A Candid Conversation on…Conscious Living & Conscious Dying

an exclusive feature by Bonnie Compton*

Due to the pandemic, I believe many of us have begun to reflect on our own mortality.  I know I have as 2020 has been a difficult year for all. I’ve become acutely aware over the past five years that I have lived more years than I have left to live, and that is a sobering reality!

Because I live my life with intention, often guided by my intuition, I decided it was time to look at death a bit more closely in a way that I could help others look at their own mortality as well.

So, as a result, I enrolled in the Conscious Dying Institute’s End of Life Doula and Conscious Dying Coaching Program. I am now a certified end of life doula, and conscious living and dying coach. While you may not have heard of an end of life doula, you’ve probably heard of a birth doula, someone who assists a mom and her family through the birth process.  That is exactly what I offer, except at the end of life. I help people through the dying process. Most people, however, don’t like to talk about death and I understand this discussion is not a favorite dinner or cocktail party topic!

However, did you know?

  • That research shows 10 out of 10 people are going to die.
  • Yet most people never talk about or plan for their death…they act like it doesn’t exist or it’s not going to happen to them.
  • Most say they don’t want to die in the hospital… but 80 % do
  • Many people spend much more time planning for the birth of their child or grandchild than they do their own death


  • If conversations about death became as easy to talk about as life
  • If becoming more mindful about your death led you to become more mindful about your life…after all, we all have an expiration date.
  • Imagine having a plan that enabled you and your loved ones to experience the best death possible…not leaving it up to overwhelming last-minute medical decisions
  • And knowing that the best legacy you could give to your loved ones would be for them to know that you lived your life fully and with intention.

Death creates a deadline for all of us…no one is exempt.

Death is a sacred part of our journey. It’s as sacred as birth is.

Yes, we try to pretend it’s not going to happen to us. We often don’t think or plan for it until we’re forced to.

Do you know what the number one regret of the dying is? People on their deathbed often wish they’d lived the life they knew they were meant to live. They wish they lived a life for themselves, not for someone else.

Can you imagine coming to the end of your life and having this regret? I know I don’t want that regret when I die! How about you?

My interest in death over the past five years has been driven by my desire to live my life fully and consciously, while I’m alive.

My hope in offering this service for families is so that the process of death becomes as sacred as the process of birth.  I also want to offer those an opportunity to consciously prepare for their death so that they can fully embrace life now and not be weighed down with unfinished business (practical stuff such as important medical documents, as well as helping them tend and nurture important relationships, lifelong wishes, regrets, etc.)

End of life doulas are part of an important movement to help bring medical decisions, dying and after-death care back to individuals and their family.

There are many ways an end of life doula can offer you support. These are some of the offerings…

  • A safe space to begin conversations, about life and death
  • A place to discover and help you create how you want to live and die
  • Guidance to help you make important decisions and have the conversations about your wishes (for yourself and others)
  • End of life and after-death care
  • Funeral planning

I believe there is such a thing as a good death…and living a good life in the meantime.

An end of life doula can help you begin or continue your journey into consciously living as you prepare for your own death (whether you have months or years)…so that you can live your life more fully in the meantime!

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver


If you knew you only had 3 months to live, what would you regret not doing?

What would you change? What are you willing to create so that you are regret free when you die?

Begin there.

Life is precious…don’t waste it.


*Conscious Living & Conscious Dying, is an exclusive feature for grandparentslink.com by Bonnie Compton, APRN, BC, CPNP. Bonnie has worked with families for more than thirty years as a child and adolescent therapist, parent coach, and pediatric nurse practitioner and is passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and families. In doing so, Bonnie helps parents and grandparents create healthy boundaries and relationships. She is a writer, speaker, workshop and retreat facilitator, and hosted her own podcast radio program, Wholehearted Parenting Radio, which is available on iTunes, Web Talk Radio, Radioactive Broadcasting Network, and Stitcher Radio. Bonnie lives in Charleston, SC, with her husband. She is a mom of four adult children and believes that being a mother has been her most important job; and loves being Gramma to her four beautiful granddaughters. Bonnie is also the author of Mothering with CourageAvailable here!, and has an online course Messages We Send Our Children Daily OM

Have a question or want to contact Bonnie? www.bonniecompton.com843-718-1551bonnie@bonniecompton.com