Alua Arthur

Demystifying death

2 minute read

Alua Arthur wants to change the way you think about death. “Being aware of our mortality and having a relationship with it allows us to look at our lives holistically,” she says. “We can see more clearly what we value, how we’re spending our time, what we wish we were doing instead. It invites us into the present with more authenticity.” 

One of the most prominent death doulas in the U.S., Arthur has guided thousands of people through the end-of-life process. It’s a role she found great purpose in after losing her brother-in-law to lymphoma. “There should be somebody to turn to for information and

resources, and I couldn’t find anybody, so I made it myself,” she says. Through her company Going with Grace, Arthur offers holistic and non-medical care and support, whether a person wants to create an end-of-life plan while they’re healthy, or needs help working through their fears of an impending death. “When somebody knows what it is that they’re going to be dying of, we can support them to have the most ideal death for themselves under the circumstances,” explains Arthur. After a death, she helps family members wrap up their loved one’s affairs. “Death doulas hold the emotional, the practical, the spiritual, the legal—the totality of mortality and humans and their relationship to it.” Arthur is helping introduce people to the value of death doulas. Last year, she gave a TED Talk on the subject, and she published her first book, Briefly Perfectly Human, in April. Both explore how to reframe death so that you can live more authentically and make decisions that allow you to be ready when you reach the end of your life, because you lived while you were here. “We assume folks don’t want to talk about death, but they do,” she says. “They just need permission.”

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