The Death Midwife

Who is the Death Midwife?

 Meet Olivia Bareham

Hello, and thank you for visiting the Sacred Crossings website

My name is Olivia and I am known primarily as a death midwife, but am also a dedicated student of the Mystery, a teacher, healer, inter-faith minister, mother, grandmother, friend and Mystic.

Over the past 50 years I have studied many different spiritual traditions and practices but by far the most challenging and transformational has been the study of death and dying.

It began during my first years as a Minister of Healing in the late 80’s when most of my patients were dying of AIDS. I noticed that the dying journey offered a profound opportunity for healing, but this could only happen when the container created around the deathbed was safe, honest and loving.  Most people needed a little support and guidance in creating and maintaining this safe container.

When Mother died in 2005 my ministry took another turn when I was invited to help prepare her body. This included bathing, anointing, dressing and laying her body In Honor.  It was a sacred, tender and beautiful task. It gave me the time needed to integrate what had just happened and allow myself to feel the nuances of grief.

I knew that I wanted to help others  experience the healing that is available both in the dying process and in the after death care of the body.

In 2007 I founded Sacred Crossings as a Home Funeral Support Service and The Institute for Conscious Dying offering training programs for the Death Doula and Death Midwife.

In 2016 I partnered with a fellow Death Midwife and together we founded the Sacred Crossings Alternative Funeral Home offering a full range of green, conscious and kind mortuary and funeral services.

I feel blessed for this work that is tender, raw, honest and deeply satisfying. I fall in love over and over again and become more and more aligned with my true nature.

I would love to share this work with you. If you have questions and would like to speak in person, please write to me at:

If you are moved to explore the study of conscious dying, please register for one of our classes. 

And do visit our blog…

I look forward to meeting you and sharing this sacred journey.

With love and gratitude,


“Who we think we are can’t do it, but who we really are can, so who we think we are must die in the process.”   –  Ram Dass

Listen to Olivia on The Death Dialogues podcast below.

Ask the Death Midwife

Book your appointment with Olivia

If you would like to schedule a call with Olivia, please email her at

Please provide your desired discussion topic and the best phone number to reach you.

No charge for first consultation

Book your session today!

What is a Death Midwife?

A Death Midwife provides information, guidance and support to both the death journeyer and their family from terminal diagnosis through final disposition. The role combines that of spiritual counselor, death doula, home funeral guide and funeral celebrant.

What is the difference between a Death Midwife and Death Doula?

Defining the roles, responsibilities and titles of end-of-life support professionals is an ongoing process. Some of the different terms include: end-of-life guide, death doula, soul midwife, transition guide and death midwife.
A Death Doula is most often recognized as someone who assists individuals in their dying process while a Death Midwife also includes after-death care of the body, funeral and burial rituals and ceremonies.

NEDA – The National End-of-Life Doula Alliance and NHFA – the National Home Funeral Alliance have gone to great lengths to standardize the definitions for death doula and home funeral guide. Please visit these sites for more information.

Why Should I Hire A Death Midwife?

“Dying is not something that happens to you, dying is something you do.” – Stephen Jenkinson


Dying is a journey, one that invites us into the depths of our human-ness. We may slide into valleys of sorrow one day and climb mountains that test our courage and endurance the next.  We become deeply intimate with our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components. This intimacy may be confronting and frightening but it may also be profoundly beautiful.

With support and guidance the death journey can be one of awe and gratitude, of expansive loving awareness never before imagined. It can be a journey filled with kindness and tenderness and peace. Our final days can be the best days of our lives, if we can surrender our resistance, welcome the unknown and fall open to receive love that is beyond our imaginings. Hiring a death midwife can help both you and your loved-ones.

What to expect when hiring The Death Midwife

During the initial consultation, either by phone, Zoom or in-person, Olivia will help create a plan to address the emotional, spiritual and physical needs of both the patient and their family.

Subsequent visits or consults may be monthly, weekly or daily depending on the needs of the family. We work closely with doctors, hospice, caregivers, clergy and out-of-town family members to provide comfort, guidance and support for a peaceful transition experience.   

See below for a full list of services:


Death Midwifery services include:

~ In-home, hospital, or nursing home visits with you and your loved-one
~ Detailed reporting to next-of-kin unable to visit
~ Emergency room support after unexpected death
~ Holding space while life-support is discontinued (includes sacred singing, spiritual guidance, after-death rituals and body preparation if required)
~ Support with stillborn and infant death and bringing baby home for a home funeral
~ Finding a local, reputable hospice to meet your loved-ones needs
~ Assistance with completing advance directives for health care and death care
~ Assistance with fulfilling final wishes / healing relationships / putting things in order
~ Spiritual support including guided imagery, meditations and exercises to help alleviate anxiety and suffering
~ Guidance with completing the life-review and legacy project
~ Help with writing an autobiography or creating a video-biography as a legacy to loved one
~ Guidance with after death care of the body and dry-ice preservation for a home vigil and funeral (see FAQs for details)
~ Coordinating with a local funeral home for transportation and cremation or burial
~ Assistance with funeral service planning
~ Celebrant to officiate funerals, memorials and graveside services

If you have any questions about conscious dying or would like support for yourself or a loved-one, please contact Olivia directly at

Some typical questions have been…

~ My husband has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer but refuses to talk about it. There are so many decisions to make, how do we move forward?

~ I want to have a home funeral, but my sister is too afraid – can you explain the process to her to help her understand the benefits?

~ My daughter had a stillbirth – the baby in the hospital morgue but she desperately wants to see him and his siblings need to have closure. We’re being told it’s not possible, what can we do?

~ My husband died suddenly and I just don’t know how to tell the children, they are 4 and 8. Help!

– My daughter died by suicide and I just can’t seem to move on – can you suggest a ritual I can do?

The Advance Death Care Directive

 Shroud? Casket? Funeral? Cremation? Sea Burial?
There are so many decisions!

Write your wishes down in this digital planner.

"Relieve your loved ones from making these difficult decisions, complete your directive today!"

Contact Sacred Crossings

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