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Daily Inspiration: Meet William Turner Heath

Today we’d like to introduce you to William Turner Heath. He shares his story with us below:

William Heath completed his degree in Mortuary Science from Miami Dade College, where he graduated with highest honors. William brings an intriguing set of skills and life experiences to his work as a licensed funeral director, all of which make him uniquely qualified in guiding families through the painful experience of loss and in helping them transform grief through ceremony and spiritual expression. 

In past incarnations, William pursued work in the visual arts, both as an artist and curator connecting communities through his work at numerous museums and galleries. William’s early career took him from the UF Gators, where he completed a B.F.A. in sculpture from the University of Florida (and where he opened his first gallery, The Art Store), to NYC, to Los Angeles, Austin, and internationally with as a cultural ambassador with the U.S. Consulate. Through his work as a curator and art director, William honed his communication skills, facilitating connections between artists, community and art collectors. 

Bridging the professional, spiritual and artistic is of utmost importance to William. To that end and in his current capacity as a funeral director, he has rounded out his education with an End-of-Life Doula Certificate through the University of Vermont. William is currently in training as an interfaith minister at the Alliance of Divine Love while he concurrently volunteers at Haven Hospice every Thursday morning. 

With the heart and empathy of an artist and his skills in and knowledge of funeral services, William thoughtfully guides clients toward rituals and ceremonies that speak to that which is meaningful and comforting to them and that reflects the religious and family traditions that they hold close. William is also an enthusiastic proponent of Green Burial and Natural Organic Reduction, and accordingly frequently speaks to groups about alternative dispositions options. William volunteers with Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has been a smooth road, the pandemic created the need for us to connect through technology at end-of-life…The Calling Hours is a Death Concierge Service that companions families during the End-of-Life process; We advocate for the families we work with by connecting our clients with death doula services and alternative healing modalities, we do this in order to hold space for conversations around grief and legacy. Well before end-stage planning begins we meet with clients to archive the stories of people in our community of Central Florida. 

We specialize in non-traditional legacy work, audio and video keepsakes, life review interviews, and sacred ceremonies done over Zoom. Before we pass from this plane of existence, we need to reflect on the lives we have lived and get our affairs in order. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
The Calling Hours is a Death Concierge Service that companions families during the End-of-Life process; We advocate for the families we work with by connecting our clients with death doula services and alternative healing modalities, we do this in order to hold space for conversations around grief and legacy. Well before end-stage planning begins we meet with clients to archive the stories of people in our community of Central Florida. 

We specialize in non-traditional legacy work, audio and video keepsakes, life review interviews, and sacred ceremonies done over Zoom. Before we pass from this plane of existence, we need to reflect on the lives we have lived and get our affairs in order. 

What was your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory, we’ll all of my favorite childhood memories all lead back to my mother, Martha Turner, she celebrated every holiday with so much spirit…And whether it us was driving to fabric stores in Hialeah every August to shop for Halloween costume material or Driving to the Keys to celebrate Summer Break–my mother was a moment maker. 

When my mom was cleaning out of her townhouse in Miami to relocate to Tampa a few years ago to be closer to my sisters, I wasn’t very sympathetic over her attachments to things. I would go over on weekends to help her and we would go through things, things for a yard sale, things to donate to Hospice, things to throw away. I would usually get upset over how long it was taking her to decide. For instance, we were going through kitchen cabinets and she spent 20 minutes looking at platters and decorative bowls she never used anymore. Finally, I said, “Mom, at this rate it is going to take us another 2 years to get your packed up in time for the moving trucks.” 

She told me that her grandfather used to make popcorn balls for Halloween back in Ohio and that mom would deliver them around the neighborhood on the platters. I realized that everything that my mom was going through was really a reliving of her life. 

If you are reading this and are under the age of 60, you won’t get it. You haven’t lived long enough. Most of you have not had to move your parents into a nursing home, or emptied their home. You haven’t lived long enough to realize that the hours you spend picking out the right cabinets, or the perfect tile will not be what matters in the later years. It will be the handmade toothbrush holder, or a picture that you got on vacation. 

So, if your parents are downsizing, and moving to smaller places, or selling a home, give your mom and even your dad a break. Those things that you don’t understand why they can’t just pitch, and why you think you know what needs to be tossed or saved, give them a little time to make their decisions. They are saying goodbye to their past, and realizing that they are getting ready for their end of life, while you are beginning your life. End-of-Life Doulas can help with this process and can step into the picture as a liaison as our parents begin to see changes in how they are able to live in retirement. 

Pricing:

  • End-of-life planning consultation $100
  • Video Heirloom starting at $495
  • Audio Heirlooms starting at $495

Contact Info:

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