Free Online Grief and Loss Webinar – now offered in Spanish

Casa de la Luz Foundation, and its partner, Loving Spirit, an Idaho-based non-profit, announced today that a free, online grief and loss webinar is now available in Spanish at The webinar consists of six, approximately one-hour sessions that may be watched on demand on any device with Wi-Fi access. “We designed the Loving Spirit Webinar with working people and families in mind,” said Dayle E. Spencer, President of Loving Spirit. “Especially when we are grieving, it’s hard to make ourselves available when it’s convenient for others. So the webinar may be watched at any time, 24/7, that works for you. You can watch a segment, and stop to do other things, then, continue a day or a week later. You can also start a segment, stop for lunch or dinner, and restart without losing your place. And, if you forget or become distracted, you can easily re-watch any part of the webinar.” All workshop materials have also been translated to Spanish. The webinar is also available for hearing impaired audiences with closed captioning in either Spanish or English as options. Loving Spirit began working on a virtual version of its typical, two-day workshop as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic began. With several months of efforts the initial, English language version of the Loving Spirit Webinar was released on June 1st. Then on July 1st, the hearing impaired version was released. “We expect to reach larger audiences in more geographic areas than we could have reached with live workshops in this same period of time, “ said Spencer. “So all the effort the team has put into this production has been well worth it. “ For the past six years Loving Spirit has held its free, live workshops in eleven states. It had to cancel 10 workshops that were scheduled for 2020 due to Covid-19. “We would especially like to thank Julie Evans, for her considerable efforts in support of this webinar”, added Spencer. ________________________________________________________________________ _________________________ Contact: Dayle E. Spencer, President 808-446-6060, P.O. Box 3102, Hailey, ID 83333 Read More

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Dear Friends,

A recent post by the President of the John A. Hartford Foundation rang true for me.  Here’s an excerpt from Terry Fulmer’s statement:

The deep stain of racism continues to blot out our country’s ability to live up to our highest ideals and we have been confronted once again with the reality that racial injustice is a matter of life and death. Whether the context is police brutality or the COVID-19 pandemic, structural racism and historical inequities are woven into our societal fabric. It is up to all of us to acknowledge this and respond by unraveling those patterns and weaving a new future together. 

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from the Birmingham Jail


Casa de la Luz Foundation envisions transforming the end of life experience into the final act of living well, for all in our community.  One of our core values is compassion.  Merriam-Webster defines compassion as “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it”.  My question to you, and of myself, is: what actions can we take to alleviate the distress of our neighbors who face hatred for no other reason than the color of their skin.

Here are a few ideas to get us started:

  • Educate ourselves by reading and asking questions
  • Support businesses owned by people of color
  • Show up for one another at peaceful protests, memorials and other important public gatherings

One of the things I love most about living in Tucson is the sense of community.  Each and every one of us can contribute to creating a more just, equitable and safe community by choosing to take action.  I invite you to join me on the journey…

Julie Evans, Executive Director

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Embracing Skin Care, Taking Care of our Pets, The Arctic Helped Heal Me

Our top interesting articles from social media in March 2020. Our goal in sharing on our social media and here on the website is to keep communication open, thoughts and planning open to end-of-life, and making that transition one you can experience fully. We share these articles with the hope they will positively impact those who read them.

Thank you!

“My mother and I never took many pictures together, something that never seemed urgent to me until she died. At that point, ravenous for totems of our intimacy, I regretted it. Thankfully, there are a few stray shots here and there, including the one that is my favorite that you see above: a cameo of Mom snapped in the last weeks of her life where I am also present, albeit accidentally. It is, I believe, the last photo taken of her.

We were . . .”

Why I Embraced Skin Care After My Mother’s Death 
Opinion: And how moisturizing while grieving helped more than I could’ve imagined.


“Prepare NOW in case of an unexpected illness, accident, or death.

Working with an attorney is ideal.

Below are some tips to help you prepare for the unexpected. …”

Planning For Your Pets When You Cannot Take Care of Them

“I’m standing on the deck of a ship somewhere in the vast Norwegian Arctic. Although it’s 3 a.m., the sky is incandescent, a muted gold. It is the last night of our seven-day voyage in the remote archipelago of Svalbard, and my friends Patty, Nina, and I have vowed to stay up so we can experience the surreal magic of an Arctic summer night. Twenty-four hours of light. We laugh, sip glasses of champagne. The air temperature is 36 degrees, but I’m wearing a long-sleeve shirt, tennis shoes, and jeans. No down jacket, furry hat, or thick gloves. I want to feel everything. As I look out to sea, . . .”

