Alua Arthur

Death doula Alua Arthur talks to Kyla Marshell about preparing for life's final ritual.

  • Photography Kanya Iwana

“We learn how people come into this world, but we don't learn how people go out.”

The most interesting version of the story is also the true one. This is how Alua Arthur reflects on the life-altering series of events that led her to become a death doula. She was burned out in her career as a lawyer in Los Angeles and so took a trip to Cuba as respite. On an errand one day, she narrowly missed getting hit by a car; then, later the same day, she found herself deep in conversation on a bus with a fellow passenger, a woman with cancer and who, it turned out, had been in the car that had almost hit her earlier. When, only a few months later, Arthur’s brother-in-law got sick and eventually died, she became the support system for her sister, both in logistics and emotions. It was a process she had to learn in the midst of grieving for him herself. “I remember just sitti...

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