Stressed about death? Here are ways to find peace with end of life

Nonprofit organization helping people on hospice find peace in their final days

Solutionaries is about highlighting the problem but more importantly, it’s about the search for answers. Our team shows you the results that are helping other, and sometimes there are limitations.

However, when it comes to death, what is the solution? As it turns out there are a number of problems associated with this topic. According to studies, the mere thought of death can insight fear for a lot of people.

It’s called Thanatophobia, and it’s defined an extreme fear of the dying process. It mainly impacts people in poor health or with a serious illness. Adults and children can also experience death anxiety.

Death anxiety can be triggered from traumatic events or the loss of a loved one. However, the path to inner peace exists.

Aspen Aman is a certified gong master and has a passion to heal others through sound mediation.

“I won’t say that it’s a one-time fix. It’s not like you go one time and then you’re not afraid of dying anymore. No, that would be disingenuous to say,” she said. “But what it does, as a practice, it really allows you to release stress, which is the first thing we really have to do is get people down and more grounded and more inside of themselves. We tell them inside the meditation, whether it’s a one-on-one or a group session, we say release expectation. Just be, just be here. Just listen to the sounds.”

Aman goes by the name “SoundMirror” during her meditation work, because she prefers the focus to be on the process. She believes there are a number of benefits for people dealing with emotional stress, especially when it comes to death.

“So if we can do a practice a meditation practice to get ourselves grounded in that reality that this happens to everyone of us. Then we are going to approach that practical side of preparing for the inevitable for us and those around us,” Aman said.

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Studies show methods like this can help reduce stress, remove emotional blockages, and promote awareness and appreciation.

This peaceful practice is just one way some are embracing life, and death at ABODE Contemplative Care for the Dying. The nonprofit organization was established in 2014, and runs strictly on donations. Since its establishment, over 300 people, referred to as “Guests,” have spent the remainder of their life at no charge.

Mary Thorsby serves as the executive director of the organization. She said their core mission is to provide compassionate care for their Guests.

“Here, we care for people who are at the very end of life. ABODE, partners with every hospice agency in town. And when hospice determines that their patient can no longer be at home. They can come to ABODE, come and live the rest of their days in one of our three beautiful bedrooms, and we just love them up until they’re ready to die.

Thorsbay said, homes like ABODE were come prior the emergence of hospitals.

“People died at home, people were used to taking care of each other and being there for one another until they died. It was very normal and natural, it was just a part of life,” she said.

The home features a mediation labyrinth, and quiet room. ABODE is also staffed with people referred to as “end of life navigators.” There are a number of programs to help normalize the idea of death and grief.

Thorsby has seen people overcome their fears during her time at ABODE. She believes it’s a home that harbors hope.

“Our vision at ABODE is that we live in a world where death is not feared and we live fully until we die. When we see guests who come here scared. And then over the course of a couple of days, or maybe a week or two, they just lean into it. They know they’re dying,” she said. “We’ve given them opportunity to say what needs to be said, reunite them with their families, talk about their lives, and just do the internal work that we all need to do before we die.”

There are some things you can do at home if you are struggling with anxiety. Avoid triggers like alcohol, drugs, or caffeine. Make sure you have a good support system around you. Lastly, talk to a professional about your fears.

If you would like to send a donation to ABODE, click here.

This article is part of “Solutionaries,” our continuing commitment to solutions journalism, highlighting the creative people in communities working to make the world a better place, one solution at a time. Find out what you can do to help at

About the Authors:

Steven Cavazos is a traffic anchor and general assignments reporter on weekday mornings at KSAT 12. He is also part of the Solutionaries team. He has deep South Texas roots: born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, graduated from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and worked in Harlingen and Corpus Christi before coming to KSAT 12 in 2019.