Angela Lucia Mennitto—death midwife, educator, facilitator
Our death-denying culture makes it difficult to talk about death, to know how to be, and what to say, in the presence of the dying. My mother’s hospice team were my first teachers not only about dying, but about living too.
My interactions with the team were unlike anything I encountered with medical and nursing home staff during that period of her life. I was responding to the quality of their presence—being grounded in the moment, open to whatever happened and completely authentic in their responses.
That quality of presence is the thread I followed from my mother’s death, to volunteering at my local hospice in direct patient support and sitting vigil, to completing a certificate program for Contemplative End-of-Life Care, to becoming a certified thanatologist with the Association of Death Education and Counseling to what I do today.
What do I do?
- Organize community education events to promote death literacy—the practical know-how needed to plan well for the end of life—to help normalize conversations about death and dying
- Provide vigil training for groups
- Host & facilitate Death Cafés
- Consult with others who want to get the conversations going in their communities
To support my community outreach efforts, I have started a non-profit organization called On Dying Well.
Advance Care Planning
I work with people at any stage of life who want to understand how to document their end-of-life wishes with advance directives (health care proxy, living will), their funeral plans, and other practical considerations.
I serve those nearing death as a death midwife or end-of-life guide providing emotional, spiritual and practical support.
- Provide non-medical support for the dying – a reassuring voice or a quiet presence
- Sit vigil at the deathbed – holding space and bearing witness
- Work with individuals to craft their own obituary
- Document one’s story for family members
I am inspired by how people rise to the challenge of crossing the threshold to death. It can carry such beauty and wonder.
Experience & Training
- Hospice volunteer since 2010
- Trained with Contemplative End-of-Life Care Program (2012) — a four-month program for health care professionals and hospice volunteers. The program integrates the spiritual dimension of dying and death with the practical aspects of hospice and palliative care.
- Host and facilitate local Death Cafe since 2013
- Certified thanatologist with Association of Death Education and Counseling (2015)
- Board member, Funeral Consumers Alliance of the Finger Lakes since 2015
If I can serve you or help connect you with resources, please drop me an email. I currently reside in Ithaca, New York.
Thank you to Graham Hall for sharing the red leaf on stone photograph in loving memory of Chris Thew. Thank you to Susan Verberg for sharing the two leaf on water photographs.