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Rising Stars: Meet Cindy Kaufman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cindy Kaufman.

Hi Cindy, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
My interest in helping others at the end of life began with sitting at my grandmother’s bedside during the final days of her life. I was 29-years-old and this was my first experience with the death of someone close to me. I found myself to be comfortable in that sacred space of death and dying, and I didn’t want my grandmother to die alone. I was there for her final breath, and it was a transformative experience in my life. From there, I became a hospice volunteer and for the next 30 years, no matter what career I was pursuing, and I’ve had a few, I have continued with hospice volunteering.

In 2015, I became very ill with all the classic symptoms of a brain tumor, those being massive pressure headaches, blurry double vision, nausea and vomiting, extreme fatigue, memory, and other cognitive issues, and more. Many evaluations and tests resulted in the diagnosis of a large benign pineal cystic tumor in the center of my brain. I needed brain surgery to remove the tumor. This prompted me to get my affairs in order just in case I did not survive the procedure. I completed my Advance Care Directives, and I wrote, “If you are reading this, then I have died,” letters to my daughters and my husband. After having the brain surgery to remove the tumor, which I indeed survived, it was obvious the tumor and the surgery had resulted in a brain injury, I spent the next two years in healing and recovery, including vision therapy and cognitive therapy for the brain and vision injuries.

When I began to feel well enough to pursue a vocation in 2017, I had the realization that I didn’t want to spend one more day of my precious life doing anything I was not passionate about. I didn’t want to work for someone else to help them achieve their dreams and goals. I wanted to work for myself achieving my own! I didn’t want to waste my remaining days of life on anything that wasn’t being of benevolent service to others. The only thing I had ever done that fit this description was my passion for helping others at the end of life.

In researching how I might turn this passion into a vocation, I discovered the work of end-of-life doulas or death doulas. I knew immediately that this is what I had been doing all those years as a hospice volunteer, but that training would give me more skills and tools for my toolbox. I did my training with the International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA) in December of 2017 and opened my business, HeartSpeak End-of-Life Companioning LLC, in January 2018. I went on to complete my certification with INELDA in 2018 and continue to grow my practice.

Having already been an ordained interfaith minister, this combines nicely with this work, allowing me to offer funeral and other officiant services. I also gained an interest in helping people return to a more natural way of handling death and dying as a Home Funeral Guide by bringing back the concept of the home funeral. This is the traditional way funerals were done in this country and it is a beautiful way to care for our deceased loved ones, particularly when someone has already died in the home. There is nothing more sacred than providing body care and ritual or ceremony in the home for the person that you loved. It’s personal, it’s loving, and it helps with the grief process.

Below are a few of the services I offer in my work:


Compassionate companioning for the dying person and respite and support for the caregiver(s)

  • Life review – finding meaning in a life lived.
  • Legacy projects – leaving a family gift, legacy, letters, etc.
  • Vigil planning – assisting in the design of a personal plan for the final days and hours of life.
  • Guiding the transition process from life to death and into grief and bereavement.
  • Advance Care Planning
  • Support for MAiD (Medical Aid in Dying) and VSED (Voluntary Stopping Eating and Drinking).
  • And more…


Home funeral guide and officiant for a services resource guide for green burials and more…


  • Funerals
  • Memorials
  • Life celebrations
  • Weddings
  • Commitment ceremonies
  • House blessings
  • And more…

In addition, I am proud to be a Co-Founder and volunteer board member of the Colorado End-of-Life Collaborative, the leading go-to organization for trusted, compassionate, and dedicated professionals serving the end-of-life needs of our community. The collaborative launched in July 2020, and it provides vetted referral sources, spotlights the work of end-of-life doulas, offers education on end-of-life options and choices, and helps the dying and their loved ones move more confidently through the natural stages of dying and death. The Colorado End-of-Life Collaborative is a 501c6 non-profit membership organization led by a volunteer board of directors.

In the past two years, I have authored chapters in five published collaborative books. In May of 2020, I published my first solo book, the international best-seller entitled, “The Mortal’s Guide to Dying Well – Practical Wisdom from an End-of-Life Doula.” I am now working on a co-authored book with my colleague, Sara E. Stewart, entitled, “Death Doulas: The First of the Last Responders.”

In my personal life, I am a mother of two lovely adult daughters, Stacey and Lindsey, a wife to my most wonderful husband, Michael, and I adopt rescue dogs, including senior dogs, to give them a second chance for love and life, no matter how long or short it may be.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I’ve never known smooth roads in my life. I only know hard work, dedication to the mission, following my passions, setting and completing goals, and building my own doors if others’ doors won’t open for me. This is the way I have lived my life. I’ve also learned something valuable from my work in end-of-life care. The only thing that will matter to us when we are lying on our “death bed” is love and relationships with the people in our lives.

In all my years working in this field, no one ever expressed wishing they had worked harder or achieved more. People just want to know they are loved and that they loved others well. If they are aware that they did not, then they are living with regret at the end. With that reality, I make it a point to live my life accordingly and advise others to do the same.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
As an End-of-Life Doula with 30 years of hospice volunteer experience, I find that I am skilled at reading the energy in a room and knowing who and what needs my attention. It could be the dying person who is struggling with anxiety, or it could be the family member sitting in the corner of the room. My attention and support are meant for both the dying person and their loved ones who are caregiving at the end of life. The family unit, by birth or by choice, also needs assistance through this process to help normalize the experience and for respite care.

I am completely comfortable sitting vigil, meaning sitting bedside in the final days and hours of life, to guide and companion the dying person and the loved ones. It was the experience with my own grandmother that revealed this ability to me. This space is a sacred space and to be invited to be present in this sacred space is both an honor and a privilege. I also realize that as much as I think I know, my clients are really my teachers and I remain the student. There is always something more to learn.

I have cultural humility when serving in multicultural communities and with persons of color. I honor all individuals and their families, whether by birth or choice, of all ages, abilities, races, ethnicities, nations of birth, religions or spirituality, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. All are respected and all are welcome.

What does success mean to you?
Success for me, in my line of work, means that I have served others in a benevolent way to the best of my ability to achieve their idea of a good death for themselves.

Contact Info:

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