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May 19, 2024 45 mins

In this episode, my guest is Ashley Oppon, host of "Dine with the Divine." Ashley, a registered nurse from New Jersey, describes her nursing job as her "muggle job," revealing her love for theology and religion. Growing up Catholic, Ashley's curiosity led her to explore various faiths, finding something meaningful in each. This exploration shaped her understanding of human belief systems and the cultural significance of faith worldwide.

Ashley's professional journey in oncology for the past seven years brought her face-to-face with death regularly. Her multicultural background, with roots in West Africa, exposed her to vibrant funeral traditions, contrasting with the more reserved American approach to death. These experiences sparked her interest in understanding and supporting others through the grieving process.

Working as a nurse, Ashley witnessed diverse reactions to death, from acceptance to fear. Her exposure to hospice care deepened her conviction that death should be approached with acceptance and understanding, rather than fear. This led her to explore the role of death doulas, eventually inspiring her to provide support for those facing end-of-life decisions.

Ashley emphasizes the importance of living without regrets and embracing life fully. She encourages people to address unresolved issues and live authentically, drawing from her belief that acknowledging death's inevitability can lead to a more fulfilling life.

In a society focused on prolonging life, Ashley advocates for acknowledging death as a natural part of existence. She believes that accepting death's reality can alleviate the fear surrounding it and facilitate healthier grieving processes. By embracing the transient nature of life, Ashley hopes to empower individuals to live with purpose and find peace in the face of mortality.

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