We had the good fortune of connecting with Lynne-Anne McGrail and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lynne-Anne, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am from Methuen Massachusetts. It is there in an old apple cider mill that was converted to a home, where my life changed forever. On November 5 1980, we had fire and my brother David, at the young age of 13, lost his life to smoke inhalation. My parents soon divorced and my mom, sister and I floundered about trying to find meaning in a very confusing world. Fast forward several years and my dear friend died of lung cancer. Then my aunt passed from a heart attack. Only to be followed by my dad who suffered for 7 years with dementia. The latest one is my dear and precious 32-year-old niece who became septic after complications to Crohn’s disease. It is from all these blessed experiences that have helped shape who I am. I say blessed because it was and is a gift to have had these beautiful people in my life. It is from the richness of life that I decided to work in the field of death as an End-of-Life Doula. Today my work brings me bedside to those that are getting ready to transition. I am supporting the dying person and their loved ones in any way that is needed, knowing that I would have loved this kind of support when I was going through my own traumatic life experiences. It is truly an honor and a gift to serve in this way.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In 2013 I became a partner in my husband’s company A Better You, Inc, where he is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Self-Improvement Specialist. I joined initially as a Life Coach having received my coaching certificate from the Fowler Wainwright International Institute of Professional Coaching. For 7 years I enjoyed coaching clients but always felt something was missing in my “calling”. Then my 32-year-old niece got very sick. She had Crohnes Disease and her colon erupted. She went septic and died within 72 hours. I was able to fly to her and be by her side while she transitioned. It changed my life. A deep knowing came forward in my belly that sitting vigil, sitting bed side with those who are about to transition is something I wanted to do. The pull to do this was so strong, it scared me! Sit bedside with dying people? What was I some kind of death angel? This transpired into my getting certified as an End-of-Life Doula. I’ve never looked back! Now the work I do is two-fold. I provide non-medical emotional, mental and spiritual support to the terminally ill patient and their loved ones and care givers. Most of my work is alongside Hospice, which is a beautiful organization that provides end of life care. The number one complaint from the consumers of Hospice is that they are not there enough. That’s where I come in, filling in the gaps of services so desperately needed by the families. I also work as a consultant, going out into the community educating the public about what it means to have peace of mind at the time of death. And that is to be ready! Are you ready? Do you have all your papers in orders? Does your family know what your wishes are for the end of life? Do you want to be kept alive by a machine? Do you have a health care proxy? Getting the answers to these questions (and many others) will help bring peace of mind to the one thing that is guaranteed in life, death. It all starts with a conversation and today is the day to have it : )
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First things first, we would go to the beach! The Venice boardwalk has muscle beach, sidewalk shows, tons of shops and lots of great food. From the beach we head to the woods! Mt Pinos in Frazier Park is a beautiful spot to bring a lunch and go for a hike. The air at 9000 feet is crisp and clean and the wildlife and forest are magical. Of course, we would have to swing by Hollywood, check out the sign, the Avenue of the Stars, Grauman Chinese Theatre, then grab lunch at The Vine for their amazing salad and a glass of pinot grigio. The following days would be filled with Universal Studios, Griffith Park for some amazing star gazing, and more hikes in the Sycamore and La Jolla Canyons just off of PCH past Malibu. We would end the visit with some fine dining at Jamaica Bay Inn in Marina del Rey watching the sunset. Come visit!! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First of all, I would like to give thanks to all the patients and clients that have let me into their homes and into their hearts, as I do this loving work. It is their trust in me and my process that fuels my passion to continue this work. If not for them, I would not be here. I would also like to take a moment to give gratitude to all my teachers who have bestowed their wealth of information onto me; Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick from the University of Santa Monica, where I got my MA in Spiritual Psychology; also Suzanne O’Brien RN, the founder of Doulagivers International, who provided the incredibly in-depth education on death and dying and what it means to be an End-of-Life Doula. I need to thank many of my spiritual teachers and thought leaders, Wallace Black Elk, Tom Brown Jr, Rev. Michael Beckwith, Don Miguel Ruiz to name a few. I want to extend grace and love to my family members and friends who have died and who are with me always in spirit—especially as I do this work. And most importantly, I would like to thank my husband, Soul-mate, best friend and lover, Dr. John McGrail, who has supported me throughout my journey. A relationship I never take for granted and for which I am most grateful.
Youtube: Lynne-Anne McGrail
Lynne-Anne McGrail for all photos except the black and white hands from Sandra Lupe and women pushing wheelchair is from Susanne O’Leary