10 episodes

The Spirit Vessel Podcast features Jessica Wertz, the company founder, and Amanda Wertz McClellan, co-founder. Spirit Vessel helps families and individuals explore ways to connect authentically and from the heart through times of loss and grief. The conversations you'll find here aim to bring awareness, acceptance and normalization to death. We focus on facilitating emotional after-care through ceremony and ritual in the aftermath of loss, which is a theme you'll hear woven throughout our topics.

The Spirit Vessel Podcast Jessica Wertz

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires macOS 11.4 or higher

The Spirit Vessel Podcast features Jessica Wertz, the company founder, and Amanda Wertz McClellan, co-founder. Spirit Vessel helps families and individuals explore ways to connect authentically and from the heart through times of loss and grief. The conversations you'll find here aim to bring awareness, acceptance and normalization to death. We focus on facilitating emotional after-care through ceremony and ritual in the aftermath of loss, which is a theme you'll hear woven throughout our topics.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires macOS 11.4 or higher

    Professionals Perspectives in Deathcare- Julie McFadden

    Professionals Perspectives in Deathcare- Julie McFadden

    Julie McFadden has been working as a hospice nurse for the past five years, and prior to that she worked in Intensive Care for close to a decade. Julie is passionate about educating people on what happens as we die. Her informational and relatable TikTok videos have made an impact on nearly a million followers, making her a viral sensation.

    In this podcast we discuss:

    How Julie got into nursing, Intensive Care experience, how she found Hospice care

    What inspired Julie to try out Tiktok, and the impact she is having

    Who is included in the hospice care team, and what she does in her hospice work

    Listen and validate, hold space for individuals and families

    The differences in hospice care

    Some of her favorite end of life resources

    What reform Julie would love to see in hospice care

    Professionals Perspectives in Deathcare- Melissa Unfred

    Professionals Perspectives in Deathcare- Melissa Unfred

    Melissa Unfred is a licensed funeral director and (non practicing) embalmer in Texas and Washington, and her sidekick Kermit is a Certified Therapy Dog that has served over 500 families by her side.

    Melissa has worked in death care since 1996, and attended Mortuary School in 2002. In 2016 she began to question the status quo vocally online and became known as The Modern Mortician. She has worked closely beside the founders of multiple green burial spaces, and was the first funeral director in Texas to facilitate Alkaline Hydrolysis for a client in a state that still hasn’t made it a legal option. She has also participated in the process of Natural Organic Reduction and has an intimate knowledge of all eco friendly forms of disposition.
    Melissa considers herself to be a professional and public resource, an eco educator, an advocate, and an industry disruptor.


    Conversation notes:

    How Melissa found her way to deathcare, and ultimately became a supporter of eco-friendly body disposition options.
    The ways in which her sidekick service dog Kermit shares his gifts with their clients.
    Some of her favorite eco-friendly burial products.
    The process of embalming, what physically happens to the body, the products that are used, and other details you may have never known.
    How the process of alkaline hydrolysis, or water cremation works, and its impact on the environmental.
    Ways to have access to alkaline hydrolysis for yourself or your loved ones even if it’s not legal in your state.
    The process of the states legalizing human composting and alkaline hydrolysis one by one.
    The challenges involved in bringing new products to the funeral/deathcare industry.
    Creative ways to approach the topic of death and your end of life wishes with family and friends.
    An exciting project that she’s looking forward to as well as new and upcoming influencers and educators in the deathcare space that she admires.

    Professionals Perspective in Deathcare- Morgan Yarborough

    Professionals Perspective in Deathcare- Morgan Yarborough

    Morgan Yarborough has been Recompose Seattle's Services Manager since 2020. Morgan works to help develop ceremonial offerings at Recompose and is honored to lead a team of incredible death care professionals.

    She has been exploring death care since 2016 and holds multiple funeral director/embalmer licenses. Her goal is to support people in choosing meaningful, empowering options when it comes to death care, and believes that compassion, education, and understanding are paramount in accomplishing this goal.

    Prior to joining Recompose, Morgan led community events focused on death education and what it means to be mortal through her Oregon-based group, Our Own Hands.

    Morgan is a devoted animal lover and spends time keeping up with several rescue animals, as well as creating pen and ink illustrations, avidly collecting books, and gardening whenever possible.

    In this conversation we discuss:

    How Morgan’s interest in death and how it affects people began.
    Her career in physics and tech after high school before realizing it wasn’t her passion, and making a career jump by applying to funeral homes until she was hired as an intern.
    How she became interested in green burial, and educated clients about their rights and options.
    What made her interested in working for Recompose and how she incorporates ceremony and ritual in their offerings.
    The proprietary human composting system that they use at Recompose.
    Morgan’s role at Recompose and what her day-to-day looks like.
    Plans for new Recompose locations, gathering spaces within, and what the client experience will be from beginning to end.
    Why she feels ceremony is so important in death work.
    People’s response to seeing their person decomposed for the first time.
    What she is most excited for moving forward!

