"The passing of a loved one is a tremendously difficult journey, but Jae's involvement as a doula during our mother's passing was a huge blessing and provided great comfort for us in an otherwise dark time in our lives. Over the course of three months, Jae counseled us through the journey of our mother's final days. Specifically, she:
- visited our three homes-- my house, my sister and nephew's apartment, and the studio we rented for our mother's hospice stay
- provided us with helpful guidelines and signs to look for as our mother's time grew imminent
- proactively followed up with us, even when there was less activity happening and there were not major updates or changes to our situation
- sat with us for hours during the imminent time and individually spoke with each of us about the situation
- brought flowers and organized the logistics with the funeral home when the time came
- kindly delivered our mother's remains (which we had turned to rocks) to our homes
More important than her actions, however, was the manner in which she approached each of us and our feelings around this situation. She would always choose her words carefully and asked us questions thoughtfully and sensitively.
It was an honor to have her presence guide us through our mother's final chapter in this lifetime."
- RAY, BB, AIDAN & BEN
Jae, your first visit to our home brought comfort to Graham and me. Your second visit brought guidance to the kids and me. I’m most grateful for the suggestion that we light candles and thank Graham for all that he brought into our lives. The children and I will remember that forever."
- ANASTASIA AUKEMAN
"Jae and Alden were gifts to our family. Last fall my wife and I discovered one of our twin sons would be stillborn. We were tasked with finding a way to greet our living son and say goodbye to our deceased son at the same time. Somehow, we needed to find a way to make room for both the joy and the grief.
In both, Jae and Alden were our companions and our guides. They both spent time with us before the birth to talk through our expectations, help us prepare for the physical and emotional experience, and help plan the logistics. There were a host of steps involved in preparing for the stillbirth--deciding on burial vs. cremation, figuring out how we wanted to honor our son Aster, and involving family--and they guided us through beforehand so we could focus only on our children on the day of the birth. To be honest, I don’t know how we would have managed without them. They thought of everything so that we didn’t have to.
Jae worked with us for the birth. Alden served as her backup. When Jae walked into our hospital room on the day of our delivery, I watched my wife breathe more deeply and gain the confidence she needed to bring our babies into the world. She coached my wife through the delivery of our son Jude, who came first, and she helped us to feel confident connecting to him. When Aster arrived, she was a steady presence, able to sit with our mix of emotions without fear. Jae also introduced us to Amy Cunningham, the compassionate funeral director who helped arrange for Aster’s cremation, worked with the hospital so that our son would never need to be placed in the morgue, and led a small ceremony for us and our families in our hospital room.
I do not wish our particular experience on anyone, but should you find yourself in a moment of crisis--one that you expect, or one that you cannot predict--you will find no women stronger and more steady than Jae and Alden to come through it alongside you."
- JESSI HEMPEL
"Working with Jae during the last dying days of my father's life contributed to the sense of peace and healing we experienced, by fully allowing myself to be turned over to the death and grief process. Jae gave us permission to do things that are human and natural, like massage my father's feet with oil, and get very close to his face to ensure he could see us: things that are so very important for creating love and connection, but that healthcare providers often fail to tell us. Jae and our funeral director, Amy Cunningham, led us through some rites of passage after my father died, and gave us time at home with the body. We included our children in honoring my father's body, washing it, dressing him, preparing him. During the last days of his life, Jae gave my mother, sister and I an opportunity to come together, slow down, and think about / speak what was important to us, and that process was SO important. We had been functioning as highly efficient caretakers around the clock, but so often it is in the slowing down that we can see the person in front of us, what they are saying to us as they leave. Jae guided us to find our own natural source of strength and love to envelope my father in, as well as support each other. It is partly due to Jae's presence in our lives and the way my father's death transformed me/us, that I am embarking on my own death doula training."
- RESHAM MANTRI