We want to normalize the natural and sacred process of aging and leaving the physical world. Our mission is to help families enrich their relationships and release fear, guilt and pressure around caregiving through compassionate conversations, emotional validation and collaborative end-of-life planning.
Too late to say goodbye...
Morning Star was only three years old when her birth mother died from leukemia — a sudden departure only nineteen days after she was diagnosed.
Overcome with grief she was far too young to understand, Morning Star was placed in the care of one family after another, subject to abuse and neglect until her father and his new wife decided it was best she was put up for adoption.
At six years old, Morning Star was adopted by a wonderful couple, who gave her a second chance at a childhood and the loving support that she thought had disappeared when her birth mother died.
As an adult motivated to transform her traumatic early childhood into a catalyst to empower others, she began to work with at-risk kids and their families, earned a graduate degree in Applied Behavioral Sciences and became a certified NLP trainer.
As her adoptive mother, Betty, grew into her seventies, she began to show early signs of dementia. She felt frustrated and frightened as her memory slipped from her control. She compensated, hiding her decline from her family for as long as she could.
Unlike the experience of losing her birth mother, Morning Star was able to be present and prepared for her adoptive mother’s end-of-life transition and properly process her own grief.
This is when she first discovered that by not only physically caring for Betty, but also validating her emotions of frustration, anger, and memory loss — she helped her to gently release unresolved past trauma and complete her life peacefully.
Another death, and a family torn apart.
A few years after Betty died, Morning Star’s brother-in-law, David, was diagnosed with stage three esophageal cancer.
Although three of his five brothers were physicians and knew the severity of this particular cancer, almost instantly, they fell into great denial about the state of his physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
David’s chances of survival were slim, but shortly after his diagnosis, Morning Star stepped in as one of David’s primary caregivers, treating him as a living brother, instead of a dying patient. She took him for his grueling chemotherapy treatments, monitored his medications, prepared his meals, and got him up to walk. Whenever he was hospitalized — which happened often — she gave David emotional support, a positive attitude and a listening ear.
She believed the best chance of restoring David’s health was to help him heal his relationship with himself and those around him. And so began the deeper internal work, which was just as challenging as the radiation and chemotherapy.
But the sicker David got, the greater the denial within the family grew when it came to the state of his decline. Everyone seemed to have an opinion on how to best care and prepare for his end-of-life transition, even though most of it went against David’s desires.
Morning Star believed that by being left out of decisions, David felt disempowered and invalidated through his own dying experience. He passed feeling as though he was a burden to his family.
Transitional wisdom for graceful goodbyes.
It wasn’t long after David’s death that her father’s health began to decline. Again, she assumed the role of primary caregiver.
While she was prepared to give him the physical care and emotional support he needed — she learned another pivotal lesson in her own journey: preventing caregiver burnout.
She realized that family caregivers also need compassionate support in that moment of stress, pressure and grief… without sacrificing their own wellbeing.
Just as there’s no “right” way to navigate a life-threatening illness, age-related decline, or death — there is no “right” way to care for an aging or ill loved one. These processes are as individual as the people experiencing them.
Through empowering and collaborative conversations, she and her father were able to co-create an intentional aging plan for him, that ensured they both had the independence, care and support they needed.
It was during this time that Morning Star was inspired to write her book Transitional Wisdom, to share her own experiences with caregiving and coping with death. She also held a vision to start a company that provides practical and emotional counsel for family caregivers that are dealing with a declining loved one.
Today, Morning Star has partnered with her daughter Michaela Holmes to provide insightful, powerful and practical support to individuals and their families as they care for loved ones experiencing age-related decline or a life-threatening disease.
The mother-daughter duo also helps caregivers manage their own independence and self-care, as well as overcome any unresolved family trauma through coaching, family consulting and emotional estate planning.
It is estimated that caregivers spend 30 billion hours each year providing care for their elderly loved ones. Through Transitional Wisdom, Morning Star and Michaela hope to normalize the aging process and embrace the sacredness of living and completing life gracefully.