    Professionals Perspectives in Deathcare- Lisa Pahl

    Professionals Perspectives in Deathcare- Lisa Pahl

    Lisa Pahl is a hospice social worker, ER crisis interventionist, and co-creator of The Death Deck.

    Lisa has been in the end-of-life space for about 15 years working primarily in hospice and 8 years working in emergency medicine. Since obtaining her Master’s in Social Work from The University of Michigan, she’s embraced a challenging, but equally rewarding, career working within the mental health industry, in both the trenches of ER and within her true passion working in hospice.

    Her goal is to help people cope with illness, dying and grief. With a passionate belief that peace at the end begins with meaningful conversations over time, she feels the more we can engage in talking about this difficult subject, the more prepared and ultimately comforted we will be when we reach the end of life. This belief led Lisa to be the co-creator of the Death Deck, a new party game that lets you explore a topic we’re all obsessed with but often afraid to discuss.

    In this conversation we discuss:
    Lisa’s background in both emergency medicine and hospice care, and why she loves offering services in both areas.
    How Lisa met her business partner Lori and how they came up with the idea for the Death Deck.
    How they worked together to develop the Death Deck.
    The most common topics that she educates her hospice clients on.
    How she helps people feel more prepared and families more comfortable about death so that it can be an overall calmer, more educated experience for the person, the family, and the grief process of those involved.
    Her experience using ritual and ceremony for her clients.
    The impact the Death Deck has had on her son, his friends, and people all over the world.
    Their plans for future card decks and what she’s excited about and inspired by in the industry!

    Professionals Perspectives in Deathcare- Litsa Williams

    Professionals Perspectives in Deathcare- Litsa Williams

    Litsa Williams is a licensed clinical social worker and co-founder of What’s Your Grief, one of the country’s largest online grief and bereavement support communities, accessed by nearly 8 million grieving individuals and professionals each year. What's Your Grief offers hundreds of free grief articles, creative expression initiatives, online courses and workshops for grievers, all created by mental health professionals who have experienced personal loss. They offer a robust online professionals' community for clinicians from around the world who specialize in grief or are looking to expand their grief practice competence, as well as an online community for grievers looking for creative approaches to grief coping. In addition to her MSW, Litsa also holds a master's degree in philosophy with a special interest in applied mental health ethics. She has worked in the field of unexpected and traumatic grief in Baltimore, MD for thirteen years and has been interviewed as a grief expert for The New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR. She is the co-author of What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help You Through Any Loss, available now for preorder and set for release September 27, 2022.


    In this conversation, we discuss:
    How Litsa and Eleanor met through an organization that supported people through traumatic and unexpected losses in Baltimore.
    How they saw an opportunity to serve people in their grief process with different tools for coping with grief, and in a way that helped overcome the barriers to access.
    The three types of grievers that their resources are created for.
    Our society’s perspective on what grieving “should” look like
    The role of individual and private ritual vs. traditional memorial and collective rituals.
    The Baltimore-based project that has Lisa inspired!
    The launch of their new book, Lists to Help You Through Any Loss, available now for preorder and set for release September 27, 2022.

    Professionals Perspectives in Deathcare- Cait Maddan

    Professionals Perspectives in Deathcare- Cait Maddan

    In this interview we speak with Cait Maddan, who is a death doula, a passionate death educator, and a supporter of her large, digital community with death resources needed both individually and collectively, in these rapidly changing times.

    Cait’s own experience with two life changing deaths in two months, is what propelled her curiosity into the unique and vast space of grief, death anxiety, dying, the afterlife, metaphysical curiosities, and so on. The pandemic forced the closure of her in-person business and her full attention turned to the virtual space, knowing that’s where many folks go to access support + education.

    Cait’s journey has led her into different avenues of death work from sitting at the bedside of those actively dying, to cleaning out homes after a death, to haircuts for those on hospice, to educating hospice groups on what death doulas are, to guiding folks on living will creation, to building a digital presence for death workers; truly, the space is vast.

    Currently, Cait offers free education via Instagram and Tik Tok and connecting through Lives. She is co-creator and curator for Death Led Life (@death.led.life), a new monthly guided-death-meditation membership.

    In this conversation we discuss:

    How Cait was led to deathcare after two significant deaths in her life within two months of one another.
    How she served her grandfather as a doula during his decline and death.
    The journey of curiosity around death that she embarked on after her grandfather’s passing.
    Her experiences as a hospice volunteer.
    How she discovered her death doula training course and received her certification.
    What grief and death anxiety are and how they surface from within us.
    The role of death workers as ‘space holders’.
    What ceremony and ritual look like with her clients as times shift and people tend to be less religious, and more creative in their end-of-life wishes.
    Ways in which Cait is able to care for herself as she serves her clients and community.
    Her newest project, Death Led Life, a monthly membership site for folks to explore death safely through multiple modalities.
    What she’s most excited about for where the industry is headed.

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