In her 40’s, Gabrielle went back to school to become a hospice nurse. She shares her difficult journey in her book “Soft Landing”. Becoming a hospice nurse opened her eyes and changed how she saw her world. She discusses some of the wonderful people she cared for until they passed, and the lessons she learned about life through death.

Do you have an exploring death story you’d like to share with Lisa? Please leave a comment on the podcast or contact Lisa at 


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Show Notes

  • Why Gabrielle decided to become a hospice nurse – 2:46
  • Obstacles that almost made her quit – 3:42
  • The most difficult thing at nursing school – 4:13
  • Figuring out that she was dyslexic – 4:56
  • Being surrounded by death 24/7 – 5:59
  • Death is unpredictable – 8:58
  • Helping the person that is passing to the other side – 10:48
  • Gabrielle’s experience as a hospice nurse – 12:33
  • Gabrielle’s thoughts about car accidents – 15:20
  • Life is urgent – 18:59
  • A tear-jerking volunteer story – 19:31
  • Is a hospice a place where you go to die? – 23:19
  • A hospice is a plan of care – 24:04
  • Lisa reads some cards for Gabrielle – 27:07
  • Gabrielle talks about her book – 30:09
  • Lisa reads some cards about the idea of hospices as a plan of care – 32:26
  • Calling a hospice can bring you strength – 35:35

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One Response to “Life Through Death with Gabrielle Elise – Episode 87”

  1. Jenna

    This interview is very informative and provides some helpful information about hospice. I appreciate how Lisa and Gabby talk about misconceptions people have about hospice, such as that it is just a place “people go to die”, but Gabby uses an excellent phrase when she says hospice is a “plan of care”, and is not something scary, and should not be considered to be giving up. I also admire Gabby for going back to college and going to nursing school when she was in her 40’s because she really wanted to be a hospice nurse.

    I just love when Gabby talks about how even though in her work she is surrounded by death she still sees so much love and life. I strongly agree with her that seeing people near death helps us understand how precious and fragile life is and how beautiful love is. I like how Lisa and Gabby discuss how we should let go of petty grudges, it does not serve us to hold on to resentment and anger. Sometimes people have arguments and won’t talk to each other for a long time, sometimes so long they don’t even remember what the original argument was about. Remembering that we will die someday helps put things into perspective and helps us to truly appreciate life and that we should all do our best to make each other’s lives as good as possible, and to treat others kindly. Most people are basically good people trying to get through life the best they can the way they know how. I think maybe people would treat each other better if they kept this in mind more.

    I also like how Gabby says death is not predictable and how every human experience of death is different. I love her suggestion of spending time with the dying person and talking with the person about specific memories, it is a great idea to go through highlights of the person’s life that the person dying would enjoy hearing about. She has a good point of view that the person who is near death doesn’t want people around him or her standing around looking somber in silence. I like Gabby’s story about the woman who had not seen her sister for so long because they had had a falling out of some sort, and then went to see her when she heard that she was near death, and wished she had more time with her and had reconciled with her before she was dying. Gabby gives great advice that we shouldn’t wait until someone is dying to say the things that we need to say and to reconcile with the person, we should do that anyway even before the person is on his or her death bed. Sometimes when we attempt to reconcile with someone, the other person doesn’t want to reconcile with us, and that is okay, the important thing is making the effort, and if the other person doesn’t accept, that is their problem. It is beautiful when Gabby says all we know we have is this moment, since we could die at any time. I have heard some people say that the only thing we really have to do in life is die, everything else we do in life we have a choice about in a certain sense.


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