About Death Doula Danielle
Who am I and Why do I do this work?
My Near Death Experience
In 2013 I was hospitalized for over three months. Most of that time was in the ICU, on a ventilator. I experienced a blood clot in my lung, sepsis, kidney failure and continuous dialysis, perforated bowels from a medical error, multiple abdominal surgeries, a massive blood transfusion and a near death experience. I spent ten months at home with an ileostomy, a mucous fistula and a large, open abdominal wound before having a complete abdominal wall reconstruction surgery in April, 2014. These events taught me the sweet art of surrender, instilled in me an incredibly deep sense of compassion and empathy and completely negated any fears of death I had prior. I came back with a mission; I want to bring death back home, into the hands and hearts of our families and communities. Death, like birth, need not be a medical event. Allow me to help guide you and your family on this incredible journey. You've prepared for this trip your entire life; embark without fear and full of love.
I've worked in the medical field in some capacity for all of my adult life. I became an EMT at age 18 and worked on location at concerts, festivals and sporting events. I've worked in an ophthalmology clinic, in every position from the front office/receptionist to a clinical technician. During nursing school I worked night shift as a unit secretary and telemetry technician on a medical/surgical floor. Although I am no longer licensed, I was an ER/Trauma RN for several years and I now hold a National Phlebotomy Certification and travel working in the world of corporate health and wellness. Keeping people healthy has always been a passion of mine. After my NDE however, I no longer feel the same drive to "keep the body alive." I want to help people die with dignity, in peace and knowing that they are supported and held in love.
Mindfulness and Breathwork
I've come to recognize the significant impact that a consistent meditation practice has on my overall wellbeing. When I worked as an RN in the emergency room I was ignorant to the absolute necessity of self-care. I became burned out and resorted to substances to numb the anxiety and pain that I carried from unknowingly absorbing the physical and emotional energies of my patients. I am proud to say that I have been clean and free from the need to self-medicate since 2013. I believe that my hardships give me another depth of empathy and an ability to connect on many different levels with my clients.
I now understand that all of the losses I've experienced, the physical ailments I've endured, and the traumas I've dealt with were all leading me to this work. Preparing me to sit with the dying at the end of life. One human connecting with another, and that is more than enough.