Your Death Professional

About Tolley

I’m a native Angelean who’s parlayed a career in fashion and commercial casting, my passion for political activism, and my degree in sociology into working as a death doula.

Death work ties together all the parts of my life beautifully. And it’s something I’ve known how to do intuitively since I can remember.

Bringing out the best in people. Being their advocate. Showing compassion. Talking about the hard things.

My approach to end-of-life care

I think people are beautiful. That’s why I do what I do.

It probably helps that I’m ok with death and I always have been. I’m not afraid of it.

I always joke that I’m terrified when my friends have babies. I have no idea what to do. Am I going to break the baby? Wake up the parents?

But death, that I can do.

I know how to sit there with you and figure out what needs to be done. Got a sink full of dishes, I’m on it. Mostly, I’m good at figuring out what it is you need.

Like I can tell if you need to be the one doing your dishes because, hey, that’s your quiet time for processing your grief. I get it. I’m paying attention.

So, what’s my approach? To do the work. And to do it with love and compassion and all my heart.

Here’s what you can expect from me:
– Hard work
– High Standards
– Discretion

I believe in the safety of routine and I’m not afraid of taking risks.

I work well with others (hospice, family, friends, caregivers) and find great joy in being part of another’s path.

I’m a plain speaker, a great listener, and most of all…

I’m here for you!

No platitudes.
All gratitude.
Great attitude.

Tolley, her mom, and her sister.
I Always Come Back Home to Los Angeles

From Casting Director to Death Doula

I grew up in Pacific Palisades in the 70s, back when the Palisades was a quiet beach town (Palisades High Class of ‘82 represent).

In my early 20s, I lived and worked in London as a model agent and creative agent. In NYC as the Model Editor at Mademoiselle Magazine. Then I moved back to Los Angeles.

I shifted to a career in casting and cast hundreds of commercials, features, and music videos (including some of your favorites like “Baby’s Got Back” and “November Rain”).

I got married and divorced, never had kids, became a dog mom, outlived them all, and I’m still here to tell a tale or two.

Most people have families to take up their time. I have time and space for you. That’s odd, I know, but this is the kind of honesty you can expect in our dealings.

I’ve trained with the best

My Doula Training

There is no actual certification or accreditation for becoming a death doula. But, of course, people have been caring for each other during the dying process for thousands of years. And, as is the case with most ancient roles, death doulas teach each other. These are my teachers:

My training took me on my own spiritual journey through death and death care. We covered what it takes to be able to hold that much pain and what it takes to be calm and centered inside of so much grief. It was intense and I’m immensely grateful.

Tolley's 5th grade class in Pacific Palisades in 1975.
Tolley’s 5th grade class in Pacific Palisades in 1975.


When my mother passed I was facing an unexpected storm head-on. I didn’t know what kind of support or help was needed. Who does at that moment?!

We have wedding planners but what about someone to navigate the delicate nature of the passing of our loved ones?

Tolley was respectful and made herself available when it mattered. She offered services and capabilities that one’s grieving mind simply cannot comprehend.

She was compassionate and understanding of the complexities of this difficult life transition due in large part to her innate intuition with people.

I appreciate Tolley being the rock I could lean up against and weather that storm. I would highly recommend her for anyone in need of help to navigate the loss of a loved one.


Loving Son

Things you should know about me…

I’m real plain speaking, so if you don’t want to hear the plain answer, don’t ask the question. I’m not afraid of the hard topics.
I tend to be more logical than most. But couple that logic with my huge heart and you’ve got yourself a great advocate and caring companion, always on your side.
I love my family and friends like crazy and I make sure they know it.
I named my dogs Thurston and Lovey (and if you know, you know).
I drive a Punk Rock Soccer Mom black Dodge, but I know I should be driving an EV.
I’m a grassroots activist for progressive values. If you don’t bring politics up, neither will I.
I know that confidentiality is the key to trust. Whatever you tell me stays between us and always will. My Mother is very frustrated by this.

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