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Death Nesting

The Heart-Centered Practices of a Death Doula

Foreword by Karen Wyatt
Published by Bear & Company
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

A practical and compassionate guide to physically, emotionally, and spiritually caring for the dying

• 2024 Coalition of Visionary Resources Gold Award

• Shares practices for emotional soothing, breathing techniques to reduce anxiety and pain, ways to reduce stress during the active dying process, and techniques to physically care for the dying, including methods to assist bedridden individuals

• Explores ceremony and energetic boundary guidelines, Reiki and ancestral support techniques, and herbal care for nourishing and healing on a spirit level

• Presents self-care methods for moving with grief, ideas for “things to do” when there is nothing to do, mindfulness practices for contemplating your own mortality, as well as guidance for talking with children about death and dying

• Winner of a 2020 Independent Publisher “IPPY” award

Just as we might prepare a nest for one about to give birth, so can we lovingly prepare a nest for one who is dying.

In this practical and compassionate guide, death doula educator Anne-Marie Keppel incorporates ancient and modern techniques, mindfulness practices, and herbal support to show how anyone can care for the dying, whether at home, in hospice, or even in the ICU. She demystifies the dying process by explaining what the body goes through during end of life and presents practices for emotional soothing and other ways to reduce stress and anxiety during the active dying process. The author provides techniques to physically care for the dying, including methods to assist bedridden individuals. She shares ceremony and energetic boundary guidelines, Reiki and ancestral support techniques, and herbal care for nourishing and healing on a spirit level.

Providing support for caregivers and loved ones as well, Anne-Marie explores self-care methods for moving with grief, ideas for “things to do” when there is nothing to do, and mindfulness practices for contemplating your own mortality. She also offers visualizations and techniques for talking with children about death and dying.

Sharing glimpses into the world of spirit to reveal the poignancy of the dying process, the author shows that death is a sacred rite of passage we all experience.

About The Author

Anne-Marie Keppel is a death doula educator and founder of the nonprofit Village Deathcare. A nurse assistant, Reiki Master, and lifelong meditator, she guides individuals transitioning out of life and assists families with the end-of-life journey. Experienced in home funerals, green burials, and psychedelic-assisted therapy, her work as a death doula has been published nationally in the Washington Times, on, and in PULP Magazine. She won an Independent Publisher “IPPY” award in 2020. Anne-Marie delights in the joy of living with her family in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Bear & Company (August 15, 2023)
  • Length: 192 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781591434825

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Raves and Reviews

“Anne-Marie uses the image of nest building to introduce ways to build protective circles of care for dying persons and their loved ones. Her writing is tender and loving. She draws on the insights of psychology, spirituality, and ancient wisdom and also includes a discussion of practical care issues stemming from her years of experience. It is refreshing to encounter an author sensitive to the need for literature on end-of-life issues to confront its rather privileged perspective and begin to address the cultural, class, gender, and racial disparities in end-of-life care. Death Nesting will be a valuable support for families facing the loss of a loved one.”

– Judith L. Lief, Buddhist teacher, student and editor of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and author of

“Anne-Marie has gifted us with an informative, holistic, and comprehensive guide to tending to those who are in the dying season of their lives. The practical guidance, mindfulness practices, herbal recommendations, and storytelling offered in Death Nesting empower us to support one another to create a dying experience that reflects our unique lived experience.”

– Aditi Sethi, M.D., hospice and palliative care physician, end-of-life doula, and executive director

“A resource guide that will transcend your view on death, dying, and how to be in companionship with Death. This beautiful, sensitive guide is filled with knowledge delivered with tenderness and takes the reader through a journey of learning about stages of death, ways caregivers can be supportive during the transition process, caregiver and client meditations, and calming practices. Anne-Marie has gently normalized a subject seldom addressed, so openly. Written for anyone who may be curious about death work, caregivers, and for all of us who will have that familiar, yet unfamiliar, knock on the door from the intimate stranger we call Death.”

– Sonya-Prajna Patrick, Ph.D., death-tending doula, magick/conjure worker, and bone reader

“Anne-Marie’s way of navigating death and grief is intentional, nourishing, loving, meditative, and healing. With an attitude of humility and reverence for this sacred passage, her words evoke a sensuous experience for the reader, as she brings to life the essence of death doula service. I highly recommend Death Nesting to anyone interested in mindfully holding space for their loved one or for themselves through the process of death.”

– Jade Brunel, founder of WAO Tea and author of Tea, Remembering the Essence of Life

Death Nesting is a compassionate manual on approaching death consciously—both our own death and the deaths of those we love. Through the pages of this helpful book, death educator and doula Anne-Marie Keppel gives readers the tools needed to turn the end-of-life process into a beautiful and healing experience. Filled with love and spirit this is a book I will be recommending to my clients whether they are facing death or grieving the loss of a loved one.”

– Salicrow, psychic medium and author of Spirit Speaker

“As explained in Death Nesting, dying can be a time of unknowing while also a journey best guided by deep wisdom and trust—both of which are bolstered by Keppel’s anecdotes and explanations. This mindfully constructed book of knowledge gently encourages readers to let go of rigid logic and control as well as embrace all that can be anticipated during the end of life, covering an array of topics from the ineffable to the highly practical and so much in between.”

– Francesca Lynn Arnoldy, community doula and author of The Death Doula’s Guide to Living Fully

“Keppel’s heart-centered, community-based philosophy establishes her as a leader in the emerging holistic deathcare movement. I recommend Death Nesting to all aspiring death doulas, medical professionals serving in end-of-life spaces, hospice volunteers, and, most especially, home caregivers. This is a bedside companion for the tender journey as we walk one another home.”

– Jade Adgate, death midwife and curator at the Farewell Library

“Anne-Marie offers loads of wise and practical guidance for helping, holding, and mindful presence through all that this passage brings for the doula, the dying, and for those who must let them go. Whatever your belief about the afterlife, whatever your previous experience with death and dying, this book invites you to the crossroads, where life meets death—a sacred place of deep gravitas, transformation, and remembrance.”

– Fearn Lickfield, director of the Green Mountain Druid School and Dreamland Sanctuary

“This is the book those who gravitate toward or find themselves thrust into the death space need. Exploring age-old territory with fresh eyes, Anne-Marie Keppel has encapsulated for us the essence of active caring in full practical and loving description.”

– Lee Webster, funeral reform advocate and director of New Hampshire Funeral Resources & Education

Death Nesting is refreshing, enlightening, and captivating. It dares to talk deeply and thoroughly about a subject that’s barely touched in our society, yet it’s a reality that we are all going to have to deal with. This book gives the reader a thoughtful and human perspective on confronting death.”

– Rafael Olivares, M.D., volunteer for Doctors of the World

Death Nesting: The Heart-Centered Practices of a Death Doula provides an excellent addition to a growing cannon of works revolving around the field of Death Care. Anne-Marie Keppel presents the subject in a practical yet engaging manner that draws the reader into awareness. This is a book that encourages active learning and participation on the part of caregivers and death doulas who seek to assist in the honorable act of being present and holding space for the dying.

– Clio Arjana,

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