My name is Summer Downs, and I am a community deathcare advocate, death doula, writer, lifelong learner, and intuitive practitioner of esoteric and erotic arts.
Pronouns: she/her & they/them
I have two great passions:
to reveal & embrace what is hidden, shamed, or stolen
& to collectively create ecosystems of community care
Community deathcare lies at the intersection of these desires. I believe all people have the right and the responsibility to care for each other throughout life and death, and to make choices that dignify our inherent sovereignty.
My professional background has always centered around community care and advocacy. In my work with grassroots non-profit organizations and folx healing from trauma around the world, from Thailand to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Seattle, I have held space for deep human sorrows and learned to take accountability for my part in systems of oppression. Forging an ethical path in a world ruled by supremacy is difficult, and I have made many mistakes along the way. But I have also been inspired by the work that we can do together to reimagine what liberation can look like in our communities.
My path to deathcare was paved through intimacy with death & grief. When my sister died in 2016, I lived through the suffering that a deathphobic and shame-driven society has created. Her death showed me the true depth of our collective sickness, while also giving me the bravery to begin shedding the externally-imposed identities I had been suffocating inside of.
Among other things, I am queer, neurodivergent, sex positive, spiritual, radical, and non-religious; and above all things, I am about liberation. Plain and simple. I have found that engaging with Death in all its complexity can be a powerful path to liberation, and that end-of-life care should be a crucial piece of our systems of mutual aid.
Accompanied by current and future ancestors, I am grateful to have found a home within a community of folx who are passionate about restoring Deathcare in our communities. There is room for everyone here - consider this your invitation to join us.
My Education & Trainings
End of Life Doula Training 2020
Going with Grace
MA in International Development
University of Denver
BA in Global Development Studies
Seattle Pacific University
National Home Funeral Alliance
Creative Strategies for Change