The following people are listed here as a resource for anyone on need of end-of-life planning in Maine. Each of our Advisors has their own expertise and can provide invaluable knowledge on the subject of death and dying. Feel free to reach out to any of them for more information.
For other states, Home Funeral Guides provided a list of home funeral experts, or ask your local Funeral Consumers Alliance affiliate.
I’m a retired librarian, a woodworker and home funeral educator. My father's death was a very personal experience right up to his death; he was in his own bed with his wife and four kids touching him when he died. I wanted to be part of what would happen next but had no idea of what I could do, so we called a funeral director, who whisked Dad away, and four days later we got a box of ashes in the mail. When I learned what I could have done, I started talking about home funerals, not trying to convince anyone but to give those interested the information they would need to have the experience I wanted. Eventually I wrote this website and I continue to share what I have learned about funerals in general and home funerals in particular with anyone willing to listen. As a woodworker, I of course make coffins (there are several free plans on the Coffins page) and I actively assist anyone who wants to create a green cemetery. With my librarian background it's no wonder that I love answering questions: I'm very good on the details, and I know how to find any answer I don't already know. Don't be shy about contacting me – you can't possibly ask too many questions.
An active member of Trinity Episcopal Church, Klara is involved there with the music and bereavement ministries. Out of her experiences with the death of her parents including doing a home funeral for her mother, she is committed to teaching others about after death care. In that capacity, Klara provided advisory support through Last Things and has also served on the Board of the Funeral Consumer's Alliance. She especially likes to offer workshops in churches, encouraging them to recapture rather than abdicate their role in after death care.
Klara is the Executive Director of The Center for Wisdom's Women, a drop in center for women in a high risk, low income neighborhood of Lewiston that is an outreach of Trinity Episcopal Church. Re-starting and running this small non-profit is an encore career for her. She has an MEd in Religious Education and Post Master's Certificate in Spirituality from Boston College and worked for 20 years as a religious educator in the Episcopal Church, first at St. Paul's in Brunswick and later as the religious education consultant for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. Her book Living Water: Baptism as a Way of Life (Church Publishing, 2002), is a reflection about living your faith in everyday life. Klara also dabbles in Biblical storytelling. She lives in Auburn with her cat Oliver and dog Sophie.
The death of her brother Kevin in 2008 had a profound impact on Kate Brown’s life. Observing her own grief and sense of loss for her only sibling inspired much self-reflection and has provided a clearer path for her desire to serve. As an Ordained Interfaith Chaplain and hospice volunteer, Kate is grateful for the life stories she is privileged to hear. As a group facilitator for The Center for Grieving Children, Kate has helped to provide space for widows, widowers and families to share the ups and downs of their grief process.
Kate is a certified Advance Care Planning Facilitator, qualified to help patients and families discuss and document end-of-life decisions. She is inspired to educate and empower individuals and communities about the importance of Advance Care Planning. A trained Home Funeral Guide and Death Midwife, Kate also officiates funerals and weddings. Kate lives in Kennebunk with Rusty and Mike, an irreverent feline and well-trained husband respectively. When not engaged in Last Things, Kate can be found in her kayak, on her yoga mat or tending to her bees.
I am a retired nurse who spent many years providing end-of-life care. I was grateful to be able to provide some comfort for those who were challenged with an end-of-life diagnosis and learned how important it was to educate about end-of-life issues.
I lost a daughter to murder and a husband to suicide. Thru the work I have done moving through these experiences I have come to a place where I can support others who may travel this road. I am an Ordained Interfaith Minister, a Life-Cycle Celebrant, and currently in training as an End-of-life Doula, Death Doula and Mourning Doula. As an Interfaith minister I offer spiritual or non-spiritual care to all. As a Life-cycle Celebrant I can provide customized ceremonies for funerals, memorial services, and any other events. I also offer help with end-of-life planning and grief support.
