The Death Letter Project
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Frances Taylor-Marshall | Pastor & Spiritual Carer / End of life Doula / Holistic Home Funeral Celebrant                                                     

Dear Tina

When I was growing up, my Mother and I shared a love of phenomena and the mystical, especially those that present at the end of one's life. Mum had what I used to call a ‘knack’, but I’ve come to know it as a ‘gift’, of being with people when they were dying and was so often present at their time of death. Mum would share her experiences with me without any hint of fear, fright or dread. I would be awe struck listening to her and would simply look up at her and so wish I could have been there to see for myself.

I was present with my Father when he was dying, and I had an experience of our breath becoming one to his last. When my Mother died, I felt like my whole heart had opened. I felt so expanded in the presence of her death, so full of life. Similarly, being with my youngest brother when he was dying, left me yet again with a sense of touching a Divine aspect to life. In the words of Henry Thoreau, American Philosopher, Naturalist and Poet, ‘It is life near the bone where it is sweetest.”

Whenever I reflect and ponder on how I make sense of my life and inevitable death, I can see how I have come to find meaning daily when I consider my life is inextricably linked with preparing myself for when I die. In the words of Leonardo Da Vinci: “While I thought that I was learning how to live, I was learning how to die”. Now an adult, the awe and wonder I felt listening to my Mother’s stories, remain deep-seated within me and informs my work.

I am designed to live and designed to die, and I choose to trust in this design.

With Love


Pastor - Companion to the living & dying

Editor's note: Frances brings to her roles extensive qualifications and experience, as well as a gift of being with those at the end of life or facing death, which has earned her wide respect in the field. When I met Frances I was struck by her warm presence and inner stillness. To be with her is to be in very capable hands.

The Death Letter Project welcomes your comments and feedback. Please feel free to leave a comment on our Facebook page or alternatively submit a message below.


  • Fran, what a gorgeous perspective on personal growth throughout ones life. An even more gorgeous photo. - sherrijay85 (Instagram)

  • Wow. That just made me tingle all over. - Alison Chapman (Facebook)

  • Great photo! x - amychaplin (Instagram)

  • Beautiful Fran, such inspiring words and sentiments. I’m not surprised by this at all having met you at RNSH. My mother was a palliative care nurse for the latter part of her 50+ years nursing career, and there is wonderful value in living, but also in dying well. With love to you, Anna. - Anna Bragg (email)

  • Beautiful words and striking picture! - Rosada Hayes (Facebook)

  • ... totally relate to this design ... - Colleen Pettiford (Facebook)