Mary is a longtime community builder and connector who has spent more than 20 years working with and advising entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits. Mary produced our Summer 2019 Omega Home Network National Conference here in San Antonio. She became so drawn to ABODE that when the ED position opened, she jumped at the chance to contribute her skills, talents and passion to our organization. “Our staff and volunteers have the most beautiful ability to make our Guests feel welcomed, valued and celebrated,” Mary says. “What a wonderful way to touch people’s lives at the very end of their lives – it’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever experienced.” Mary is an ABODE Certified End-of-Life Doula.
A dedicated advocate for quality end of life care, MacKenzie works as an ABODE Navigator and overall amazing assistant in all we do at here. MacKenzie hopes her time at ABODE will improve the quality of end of life care in San Antonio and help take the fear out of dying for Guests.
Before joining ABODE, MacKenzie spent much of her career in the hospice sector. Her experience includes direct care as a CNA, care coordination, scheduling and intake. But, her heart has always drawn her to the nonprofit and non-medical side of end of life care.
MacKenzie is an ABODE Certified End of Life Doula. She holds a Masters in Human Services with a concentration in Grief Counseling from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA, and a Bachelors in Psychology from Hilbert College in Hamburg, NY. MacKenzie is an ABODE Certified End-of-Life Doula.
Claudia shares her calm, gentle and contemplative approach to care during our overnight shifts – typically the time most Guests pass away. She’s there to hold their hand and offer words of love and compassion and she walks them home. Claudia has been caring for people at end of life since she was 14 years old. “I was born to do this – I know I was,” Claudia says. “My experience all came together when my husband got sick last year. I knew what to do, and I was able to give him the love and care he needed most in his final days.”
Natalie is our Bedside Yoga instructor and recently joined us as an End-of-Life Navigator. She says she immediately fell in love with ABODE as soon as she walked through the door. “I had the privilege to be with my mom during her final moments,” Natalie says. “ABODE has allowed me to continue to show that same love and service to our Guests. I’m grateful for the opportunity to become very comfortable with death and the dying process.” Natalie is an ABODE Certified End-of-Life Doula.
A couple of years ago, Terry enrolled in Foundations of Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center. Learning contemplative care practices that can support those who are experiencing transitions like illness, dying, grief and loss has broken her heart open and given her a glimpse of what it feels like to live a wholehearted life of service.
When she heard about ABODE’s contemplative approach to end of life care, she hoped that would be the next step on her path. Just beginning her role as an End of Life Navigator, she is curious about how she can continue to serve the Guests who find their way to ABODE as they labor toward what lies ahead. Terry is an ABODE Certified End-of-Life Doula.
Crystal’s brother Joe was a recent Guest here at ABODE, and when we saw the love and compassion that she shared with him during her regular visits, we knew she would be a perfect match for our team. Crystal also cared for her mother in her last phase of life. Crystal is an avid athlete, noting that physical exercise keeps her grounded and stronger emotionally. “I love ABODE,” she says. “It’s a great place to learn about death…and life.”
In death-work, Sarah listens deeply to what it means to be alive, humbled by the intimacy of bearing witness, and in daily practice of being with the unknown. She is committed to the continuance of care of each Guest, even after they have taken their last breath – offering ritual, song and presence. They feel it is truly an honor to companion those in their final act of living. Sarah is an ABODE Certified End-of-Life Doula.
John has been with ABODE since the beginning. His love and attentive care for our Guests is a living example of our mission, vision and values. Some of John’s empathy for hospice patients and their families comes from his personal experience of caring for his first wife who died over 20 years ago from cancer, leaving John a grieving widower with their children – the youngest a six-month-old infant. John has dedicated more than 35 years of his life serving others globally through mission and non-profit work. His experience with caring for people in medically fragile situations as well as at the end of their lives since the mid-1980s has helped to shape him into a valuable asset to our team at ABODE. John is an ABODE Certified End-of-Life Doula.
Photos by Lynn Perez, The Parting Planner