New updates to website coming soon!

It seems forever since I’ve posted anything new, or relevant, for quite some time.

Stay tuned for a updates!

In the meantime, big love coming your way.


How U.S. Ratings of Nursing Homes Mislead the Public

While so many people don’t talk about death, I wonder how many people are misled in their investigative searches for the perfect place for mom or dad. I recommend reading this article before making a decision. (NY Times 03/13/2021)

Hummingbird Lessons by Jessica Zitter, M.D.

A beautiful story authored by Jessica Zitter (JAMA 1/2021)

End-of-Life Planning is more urgent now than ever!

I urge everyone to read the following article. It’s great advice!

Stats reveal: Some 63% of adults in the U.S. – have not made formal plans for what they would want their critical care and, if it comes to it, their deaths, to look like. We are living in the time of COVID. Pay attention! Act now, because planning is an act of love.

Ventilators in the time of COVID-19

You Need a Ventilator

My father was on a ventilator (2007), and against his will. He ended up having a tracheostomy, something he would never have wanted. I do want to make a comment about something in this article — about not being able to speak (yes), but in the case of my father, he could clearly communicate. He did so with his eyes, nodding yes or no, and the rather obvious definitive signal with his left arm pounding the bed when someone posed a question that he felt strongly about. He was completely aware of his surroundings. This only added to the hardship of his situation.

Daughter creates beauty in the midst of grieving her mother’s death

Wow! This artwork is incredible!

I’m back!


Wow, I left Spain a week ago today. The hills in northern Spain were green and alive. The Spanish people alive, passionate. I formed new friendships, people from around the world. My Camino was done in the rain, which I learned to love. I scattered ashes at the end of the world — Finisterre. It was magical, and the skies clear, the sun setting in the background. As I assimilate everything, and begin to integrate it all, I open to the ways in which my inner landscape has changed. I came home to a changed landscape here in Idaho, and while I missed fall entirely, I see the beauty that surrounds me.

I’m back, and available for private consulting. Plan for the inevitable. Know your options. I’m here!

Here’s to wishing everyone a happy Holiday season. Remember to BREATHE. Find JOY. BE open to CHANGE. LOVE big!



Surgery for Blocked Arteries Is Often Unwarranted, Researchers Find

NY Times (November 16, 2019) article. I highly recommend taking a close look at your options, should the need arise. The “typical” intervention may not be the one for you. Investigate before making any decisions. This is your HEART!

Movies offer new perspective on growing older…

Undecided about what to do with your body after you die?

This article explains the difference between two common choices. However, there are more. Stay tuned for updates. Check out my Resource page. Also, please feel free to email me should you have questions or need immediate assistance.


Death midwives know a lot more than you think.

Know your rights! Great article here.

Estrangement in any family can be challenging. But why grandparents?

I witnessed firsthand a situation where a grandmother was refused further engagement with her young grandchildren. Their mother made the decision based on an unresolved conflict that had nothing whatsoever to do with her children. It is complex, and I must ask: Who are the ones affected the most?

Living in the Mystery after a cancer diagnosis.

The following is a story I wrote, as a tribute to my mother, Vee. It was immediately following her cancer diagnosis and was published in The Sun, a weekly paper here in the Wood River Valley. I know people now who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis and feel compelled to post it. May you all live in the mystery and know that you are loved.

Looking from the Outside In: Living in The Mystery

by Kate Riley

“Kate, the cancer has spread to the bones…”

My mom spoke softly into the phone. I stared at the hills outside my bedroom window just three blocks from her home. It wasn’t long before tears pooled in my lower lids. We decided we would get together as a family and join Dr. Tom Archie for further discussion. While Dr. Archie gave my mom some options, I watched her intently. She wasn’t going to have anything to do with medical treatment even if it meant retarding the growth of nine malignant lesions. This was a choice I would honor.

“I just want everyone to let me die.” In my years of volunteering for Hospice, both in California and Idaho, I have heard these words before. My reactions have ranged from stunned, to mildly surprised, to supportive. I sometimes found myself speechless; searching for the right response or denying the very meaning. I often responded with, “What do you need right now?”

This time was different, very different. It was my mother who stood before me in her pink bathrobe and said, “I just want everyone to let me die. I’m finished here. I’ve had a good life and I have no regrets.” The words flowed. She knows something I don’t know. She is living in the mystery. What I do know is my mother is making plans for a good death and our family is supporting her to make that happen. We’re all in this together.

A hospital bed was delivered and set up in her bedroom. We’ve named it “The Royal Roost” and it faces a new direction so she has a different view of her property; affording her a new perspective at a time when she is fully present for her own death. I tiptoe up to her bedroom door and check on her frequently, just as I did with my newborn son; such an intimate and loving interlude.

