Cartoon image of an elderly woman with gray hair dressed in a dark cloak stirring something in a big black pot over a fire

Life Coach.  Death Doula.  

I am here to walk with you in the dark.


Providing existential coaching and death positive end-of-life doula services, serving the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities with polyam-, neurodivergence-, and trauma-aware care.

What is a Death Doula?

There are as many answers to this question as there are death doulas. Deathwork is as old as memory, but many practices have been lost in the last hundred years. Death doulas are working to reclaim these practices and reintegrate death with life. We often work with individuals, families, and communities who are facing a death (whether due to a terminal illness or a sudden loss) to provide emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual support. This might include planning a funeral, creating legacy projects, assisting with deathcleaning, providing companionship for a dying person or respite for a caretaker, keeping vigil with a dying person, conducting a home funeral, and many other acts of support and care.

    Image with pink background and small decorations of tea cups, tea bags, flowers and hearts with the text Death, like tea, is an experience best shared. Lieutenant Worf sort of

    I work with people who:

    • are facing a terminal diagnosis and seek support in preparing for death and in the dying process,
    • are facing a death in their family or community and need support with complicated grief,
    • are serving as caregivers and need support with difficult emotions,
    • wish to explore their relationship with death in a supported way, and
    • seek support in unacknowledged grief, such as pregnancy loss, pet loss, chronic illness, a parent’s decline, or loss in nontraditional relationships.

    Because of my family obligations, I am not always available to sit vigil during the dying process. However, I view this as a sacred act and will always find ways to support families and communities who wish to do so. Let’s talk about it.

    Existential Coaching

    Many of us have heard of life coaches but may not know exactly what a life coach does. The truth is, different coaches naturally have different styles informed by their experiences and worldviews.


    My approach to coaching is grounded in activism. I am explicitly anti-racist and pro-LGBTQUIA+. In my experience, we learn and grow when we approach difficulties with curiosity and compassion. When I work with coaching clients, I bring philosophy, science, and sociology together to help with questions around purpose, identity, worthiness, and place in the world.


    Guiding principles:

    * A balance of autonomy and connection fosters growth.

    * Hard emotions are part of the human experience and are not to be denied or rejected.

    * Undoing oppression requires personal work.  

    * Curiosity and compassion are powerful tools for change. Shame is not.

    * Unlearning shame is an act of care for ourselves and for the world.

    * We are all capable of joy.

    * We are all innately worthy and lovable.

    Daily Affirmations I am fire I am death - Smaug


    Coaching sessions: $150/hour

    Deathwork: $100-$200/hour; Melissa will provide a proposal after an initial consultation.

    Reparations: Melissa provides a limited number of low-or no-cost coaching sessions to the BIPOC community every month.  Please contact her with questions.  There is no application process.

    Pink background with sprinkles of hearts flowers and skulls. Text reads Born worthy. Die worthy.

    About Melissa

    I am mom to one teenaged daughter and keeper of the snacks for a collection of rescue pets and backyard chickens.  I live in a little house full of yarn, houseplants, Mason jars, and cool bones.

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