HI, I'M DEANNA.
My ancestry is that of Irish/English (mother) and Mexican/American (father). My dad came from a large family of brothers and sisters (over 8) and my mom was an only child. I learned the ways of caring for our ill and dying from my abuelita, Inez Flores.
I married young (24), completed college at the University of Texas at Austin as an older student with my firstborn on my hip. I was a stay-at-home mom, home-schooled briefly, home-birthed my second child (VBAC), and was on a spiritual seeking and emotional healing adventure throughout those years that crossed many modalities and beautiful beings. By the sad end of this marriage, I was a RN, beginning on the oncology floor, and met some of the finest nurses I have ever met in my life.
Within 6 months of graduation in 2000, I was working full-time for a non-profit hospice where I learned from the best palliative physicians and long time experienced "real" hospice nurses. I am eternally grateful for every moment with them.
In June of 2005, my mother died. It was an incredibly fast dying time of 5 weeks from diagnosis of cancer to death. As a 5 year nurse veteran of hospice, I was floored by the experience and wanted to make this time as good for others as my mother got to have. Quality of Life Care was founded.
From June 2005 until now, I have had a whirlwind of learning and steadfast support from too many people to count. I will do my best to bring up a few important people below, in no particular order, as they each have profoundly impacted me: Ram Dass, Rev Bodhi Be, shamanic teacher Christina Allen, my father Tony Flores, my mother Patricia Flores, my grandmother Weeya, my grandmother Inez, my sister Victoria Carlson, my brother Marco Flores, Dr. Patrician Koch, Mercedes Flores, every single person I have accompanied through death, every single person who has come to me for training, every single person who has shared deeply with me. I have studied and learned so much from the shamanic lineage of the Andes, The Sufi tradition, my loving experiences with my family in and through the Catholic Church, from my 40 years of going to non-denomination Christian church with my dad, from reading great teachers like Stephen Jenkinson and Dr. Ira Byock and from interviewing many leading authorities and everyday people about their experience with death and dying. Thank you for spending your precious time with me.
One of my earliest memories of death was when I was about 7 years old and someone close to our family died. I heard people in my family talking about the death and when I asked to go to the funeral, I was told "no", and a hush fell over the room. Years later, when I was 13 and living in Laredo, Texas, my grandmother said to me one day "C'mon, get your shoes and come with me." She didn't say where we were going or what we were about to do.
We walked down the rocky, unpaved streets of our neighborhood to her friend's home. Her friend was dying. When we walked into the room there were several other women, all sitting quietly with their veils on praying. There was a majestic reverence in the room that is hard to describe. I was profoundly affected by this experience and felt so honored that my grandmother included me in this vigil. Years later, before I became a nurse, I learned to care for the dying in a very personal way during the year of my grandmother's own dying (thanks to my aunts who showed me how to take tender loving care of her at home).
Your journey is like a fingerprint, just like every death and dying experience. We are not here to be the same, but to be authentically who we are as there is someone who will only hear your voice. I share a piece of me here because someone reading this will resonate. Someone will feel safe here in their desire to learn with me as their guide. And it would be my honor, always.
Treasure what inspires you to serve the dying. Know you are enough, right this very minute. Begin now. Don't let perfection keep you in your living room dreaming. Join all your fellow journeyers out here. I will encourage you to take bold, imperfect steps. There is no time to get it just right. That is something you will learn as you go. The Silver Tsunami is already starting and there is a huge need ahead of us.
If you want a guide, it is my privilege and joy to help you figure out how to integrate all that you are into your vision of serving. I am here for you.
Learn about how we can work together HERE.
Peace to you.