Angela first volunteered for Hospice when she was 17 and has since continued to return to the work of being with people in the tender and often groundless spaces of dying, grieving and transition. She has been a practicing Buddhist since 1994 and has continued to study religion and spirituality broadly, learning from and working with people of many traditions, inclinations and faiths. She is compelled to work with diverse people and communities in helping foster deeper knowledge of and reconnection to our shared humanity and the foundational sacredness of our living and dying.
Angela holds a Master of Divinity from Naropa University and is a Board Certified Interfaith Chaplain. Since 2011 she’s worked as a hospice chaplain in Western Maine and in the fall of 2018 transitioned into working for Hospice of Southern Maine. Prior to that, she worked in Seattle with veterans in inpatient psych, the ICU, outpatient PTSD clinics and addictions treatment. She has been a teacher and leader of ritual in the Shambhala Buddhist Community and continues to study and practice with several teachers in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. She trained with Jerrigrace Lyons in California and Zenith Virago in home funeral guidance and death midwifery. She is currently enrolled in Mortuary School, exploring the possibility of obtaining licensure as a Funeral Director. In the Spring of 2018 she started the nonprofit Good Ground Great Beyond, which aims to acquire land for another green burial site and to build a legal open air cremation pyre in the Midcoast area. Though she maintains a busy schedule, she remains available to help families navigate the process of caring for their deceased and is always open to talk.
She lives in Brunswick with her husband Toby, an acupuncturist and all around uniquely present and strange healer creature and their simultaneously tender and tough red heeler, Basho.
I’m a gypsy, a healer, a wanderer and a dreamer, a lover and an empath, a musician and daughter, a friend and a jokester, a student and a teacher, an adventurer and a homebody, a perfect contradiction in an amazing life.
I have worn many different hats in the past 37 years, early on as a musician, then a computer programmer. In my 20’s I re-trained into nursing seeking a greater purpose in my life. I have spent most of my free time making amazing friends and traveling the world, my wanderlust is difficult to suppress. The time has come however, for a new adventure!
So now it continues, that seeming contradiction that takes me in a new direction with Changing the Face of Dying. I have an immense love for the work that I’ve done for the past 10 years as a registered nurse. However, as much as I am constantly amazed and inspired by my field and the colleagues with whom I work, I recognize there are situations where we must improve. Out of that repeated experience comes this work, my efforts to change the way we view the end-of-life and the choices and experiences that come with it.
I have spent years in the health care field, first as a patient, later on as a registered nurse in hospitals and emergency rooms across the country, and now as an advocate, an educator, a planner and a doula in the end of life process. It continually amazes me how things come full circle.
This work, this is my passion, never before has something caused my heart such fullness than working to improve the end-of-life for as many people as possible across this country. We sit on the precipice of a changing world, technological and medical advances through the last 50 years have changed the paradigm in which we live and people are beginning to respond. No longer do we live in a world of primarily short and tragic death, most of us now face long life spans and slow decline due to physical breakdown, chronic disease and illness. In light of these changes we must alter the way we view death, as a sudden traumatic event, and begin to view it as a topic of planning, education and choice, much like other events in our lives. For years we’ve planned for education, milestone birthdays, life-altering events such as childbirth, retirement etc. Where we have failed to plan for so many years is the one other certain event in our time-lines besides birth. Much like birth, there is no golden guarantee that all our finely laid plans can be executed to the tiniest detail, but without planning, without talking about our choices and desires for end-of-life, it is almost a certainty, that our wishes will go unfulfilled.
I work with individuals and families as they enter the times of life where these plans are essential to maintaining personal priorities, goals and wishes. For some I facilitate the necessary conversations, for others I'm at the bedside during the hours of death to help family caregivers and patients alike through the difficult but inescapable experience of death. For others, I work with them through the continuum. I also work to educate through speaking and writing on these issues, through running Death Cafes and community education initiatives.
In all I do there is one common thread - the idea that we have choices in our later years and by embracing them, learning of them and actively making them known we foster the best chances of living life on our terms and in our definition of quality to the end.