Heidi Fettig Parton is a writer and end of life doula in training. Heidi’s writing can be found in many publications, including Agate Magazine, Angels Flight literary west, Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog, Entropy, Forge Literary Magazine, The Manifest-Station, MindBodyGreen, Multiplicity, St. Paul Almanac, and The Rumpus. Heidi lives in the Saint Croix River Watershed with her husband, son, and their fur babies. Life includes lots of visits from her two adult children.
My first career path was fairly cerebral: law school, clerking for judges, lawyering, working in legal publishing, and teaching legal writing to law students. At age 40, I retired from my legal career to focus on the particular needs of my third child, a son born with bilateral hearing loss. As my son developed into the marvelous 10-year old he is today, I began dreaming about, and envisioning, an encore career.
The path leading towards that encore has been long, winding, and intuitive. The quest for my encore career has involved only the visible inch or two in front of my face, and a whole lot of faith. Along this path, I’ve added a variety of soul-centered education and life-nourishing skills.
In 2011, I earned my 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification; a Yin Yoga teaching certification followed in 2012. I taught yoga for a few years, while, at the same time, building up a yoga blog following and writing wellness articles for MindBodyGreen. In 2014, I began a journey towards an MFA in creative nonfiction writing, with a focus on personal essay, memoir, and spiritual writing.
In 2016, I began training as a Master Steward of the Saint Croix Watershed in a unique program funded by the EPA. My master’s thesis and stewardship capstone (a storytelling project) were due within months of each other. In the spring of 2017, I graduated from my MFA program and officially became a master watershed steward. Since graduating, much of my writing work has turned towards meaning-making, with personal, family, and ecological legacy projects.
At the time of this update (June 28, 2020), I am two weeks from my 50th birthday. Yesterday, I completed INELDA’s end of life doula training program. I am officially a doula (in training) and am ready to take on clients; if you (or someone you know) needs the services of an end of life doula, please email me. I will be offering my services on a pro bono basis until my certification process is complete.
I haven’t received specialized training as a divorce doula, but I’ve witnessed many divorces as an attorney, and I’ve navigated through the divorce process myself. I see the value in treating the end of a marriage in much the same way as the end of a life. I am eager to work with clients experiencing divorce, helping them create meaning around the life and loss of their marriage.
Alongside my doula work, I continue to write about grief stemming from life transitions–such as divorce and death–and ecological loss. And, I continue my work as a watershed steward, which is oddly connected with the business of grief and sorrow. As Francis Weller writes in The Wild Edge of Sorrow:
Sorrow helps us remember something long intuited by indigenous people across the planet: our lives are intricately commingled with one another, with animals, plants, watersheds, and soil.
Thanks for learning more about me.
Namaste, beautiful ones.