds, trees, the moon, music, weird art, books, quiet, Halloween, and laughter - always laughter.
Sacred Passage Doula
Studied at the Conscious Dying Institute in Boulder CO
A strong believer in the power of personal development, Maryann is dedicated to her own continued growth while learning through all facets of her life.
Working with children with Autism and adults with disabilities taught Maryann how to be present and listen for unspoken needs. This led Maryann to a career as an Occupational Therapy Assistant which she has practiced in the Skilled Nursing rehab settings throughout the Portland Metro and Willamette Valley region since 2011. She is skilled in gently stepping into someone’s healing process to support problem solving, resource management, as well as physical and emotional change needed to empower her patients’ return to as safe and independent a life as possible.
The unexpected terminal diagnosis of her father in NY, resulting in his death at home 15 months later, offered Maryann the opportunity to utilize her therapeutic skills beyond the “curative” realm of the medical world. Frequent visits home to support her family included role modeling care and connection, respite care, advocating to treatment teams, and creating as much quality time as possible. Being bedside for her loved one during active dying, Maryann discovered her ability to be present during end of life transition.
Embarking on the healing journey of end of life education, Maryann became certified as an EOL Doula in 2016, studying at the Conscious Dying Institute in Boulder Colorado, alongside volunteering with Kindred Hospice and the End of Life Care Collaborative in which she was a core member.
Born and raised outside of New York City, Maryann is grateful for her early exposure to diversity of people, cultures and lifestyles. Now rooted in Oregon, she is also grateful for the abundant exposure to nature. She finds great pleasure in her continued world travels and the endless opportunities for learning while connecting to community, new people and places.
There are times when an ability to call on the skills and knowledge of qualified and vetted independent End-of-Life-Doula [EOLD] practitioners becomes a distinct advantage. While the working partners will always remain the backbone of Evening Star’s service model, contract EOLDs can and do provide our lead partner doulas with critical backup support for client care – as needed.
End of Life Doula
Trained with INELDA [International End of Life Association]
My life-long journey has prepared me well for this rich work as an end-of-life doula [EOLD], which I am dedicated to. I can remember my earliest initiation when as a teenager, I first read Jessica Mitford’s “The American Way of Death”, and could hardly reconcile it with my own vastly different “kinder and gentler” experience, whether as witness to or an active participant in my friends and family’s subsequent passings. With hands-on experience during both of my parent’s decline and home deaths, I saw firsthand, along with my sisters, how a peaceful, personalized and well-supported passage can make all the difference to a better outcome. Since then, I’ve been a champion for humanizing our cultural norms around death and dying in ways that it may be returned to us all for compassionate caregiving with heartfelt dignity.
And so, with a passion for the possible and an equal appetite for making it happen, I first entered this emerging field as a volunteer for hospice, which led me to train as an EOLD with INELDA’s program, and more recently, to hold a board position with NEDA [National End of Life Alliance] as chair of its Strategic Planning and Marketing Committee. In January, 2021, I will be completing an 8-week EOLD online certificate program with the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine.
With over 35 years-experience as a marketing and business professional across diverse fields including health care, education and internet technology, I am also a trained bioenergetic health practitioner in private practice.