Are you looking for a new way of relating to death?

An End of Life Doula supports those who want to take up the challenge of having a conscious death; a death not characterized by fear and denial, but by acceptance, peace of mind and grace. In the East there is a term for it: The Art of Dying. Western society is, for the most part, out of touch with the traditions and wisdom that are integral to indigenous cultures, with Tibet being the best known example.

I am part of a collective of like-minded souls that offer their particular skills and wisdom to individuals who are ready to create their own unique Art of Dying. It is our commitment to return death to it’s sacred place in the beauty, mystery and celebration of life, because when a person summons the courage to face their death in this way, they find that their remaining time is filled with more joy, love and grace.

My Offerings

When death comes knocking at our door, it can naturally be overwhelming. There is a roller coaster of emotions, plus the need to deal with family concerns and decisions to be made regarding finances and new medical realities.

Part of my role as a Death Doula is to act as an advocate to help you navigate these challenges .
However my main job is to serve you the best I can in coming to peace and acceptance with your approaching exit, paving the way for as conscious a death as possible.
It is said that people tend to die the way they live, so it is my hope that you are able to bring more joy, more peace and more love into your life, so that these qualities will buoy you as you depart this life and set out on your Sacred Passage to the other shore.

It would be my honor to serve you as you prepare for your last rite of passage.

  • Dear Hugh, Thanks for your wonderful work supporting Hal. You were an invaluable link - helping him connect to the outside world.Your friendship and compassion meant a great deal to him and me. I will always cherish the generosity of time and spirit you so selflessly gave us.

    Sue Larson
  • For the last 5 years, Hugh has been a committed and adaptable volunteer. He’s had a very natural rapport with his patients with Alzheimer’s. The patients are grateful for his presence in their lives and truly benefit from his kindness, compassion and dedication. They are fortunate to have him, as is Hospice by the Bay

    Patty Kuehn
  • Richard passed yesterday evening Hugh, and I wanted to thank you for being such a valuable resource in his final weeks. I know that he valued your conversations and it helped him come to a place of peace. I’m so sorry you couldn’t be here because it really was a smooth departure.

    Joan V

“Death is my teacher. I have prepared for this moment all of my life.”

-Tarron Estes

Hugh Smith

Ever since I was 5 years old, death has been very present in my life. I have had a life-long interest in the topic of death and dying. The mystery and finality of death has always intrigued me, but I’ve also been disheartened, seeing how much fear and denial surrounds death in our culture.

I left my high school teaching post in the 70’s and travelled to India to learn from a teacher who stressed the value of learning what they called in the East, The Art of Dying. This is a concept quite alien to our death-phobic culture in the West. I settled in California in the 80’s, and my wife Voge and I collaborated for many years in a therapy practice that incorporated an emotional releasing process and we co-authored an award-winning book, I Release: Creating the Life That Makes Your Heart Sing. Wanting to deepen my understanding and experience around death, in 2013 I trained to be a Hospice volunteer, supporting and comforting patients with less than 6 months to live. Later, I received trained in sitting vigil and have sat with many whose death was imminent, holding the space while they transitioned. I attended The Conscious Dying Institute in Boulder Colorado and received certification in their Sacred Passage Doula program. I also received training from INELDA, the International End of Life Doula Association.

Basically, life is just a preparation for dying and only those are wise who learn in this life how to die.

– Osho

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