The Arctic Helped Me Heal After the Death of My Brother


“The other night I was so worried about the coronavirus that I took five milligrams of Ativan, but all it did was make me feel hung over. The next day, I ran four miles and walked another two. Neither helped . . .

I survived relapsed leukemia — with an apparent record of four stem cell transplants — and am worried that after all I’ve been through, COVID-19 will be the end of me. None of the available information has allayed my confusion and concern over who exactly is at the …”

Coronavirus: Coping With Uncertainty
Questions prevail about risk, existing health conditions and daily routines

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Looking ahead to 2020 – Our 20th year

We welcome you to our 20th year of supporting those at end of life.  It is our deep honor to serve the community through financial support to hospice patients, education about end of life issues, and funding end of life care research.


In 2019, through your support, we served more than 100 hospice patients and their families by providing financial assistance for housing, transportation, final arrangements and other essential needs totaling $60,000.  An additional 100 patients, who served in the US armed forces, received a “We Honor Veterans” ceremony, including a keepsake blanket emblazoned with their branch of the military.  These blankets are often passed on as an heirloom to other family members currently serving in the military.   8,700 individuals received a free copy of the Five Wishes, an advance care planning document to help guide healthcare decision-making.  125 individuals engaging in bereavement services received free workbooks to help them navigate their grief process.  In total, we invested more than $120,000 to support our community members navigating the end of life process.


In 2020, we have increased our overall fund assistance budget and look forward to supporting even more patients and their families.  One of the things we are most proud of is our turn-around time in funding patient requests.  Usually, we review, approve and issue payment within 24 hours of fund request submission.  Other Foundations doing similar work indicate that their turn around time is 7-21 days.


With the elderly population doubling in the next decade, the resources we provide will be even more in demand.  The number one priority in our current strategic plan is to become financially sustainable so that we can meet the increased needs of our community.  While most of our funding comes from amazing individual donors and a few local Foundations, we believe there is room for growth.  Not only through charitable donations, but through earned income.  Recently, we embarked on exploring the creation of a celebration of life center to offer the community a hub where they can learn about end of life issues, as well as celebrate and memorialize loved ones.


In early February, we conducted three design workshops with roughly 80 community members to learn what type of physical space and programming appeals to most people.  If you would like to be part of this conversation, please email us (


Another way to stay connected to end of life issues is through our FaceBook page – each week, we share short articles related to aging, navigating the medical system, grief, and joy.  The collection of articles is curated by our team, so if you are craving information on a certain topic, just let us know.


We are so grateful for your partnership in making the end of life experience the final act of living well for those in our community.  Thank you for all you do to support our efforts!

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Ridesharing, Condolence Letters, Deathbed Photos & How to Forgive

Our top interesting articles from social media in January 2020. Our goal in sharing on our social media and here on the website is to keep communication open, thoughts and planning open to end-of-life, and making that transition one you can experience fully. We share these articles with the hope they will positively impact those who read them.

Thank you!

Study Finds Ridesharing Services Improve Older Adults’ Lives

“The study provided 90 days of free Lyft rides to 150 patients over age 60 from Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, where 25% of patients live more than 90 minutes away.

One part of the study was to ensure patients made it to their medical appointment follow-up visits, since national statistics show 4.5 million patients miss these crucial doctor visits each year. The second part was to assess the impact of unlimited social transportation access based on a growing health concern for older adults: social isolation and loneliness.

“Aging patients with chronic disease often face medical and economic insecurities, but our study was the first to show offering no-cost access to not just medical appointments, but social activities, can actually improve self-reported health and well-being,” says Dr. Leslie Saxon, who led the USC study.”

Link to Article

How to Write a Compassionate Condolence Letter

“When someone dies, courtesy dictates that we write our condolences. These letters can be some of the hardest thoughts we will put to paper, even for those of us who usually have a great facility for words. And sometimes, difficult circumstances surrounding a death can make this task even worse.”

Link to Article

What we can all learn from this deathbed photo

“I think the key thing is to listen and when someone is dying to let them share their moment of significance.”

Link to Article


How to Forgive When All You Want Is Revenge

“Little did I know that the obstacles I faced in my childhood would end up being the biggest opportunity of my life. By facing those challenges, I figured out the secret to finding forgiveness and the power and freedom it gives you.”