She is welcoming friends and delights in short visits. If someone has difficulty supporting her in her acceptance, she holds up a piece of paper with the words written: AS FOR ME, GET OVER IT! My mom still has her sense of humor.

Even with the pain, excruciating at times, it hasn’t stopped her from expressing gratitude for her life, for her beautiful home and meditation garden, and the people in her life. It hasn’t stopped her from choosing what she will wear during the cremation – a white silk robe. The cremation container has been picked up, which will be collaged and then stored until it’s needed. My mother will take part in the artwork. She is known for creating vision boards and holding collage workshops. I can’t wait to see what she does with this one! In the meantime, my heart is breaking—this too is part of it all.

I love you, Mom.

These three vicars are experienced with death…and they’re FUN. Sometimes we simply need to lighten up. What would it be like to meet your own death?

BBC – interview with 3 vicars. God, where is my dad? The Reverend John D. Riley would have loved this!


Nursing homes are a breeding ground to a fatal fungus.

A Tribute to Vee!

September 7, 2019

Five years ago, Vee’s soul soared out of here like a shooting star. That was precisely her wish. For those of you who didn’t know Vee, she was my mother. As she neared the end, we planned. All went relatively well, considering. After she was gone, I bathed and anointed her body, then dressed her in her white silk robe, the one she had selected. Her body would then be lowered into the Chariot on the living room floor. I lit some candles and sipped ice cold vodka from one of her shot glasses, and waited until the sun brought in a new day.
Vee took responsibility for everything, including her death. She collaged her cardboard cremation container months in advance and named it: Vee’s Chariot. A few of Vee’s friends stopped by to pay respect. Each wept and placed something inside the Chariot. Later that afternoon, a close friend and I drove my mother’s body to Twin Falls for cremation. Vee really wasn’t in the Chariot. No, I believe she was sitting right on top, hanging out with us as the warm winds blew through the van and music played. Everything was surreal. The entire experience left me in awe. Through it all, there was a deep reverence and a love so expansive it’s impossible to describe. I continue to cherish this intimate, and life-changing event. Immense gratitude to everyone who helped, and got us through those last 9 months.

A Film About Everyday Miracles at the End of Life with Mike Kravinsky

Learn about a feature film that traces the story of a family’s conflict and ultimate resolution as their father reaches the end of life.

What People Actually Say Before They Die

Insights into the little-studied realm of last words.

Cannabis in hospice growing demand and acceptance for end-of-life care – Forbes 6/25/19

A new study finds hospice professionals overwhelmingly support using medical cannabis for hospice patients.

Self-Care for Caregivers – Ann Ming Yeh

Dr. Ann Ming Yeh is an Clinical Associate Professor at Stanford University in Pediatric Gastroenterology and practices at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and California Pacific Medical Center.

Pain and Symptom Management and use of Methadone – Stefan Joerg Friedrichsdorf

Stefan Friedrichsdorf is the medical director of the Department of Pain Medicine, Palliative Care and Integrative Medicine at Children’s Minnesota, Minneapolis / St. Paul, one of the largest and most comprehensive programs of its kind in the country.

Ecstatic Breathwork with Scott Schwenk

Learn how to use breathwork to clear blocks and upgrade your inner state.

Sedona Retreat, Oct 31-Nov 4, 2019 Enchantment Resort

An Intimate Journey Guided by Master Spiritual Teachers in Sedona’s Transformative Vortex Power & Healing Energy.


We are looking for people to join Recompose and help us build a sustainable, long-lasting company.

When to Tell the Children: Preparing Children for the Death of Someone Close to Them

Many families are pleasantly surprised to find that children tend to resume their regular activities and interests quite quickly after learning a parent or sibling may die.

Anderson Cooper Holds Back Tears In Emotional Tribute To His Late Mother, Gloria Vanderbilt

Anderson closed his show with a moving tribute to his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, on his first “Anderson Cooper 360” following her death on Monday. Hear what Anderson had to say.

Why Infection May Be a Good Way to Die

A doctor advocates for a more humane approach to end-of-life care.

When Families Keep the Truth From Their Dying Loved Ones

A retired pastor and current hospice worker shares important observations.

When the Long-Term Care Insurer Refuses to Pay

My dad was a smart guy, but not so smart as to avoid being hoodwinked by those who drafted the contract for my mom’s long-term care insurance policy.

Katrina Spade has done it!

Washington is the first state in the nation to legalize composting as an alternative to burying or cremating human remains, offering “natural organic reduction” including composting.