Buy the Guidebook

Available on Amazon in both e-book and print-on-demand formats
by May 2020  

How do you say a final goodbye? 

Chaplain and grief counselor Ellen Hufschmidt has worked with more than a thousand deaths and the families who are left behind. In the dying process, both the dying person and the family take risks to explore their unknown places of unexpressed feelings, such as resentment, joy, love, or trauma. These risks are where emotional and spiritual healing, reconnection, and repair take place. This healing happens not by turning away from the reality of death but by being present for something new to reveal itself. This booklet presents one way to put yourself in the path of mystery and beauty that can accompany death. These pages provide a step-by-step description of a bedside Body Blessing, along with stories of how this ritual has been used in different settings to bring about meaningful closure.

Ellen Hufschmidt, MA, is a Chaplain, grief counselor, and death educator. In her private practice, Rites of Change: Moving Thru Transitions Well, she provides counseling for grief and loss, and guidance for end-of-life planning including home vigils and green burials. As a Celebrant, she officiates funerals, and provides a full range of life-cycle rituals from birth to death for individuals, families, organizations, and communities to mark change. For ten years, Ellen worked at Essentia Hospice program in Duluth, Minnesota, where she used her skills as a counselor and Reiki Master to ease and comfort those facing death. Prior to that she served as a Chaplain at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Minnesota. 

Ellen and her husband live in Minneapolis, where they have been practicing mindfulness meditation for twenty-five years. Together they co-lead one of the Heart to Heart mindfulness groups for couples at Common Ground Meditation Center. 

“I am dedicated to helping people discover their strengths to face the unknown and move forward with confidence at times of transition.”

“Ellen’s beautifully scripted booklet intimately describes how ritual can move people through their deepest grief and toward acceptance of the death of their loved one.”

Jerrigrace Lyons, founder of Final Passages

With Our Own Hands will be an asset to both professional and family caregivers. The practical ritual components of her guidebook, as well as Ellen’s inspiring stories, are a welcome tool.”

Richard Groves, founder of the Sacred Art of Living Center and author of The American Book of Living and Dying

“I highly recommend this gift from Ellen. I have respected her and her work for years, but that changed exponentially when I experienced her sacred Body Blessing at the National Home Funeral Alliance. Here she gives us guidance so that we too can carry this beautiful honoring into our own work and teaching.”  

Linda Bergh, co-founder of Minnesota Threshold Network
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