I am a reasonably joyful, contemplative person with plenty of quirks who cries every day at both the beauty and the pain in the world. I'm a full Professor at Arizona State University, where I run the graduate Certificate in Trauma and Bereavement, and founder of the MISS Foundation.
Since 1996, I have worked with and counseled those affected by traumatic death through the MISS Foundation, most often the deaths of a children. I started the first therapeutic carefarm in the world for traumatic grief based on a framework for incorporating 40 domestic and farm animals rescued from abuse, torture, neglect, and homelessness. It's called Selah Carefarm. We were featured on Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry's Apple TV docuseries, "The Me You Can't See" in episode 4. I also served on their 'mental health' advisory board, along with 13 esteemed colleagues as part of the series. You can meet us all in the final town hall episode, "The Path Forward".
Here's a video about my work on the carefarm, where beauty and grief, love and sorrow, coexist.
My research has been published in peer reviewed journals such as The Lancet, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Omega Journal of Death and Dying, Journal of Mental Health Counseling, Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, and the International Journal of Nursing.
My best selling book, Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief, won the Indies Book of the Year Award. My next book of meditations, Grieving is Loving, was released in December of 2020 and my series of meditations for grief are now available on the Calm app. Audible published my teachings in The Great Courses, Understanding and Coping with Grief in 2023. And I keep a You Tube channel, Bits and Pieces, with micro-two-minute emotional wisdoms bits on traumatic grief.
On a personal note, ahimsa is at the core of my spiritual practice, and I am a fierce ethical vegan (animal free since the age of 7) and a registered yoga teacher. The best therapist I've ever known is my horse, Chemakoh. We met rather dramatically here.
I have endured many untimely deaths during the course of my early life. Both my parents when I was in my 30s. Then, my best friend and teacher died in 2004; and I have lost partners and many friends.
But July of 1994 changed the course of my life: the day my baby daughter died. Since then, I have committed my life to the service of others suffering traumatic deaths, as it was in the darkness when I truly found my self.
I am a mother to five children, now mostly grown, "four who walk and one who soars".