top of page

my grief journeys

Grief is a part of everyone's lives, and we all have multiple grief journeys. Here are some of mine, which have impacted my life, shaped my perspective, and ultimately led to my practice. As a content warning, I discuss divorce, miscarriage, abortion, and death.

my divorce

In 2017, I had just completed my PhD. I was in a stable marriage, had a promising tenure-track academic career at a major university, and called Tucson my home. But deep within myself, I knew something was off. Following my intuition, I made the courageous decision to walk away from the stability that no longer resonated with my authentic self. I walked away from the stability of my marriage, my career, and my financial security. 

While I felt empowered by my choice to get a divorce, the magnitude of grief that I experienced was surprising to me. I found myself in uncharted emotional territory, grappling with feelings of isolation and failure. It seemed like everyone I had ever known, even friends I hadn't spoken to in years, reached out to provide what they thought was "support." However, their well-intentioned advice often centered on how I should "save" my marriage, which only deepened my sense of isolation and failure.

I struggled to communicate my needs and boundaries to my family and inner circle. Some close friends and family members stopped reaching out, perhaps because they were unsure of what to say or how to help. In the midst of my own grief, I realized that the journey through divorce is often a profoundly lonely one, and many individuals find themselves navigating it without adequate support.

It was during this season that I made a promise to myself: no one I knew going through a divorce would ever have to endure it alone. My own experience opened my eyes to the immense need for empathy, understanding, and a compassionate presence during this vulnerable time. I began reaching out to my friends who were going through divorces, offering them encouragement, a listening ear, and unwavering support.

Over time, what started as a personal mission to provide solace to friends in distress evolved into a meaningful practice of support for those experiencing the profound grief of divorce. I became a grief doula, guiding individuals through the emotional landscape of divorce with the same empathy and compassion that I sought and found lacking during my own journey.

If you find yourself on a similar journey through divorce, know that you don't have to face it alone. I am here to walk beside you, offering empathy, compassion, and the assurance that, in time, healing is possible. Together, we can navigate the grief, find resilience, and embrace a brighter future.

my abortions and miscarriages

My path to parenthood has been marked by the profound experiences of loss, choice, and the enduring power of support. It's a journey I'm grateful to share with you today.

For over four years, I embarked on the emotional rollercoaster of trying to conceive. Each month, I eagerly awaited those two pink lines on the pregnancy test, hoping that this would be the moment when my dream of becoming a parent would finally come true. But month after month, my heart sank as the tests showed up negative. I felt as though my body was failing me, and the weight of that disappointment was crushing.

Amidst this struggle, I faced a different kind of grief. Three times, I experienced the heart-wrenching pain of miscarriage. Each time, it felt like my body had betrayed me, leaving me with a deep sense of loss and self-blame. I couldn't help but wonder if there was something I could have done differently, or if it was somehow my fault.

Twice, I made the decision to opt for surgical abortions to terminate pregnancies. One was due to a miscarriage that wouldn't pass on its own, and the other was for a pregnancy that I couldn't support financially, logistically, or emotionally. While I felt empowered by my choices and wanted to act swiftly, I also carried the weight of knowing that my life could have taken a much different trajectory. The grief of envisioning a future that looked distinct from my current reality was a heavy burden to bear.

Throughout this journey, I found solace and relief through the unwavering support of my partners, friends, and the incredible activists who advocate for reproductive justice. They stood by my side, providing comfort and understanding during moments of grief and decision-making. Their presence reminded me that I was not alone, and empowered me to reclaim my bodily autonomy. These experiences have shaped my deep commitment to supporting people who are navigating the complex and often emotionally fraught terrain of abortion and loss.

the death of my father

My world stopped when my dad died, following a sudden cardiac event that left him on life support for a month. My relationship with my dad was close, but had always been emotionally complex. He had battled poor health for years, and I had convinced myself that I was prepared for his eventual death. I thought I had done my grieving in advance, and that I knew what to expect. What I learned is that you cannot pre-grieve loss. The emotions that flood our souls when we lose a beloved are unpredictable, and we can't fully anticipate how grief will meet us.

When my dad died, I was overwhelmed by a surge of anger. Instead of tears, my predominant emotion was rage. It felt like a storm brewing inside me, and I couldn't find a way to connect with my family. They didn't do anything wrong; it was just that my grief showed up as anger and isolation. I realized that I needed to process my grief with people outside my immediate family. My mother had lost her husband, and my siblings had lost their dad. They were all dealing with their unique experiences of profound grief. My feelings of anger, regret, and confusion were mine to carry and share with those who could support me.

I turned to understanding friends and support systems who were not directly connected to my family. I vented to my closest friends and my partners. I laughed, I cried, I shouted, and I spun out. I experienced the excruciating depths of grief over losing my father, who had been the archetypal figure in my life, a symbol of the complexity of human relationship. Having a separate container to hold this grief enabled me to show up for my mom, my siblings, and my children in a way that was stable, connective, and present, while still taking care of myself and being authentic to my own experience. I aspire to be that container for others.

the death of my grandmother and my transition to death doula

One morning, I received a phone call from my mom delivering the news that my grandmother, whom we affectionately called Gamma, was dying. With a heavy heart, I boarded a flight to Florida to say my goodbyes.

Until that moment, death had always been a source of fear for me. I was often preoccupied with thoughts of mortality, but those thoughts were accompanied by an unsettling sense of avoidance and even terror. The unknown aspects of death filled me with trepidation, and I struggled to come to terms with the inevitable part of life it represented.

But when I arrived in Florida and spent time with Gamma in her home during her final days, something remarkable happened. While I had expected to be overwhelmed with fear or even repulsion as I witnessed her body dying, it was instead as if I were remembering something I had long forgotten. In that sacred space by her side, I felt an intuitive knowledge awaken within me. I knew how to support her with tenderness and grace, from changing her clothes and changing her chux, to talking to her and singing, to just holding her hand. I wasn't afraid of the practical aspects of her care, like catheter changes, or the signs of her body's decline, like her labored breathing. Instead, I felt a profound sense of empowerment, as though I were being guided by generations who had come before me.

In those transformative days, I knew I had discovered my calling – to be a presence of comfort and companionship for people as they journey to death. It was the birth of my path as a death doula. I knew deep in my heart that this was the work I was meant to do. Without hesitation, I embarked on my journey into this calling. I sought out training and courses to deepen my understanding of the sacred process of death, and how to accompany individuals in it. 

My transformation from fear to empowerment has fueled my passion for this sacred work, and I am committed to being a comforting presence for those who are facing the end of their earthly journey.

bottom of page