Episode 23 - Melissa Dodson (Grief Rites)

Happy Valentine’s Day. Put down the box of Russell Stover candies and listen up. It’s time to talk about death. There’s no better way to celebrate love than to honor the fact that we eventually lose the ones we love. Or do we? On the Block Radio is a show about transformation. More specifically, we are a show about how people face intense experiences in their lives and transform them into meaning, beauty and purpose. There is no bigger transformation than that of death. To confront our own deaths, the sages of every religion teach, is the key to unlocking the eternal aspects within our consciousness and our bodies. There are few more basic human issues than the ever-ticking clock of our own mortality. It is what makes life tragic and glorious at the same time. And to help someone prepare for a beautiful death is to help a person fulfill their deepest potential as a human being. There is literally no higher calling. This is the calling Mellisa Dodson heard, and answered, on March 25, 2014. 

Melissa Dodson is a California girl who found her home in the trees of Portland, OR. She's a wife and mom, a writer and a Death Midwife. She writes about being a motherless daughter, grief, depression, vulnerability and the beauty of a messy life. She is a dream catcher, a grief warrior, a survivor, a book whore. Studying writing with Lidia Yuknavitch woke up all the broken pieces of her heart, and reminded her that words save. She now studies Dangerous Writing under the tutelage of Tom Spanbauer and the magic makers in the basement. Her work has been featured on The Manifest-Station, Rebelle Society, The Tattooed Buddha, behind-the-ink, Some Talk of You & Me, Breathe In. Breathe Out. Live, among other online publications.  

Since the March 25, 2014 death of her mother, her passions lie with grief, compassionate end-of-life planning, conscious death and dying, home death/home vigil/home funeral and natural/green burial. 

In 2015, she founded Grief Rites, a Facebook community to safely and openly talk about death and grief (website coming soon). She also curates the Grief Rites Readers Series, a literary event in NE Portland, to bring people together to hold sacred space for each other in their grief. The Readers Series meets the first Monday of each month at American Legion Post 134, and is free to all. 

Her next chapter includes turning Grief Rites into a 501c(3) non-profit organization. Funds raised through the Grief Rites Foundation will take the Readers Series on the road to broaden the reach of the grief safety net that she’s created, and bring in renowned speakers and authors in the realm of death and grief. Additionally, there will be a fund to assist people with covering funeral and burial costs for green/natural burials.

She is also continually studying, and offering her services though her Portland based business, Into the Light, LLC. Her offerings include compassionate end-of-life planning and education, death midwifery services, home funeral guidance, caregiver support and grief support.