I'm Martha Jo. Welcome.
In 2005, my mom was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, treatable but not cureable. She did a wee bit of treatment and then opted for hospice.
A few days before she died, Mom had otherworldly visitors; her parents, grandparents, favorite aunt and uncle, and her son, my brother Jim.
I'd been doing death and dying work with children and families for 15 years. Even so, this experience was different. It changed me.
Those moments with Mom connecting to her people and me connecting with Mom while she connected with her people, haven't ever left me. I began learning all I could about deathbed experiences, crafting my PhD dissertation research and my new work in the world about them.
There is a trajectory of experience that happens when someone is dying. How I understood this process before and after Mom died are quite different.
I clearly see patterns now in movement, language, behavior of the dying. What some describe as nonsense, I see as communication.
My work in the world is to lessen fear around dying, to teach people what they're seeing when they're with someone who is dying - what to listen and watch for, how to intrepret things that seem unintrepretable. I do this because because when we have information, when we have context, we can bypass fear and be more fully present in the moment.
If you're lucky, you will get to be at the bedside of someone you love who will die. I don't mean lucky in the 'wooo hooo how great is this way'. Not all.
Losing someone we love is so very painful. But being with them in the process, walking them out of this world, holding space in those sacred moments? There is nothing like it. Nothing. It can be heart opening in ways nothing else can, the most painful and most profound experience at the same time.
What I want you to know:
It's possible to be sad, hopeful, brought to your knees, bone weary, and full of love at the same time.
There are things you can do and learn, conversations you can have before your beloved is actively dying that will change the experience to a more positive one.
What you believe about death affects how you grieve and live.
Your thoughts cause you pain or bring you peace.
Extraordinary and magical, meaningful and healing non-measurable experiences for the dying and bereaved happen every day all over the world.
Want a better idea of what I'm talking about? Have a look at the video below from the Martha Beck Coaches Conference in March 2012. I've also given a TEDx Talk by the same title with a little bit different content.
I mentor mental health professionals and coaches who are stepping into/deepening identities as death educators/healers.
I create safe places for people to talk about dying, and living after someone has died, and connections beyond what we can see or touch in our human-ness.
I talk about meaningful living with audiences large and small.
This is my life's work.
I invite you to have a look around my website and see what resonates. Read the blog. Watch a video. If you want to stay up to date, sign up for the newsletter and you'll be in the know.
If you get the nudge I can help, I'd be honored.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Ciao for now,
PS: I’m on Facebook. A lot.
My personal page: https://www.facebook.com/MarthaJoAtkins. Friend me. I love meeting new people.
My public page on Facebook: Dr. Martha Jo Atkins. Info about my new book will be posted here soonish.
My secret group on Facebook is where 440ish kind and generous shiny humans have gathered. Individuals in this group have experienced all kinds of loss. We are curious and engage in all manner of conversations around death, dying, life after death, and living life as empowered humans. I offer Corpompos <Conductors of Courage> classes just for this group on death + dying + spirituality. Let me know if you want to me to add you. https://www.facebook.com/groups/lightafterdeath/