Yes! To every word! Thanks for this piece.

Granting permission to die. You’ve probably heard this phrase. Folks say it helps the dying person to surrender if their loved ones give them permission to go. I’ve always appreciated the consensual tenderness behind this theory and when it comes to an expected, slowly-progressing death I’d say it’s worth a try. Can’t hurt, might help. But what about the unexpected, tragic deaths? Where does permission come from? Is it just easier to let go into the Great Unknown when death takes us by surprise?

I recently heard a critical care EMT say that when the victims of tragic accidents ask…

In Memory of Chris Bradley

Photo courtesy of Jason Bradley-Krauss

It was spring when we bought the house across the street from The Weatherman. His lawn was bursting with dahlias and neatly-trimmed boxwoods. The view out our bedroom window was nothing less than perfection. Pulling the curtains open each morning was like revealing a French impressionist painting. I wondered briefly if looking at a lawn like this every day was a blessing or a curse. I made a mental note to buy a rake, a garden hose, and Googled, “How do you edge a sidewalk?”

Unlike the rest of the neighborhood — and the city of Columbus and all of…

How much time did you spend planning your wedding? Or your divorce, for that matter? What about your kid’s bat mitzvah? Your 50th birthday? Your retirement? Adopting a child? And I know you didn’t wait until your baby was crowning to educate yourself on labor and delivery.

We put a lot of thought and planning into life’s beginning and middle, so why not the end? Alright, so it’s not as fun and it’s not as easy but it’s just as important.

Most of us are sheltering-in-place right now which seems as good a time as any to talk about this…


After a stressful week of college applications (and some high school-level anxiety and depression) my 16-year old asked me to take her phone for a week. I happily obliged. This is pretty much how the entire first day went — a kind of social detox. Being a kid is harder and weirder than it used to be.

What the limitations of corporate hospice tell us about the future of community deathcare

This is something I’ll never get used to as a hospice volunteer — going to check on a patient and walking into an empty room.

Communication is everything. It’s the means by which we express ourselves, ask for what we need, share our stories, tell each other what feels good, where it hurts.

Communication is how I came to know M. It’s how I learned she once had a garden filled with gladiolas. It’s how I understood that she wanted a pink straw shoved through the aluminum tab on every can of Coke I held for her.

M died this…

It’s been in the news, for the last few days, that Valerie Harper is nearing the end of her life. She has brain cancer and her healthcare team has determined that the treatments prescribed for her are no longer effective. That’s bad news for Valerie and her family but it’s not unlike the news that millions of us have faced, or are facing, or will face in the future. …

Experts agree that denying death causes serious mental issues, and when we bury it, it doesn’t stay put. Shelden Solomon has made a career out of studying what death awareness does to our behavior and mental wellness. In over 600 lab experiments, he’s found that reminders of death affect almost everything. In a 2018 interview at Vice, Solomon and his colleagues summarized their findings: acknowledging that we’ll die, facing our fears, and practicing acceptance, makes us better people and more grateful for our experiences.

The fear of death is one of the greatest forms of stress hurting human health. Understanding…

Moons: Stella Maria Baer

Hello, friends! I am thrillled to announce the slow but steady opening of Columbus’ first community deathcare cooperative. We will be providing holistic support and education to dying persons, their families, and the community. As a volunteer at Kobacker Hospice for the last year and a half, I’ve learned a lot about the living and the dying and I’ve learned a lot about myself.

I’ve learned that I like difficult conversations and emotionally-charged moments. I appreciate tenderness and honesty and the kind of soul searching that comes at the end of a life. I am honored to work with the…

Five years ago today I said goodbye to a father I barely recognized. I sat perched on the edge of a flimsy nursing home mattress and said goodbye. I said, “I love you” and meant it. And this man, this father I barely recognized said, “I’m sorry.” He whispered, “Forgive me” and meant it, while floating in and out of a morphine dream.

My real father, the one I knew growing up, would never have apologized. He was too proud for that kind of thing. An apology would have had a domino effect — a string of sorrys collapsing into…

Donna Baker

Death Doula : Writer : Friend : Founder of Columbus Community Deathcare :

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