Link to Article

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Thank you Frank Williams

Frank Williams, who has been on the Foundation’s Board of Directors since it began, retired from service at the end of December. We want to honor him, not only as a Board member, but as the catalyst for this very conference. Without Frank’s vision, commitment and collaboration, the end of life conference would not be what it is today. He has blazed many trails, but we venture to guess that his legacy in the area of educating our community about end of life is one of his greatest contributions to date! We know he always has irons in the fire, so there will be more magic to come, but please wish him well as he transitions to a new path along his journey.

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It is with heavy hearts that we share with you the passing of Bayard Auchincloss

It is with heavy hearts that we share with you the passing of Bayard Auchincloss. Bayard served on the Casa de la Luz Foundation Board from 2005 to 2013 and was the 4th President. He joined the Foundation’s Board with a desire to give back after experiencing the compassionate care hospice provided to his loved one. He was an amazing advocate for hospice care and worked tirelessly to promote the mission of the Foundation. We are forever grateful for the passion, wisdom, and commitment Bayard gave throughout his years on the Board.

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Tohono Chul Park’s Dia de Los Muertos exhibit – Tony Estrada of 2018 End of Life Conference Altar


Tony Estrada and Gloria Valenzuela, the generous husband and wife duo behind last year’s Día de los Muertos Altar at our conference, have the opportunity to reach even more members of our community this year through their amazing art!  Read Tony’s message to learn about their exciting new exhibit.


A note from Tony….

Gloria and I have been invited to create this year’s central Altar/Ofrenda at Tohono Chul Park’s Dia de Los Muertos exhibit, which will open on Friday evening, August 30, 2019 and run through approximately November 3, 2019. This exhibit will feature beautiful Dia de Los Muertos artwork from many local artists as well. You are all invited to come and view the exhibit at any time during the two month run, but if you’re available to attend the opening on August 30th, that would be great! We hope to see you there!

I would like to thank the entire End of Life Conference Committee for making this opportunity happen for us.  We did not seek out this opportunity at Tohono Chul.  You all invited Gloria and I to be part of the conference last year.  And because people saw the Altar at the conference in November, recommendations were made to Tohono Chul Park by individuals that thought Gloria and I would be the right people to create this year’s Altar for the Tohono Chul event.  We are humbled, honored and very excited!!!

I thank you all so much for putting your trust in us last year and we love you all.


Antonio C. Estrada


More from the Tohono Chul website about the event.

Upcoming Exhibitions Link    |   After August 30th – Link to the Current Exhibitions Page

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Thank you to our 2018 Conference Attendees


Dear 2018 End of Life Conference Attendee,

Thank you so much for joining us on Dia de los Muertos for our 18th annual conference! We hope you enjoyed your experience as much as we did: from Tony & Gloria’s altar, to the diverse speakers, to the mariachis at lunch, to the new people you met – our wish is that each encounter enriched your day.

We are happy to report that just over 300 individuals joined us, that the Canyon Ranch raffle raised more than $1700 to support the work of the Foundation, and that your evaluation feedback has already been analyzed for incorporation into planning next year’s event.

We are grateful for your partnership in transforming the end of life experience into the final act of living well for those in Tucson and surrounding communities. Please stay connected with us through our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Best wishes always,
Julie Evans
Executive Director
Casa de la Luz Foundation

For more photos from the conference, please visit the EOL album on our Facebook page where we have uploaded them for viewing. Thank you to Paul Holze for photographing the event.

For information regarding our upcomin


g End of Life Conference, Please visit our Community Education page.

Thank you so much for joining us on Dia de los Muertos for our 18th annual End of Life conference! Thank you so much for joining us on Dia de los Muertos for our 18th annual End of Life conference!








Thank you to our 2018 Conference Attendees!

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Sun City Oro Valley Unit 3 Club Holiday Party Supports the Foundation

Thank you to the organizers and residents of SCOV Unit 3 for their kind support of our mission through the holiday party silent auction! Through their efforts, nearly $400 was raised to fund our patient support, community education and end of life research efforts. Special thanks to all of the businesses who donated silent auction items: The Views Golf Club at Oro ValleyPositive Changes Hypnosis,On The Rocks PhotographyExcel DressageRubs Massage Studio, Designed with Charm, Navillus Bodywork

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5049 E Broadway Blvd., Suite 400
Tucson, AZ 85711

Phone: (520) 351-5441
Fax: (520) 618-5473


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Art Courtesy of Bettina Mills - talented artist and longtime friend of Casa de la Luz. We are inspired by her talent and generosity and greatly appreciate that she shares her gifts with us. All artwork Copyright Reserved by Bettina Mills.