about Abbie Stutzer, caregiver and death doula in-training
What began as a curiosity that developed after a near-death experience early in life has blossomed into a full-fledged admiration for life's "biggest" transition.
I studied peace and conflict studies and political science (undergraduate, 2005), and journalism (master's program, 2008) at the University of Kansas. I've worked as an independent freelance writer and editor for various print and online publications.
In 2017, I began exploring the death care industry. I started as a student in mortuary school. I quickly discovered that my interest in dying and death was more about helping the living prepare for death rather than performing procedures to a body after death.
In spring 2018, I enrolled in Quality of Life Care's death doula program. What I'm learning and have learned will allow me to fully serve people and pets before, during, and after death. I'm scheduled to complete this coursework by September 2018.
A lot of caregiving and death doula work is about just *being* there; helping around the home, talking to families, caring for pets. These simple, relationship building tasks allow me to better serve people who are caregivers and pets.
My practical experience in this field is varied.
For people: I've provided respite care for my mother and father during my mother's parents' physical and mental declines, and deaths. I volunteer for a local hospice and provide respite and bedside vigil care. I've also worked for a house cleaning company.
For pets: I've seen the passing of multiple family pets through the years; I've helped care for various pet illnesses, and age-related issues. Currently, I care for two senior pets of my own (Daphne, a beagle, and Rapture, a cat), and two spry "middle-aged" pets (Cash, a beagle mix, and Stuntman Mike, a cat). I also volunteer at the Lawrence Humane Society, and worked as a dog walker and pet sitter.
I continue to study death and dying-related topics, and look for new volunteer opportunities, conferences, and classes to expand my knowledge. I will update this page with that information, my new experiences, as I have them.
To find out more about me, how I think, and to hear "my voice," explore Gather the Leaves' blog, Reap the Harvest.
I look forward to working with you and the journey we're about to embark on.
I am insured and bonded.