Founded in June 2020
I have to start out by saying "I have always loved cemeteries!" They are a place of history, solace, intrigue, and where our ancestors rest. They are also places greatly misunderstood, feared, neglected, and forgotten. In other cultures around the globe, the world of the living and the dead are not so divided. Practices like ancestor wors
I have to start out by saying "I have always loved cemeteries!" They are a place of history, solace, intrigue, and where our ancestors rest. They are also places greatly misunderstood, feared, neglected, and forgotten. In other cultures around the globe, the world of the living and the dead are not so divided. Practices like ancestor worship, and Day of the Dead celebrations are commonplace and festive. Here, we have walls and scary stories - one of the scariest being the impact this is having on the environment, our economy and our human consciousness. All of these thoughts were going through my head on a flight home when I first envisioned Living Leaves, and the place I want to eventually rest when I die.
When I met Anna, Living leaves grew from the seedling of an socio-environmental initiative, to one that also embraces soul midwifery (Death Doula), end of life coaching, legacy projects and grief groups.
I am a transplant to Delaware from California. Since 2013 I have worked as a Flight Attendant out of Philadelphia. I love my job, but for sometime my heart has called me to merge my skills in a way that contributes to the betterment of our environment, toward more conscious lives and deaths, and to help individuals and communities extract the profound meaning that exists in each arrival and departure,
I wasn't always a Flight Attendant though. For many years previous, I had my feet firmly on the ground, exploring social activism, wildlife rescue and care, research and writing, and I even got my private pilot's license. I received my B.A. in Anthropology from UC Berkeley, and studied Social Anthropology at the University of Kent, Canterbury. After college, I worked briefly in the field of social science research before transitioning to Public Radio, interning first with the News Department at KPFA in Berkeley, then as the first news reporter devoted to Clark County at WYSO in Yellow Springs, OH.
This year, 2022, I completed my Conscious Dying Coach and Sacred Passage Doula training with The Conscious Dying Institute in Colorado. In 2021 we began a specially designed program, under the guidance of the late Stephen Gaddis, founder of the Narrative Therapy Initiative in Massachusetts, in order to help us better assist people and communities in re-authoring their experiences and writing their departure stories.
Although it was in my jump seat on a flight when I first envisioned the seed of what Living Leaves has come to represent today, it has been through my partnership with Anna, and with the communities we engage that this initiative has, and will continue to develop.
It is our goal to connect people and communities to new ways of utilizing public spaces, envisioning death, incorporating the environment, all the while giving voice to individual and community experiences that live on long after we depart.
So it’s not just a departure story really. it’s an arrival to a new way of thinking about and experiencing life through death.
And departures and arrivals are my specialty!
Anna Montejo, a native of Wilmington, DE, resides in West Chester, PA with her family for the past 22 years. Throughout, she has performed oboe and English horn with the Newark Symphony Orchestra (DE) and Immaculata Symphony Orchestra (PA). She has served as past president of its board of directors, and publicity committee chair. As no
Anna Montejo, a native of Wilmington, DE, resides in West Chester, PA with her family for the past 22 years. Throughout, she has performed oboe and English horn with the Newark Symphony Orchestra (DE) and Immaculata Symphony Orchestra (PA). She has served as past president of its board of directors, and publicity committee chair. As non-profit, local community orchestras, her time invested has provided a strong understanding of creating community moral, partnerships and interest.
While raising her family of 3 kids Alex, Leo and Ruby with her husband Greg Fain, they explored many nature preserves and converted scenic pathways between Delaware and Pennsylvania. This led to supporting organizations such as Natural Lands, Tyler Arboretum, Save the Valley, and Rails-to-Trails.
Her professional career has navigated IT consulting with expertise in networks, systems integration and infrastructure. These skills require significant problem solving, particularly for re-arranging systems, or rather digital space for more efficient use, storage and organization.
She pursued a new interest in January 2019 for end-of-life doulas, and attended a workshop training in Ann Arbor, Michigan with Life Span Doulas. This new interest stemmed from personal experience of losing family and friends, and choosing to be by their bedside as they passed, and helping with memorial efforts for fellow musicians who passed. This training included topics for home deaths, and green burials with example from Steelmantown Cemetery in NJ. This transformation of land is a beautiful captivating story and stirred her interest more. Although Covid-19 has slowed the opportunity for end-of-life doula learning experience, the interest and research continues. Anna is excited to partner with Cynthia Sperberg to shape Living Leaves LLC as a community service offering for end of life experiences.
Living Leaves is expanding its services and becoming a collective!
Details to be announced soon.
To raise funds for our transition and operating costs, I will be offering my Life Review and Re-Author Your Life Packages for 50.00!
That's a 5 hours coaching at 10 dollars an hour!
Take advantage of this while it lasts and tell a friend