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WKYT Investigates: Bluegrass Death Doula

There is a woman in Lexington breaking barriers, and making uncomfortable conversations, much more comfortable.
There is a woman in Lexington breaking barriers, and making uncomfortable conversations, much more comfortable.
Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 3:00 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - There is a woman in Lexington breaking barriers, and making uncomfortable conversations, much more comfortable.

Lauren Hunter-Smith recently started a death doula service. It’s the first of its kind in Central Kentucky, and it’s gaining notoriety for its frank discussions.

“I am a death doula in addition to being a home funeral guide,” notes Hunter-Smith.

Hunter-Smith is a self-proclaimed ghoul who launched a unique business at the start of the year.

She did not take the traditional route of mortuary school, but she did study funerals, hospice, and other end-of-life care. She has walked more than 40 clients through the uncomfortable path of planning death.

She uses her experience to help people plan their final experience.

“I feel like people don’t realize that they can even do these things. I feel like they don’t realize that you don’t have to be embalmed. You don’t have to have a vault over your grave. You don’t have to do those things. There are options. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with wanting a traditional funeral, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to,” says Hunter-Smith. “The best time to form a plan is when you don’t need it. It’s really important that that plan happen before it needs to go into place or it’s not effective. After two years of a pandemic and just constantly being surrounded by death and sickness I think we’re kind of all more open to it than we would have been before.”

Hunter-Smith offers private consultations and public workshops at Good Foods Co-op.

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