Candace Natvig English, ms, mfa, mft, CA 39377

Thank you so much for visiting my site and for being a person who is seeking a good death for themselves and others. Here in the western world, some suggest, perhaps, we don’t really know how to die. To become weak and expire almost seems like one’s final failure. We have not arrived at full knowledge and respect for the journey of aging and dying. Yet death, leaving this world as we know it, is inevitable. Yes, it takes courage to think about these things and give voice to them. So greetings fellow traveler who yearns to die well and connect with others who are of similar mind.

So, who is Candace and why did she make this website? I am a musician and therapist, California native, raised in a family carnival business, the first of my clan to attend college, with two masters degrees. I lived in Europe for 12 years and I speak German.  What makes life abundant for me includes music, nature, movies, and trying to figure out the meaning of things. My husband, Jon A. English, a brilliant musician and composer, was not the first person I ever knew who died. But his passing was the most profound experience of my life. With his subtle guidance, I, along with some friends, was able to assist him in a beautiful death that touched many who were privileged to be there during those unforgettable days.  No one had attended a death before, but somehow we knew what to do and things flowed organically as though part of an eternal stream of knowledge.

Subsequent to Jon’s death, I had the opportunity to be at the bedside for several other passings, those of friends and relatives. Each time there was more to learn and tuck away in memory. I realized that these experiences could help me to embrace the journey of death without fear and denial. I am grateful for every dying person who allowed me access, and showed me that every death is an opening.

In San Francisco, back in the 20th Century, I was a prominent musical director, composer and choir conductor.  Later I moved north to Sonoma County, where I had my psychotherapy practice and played with some pretty good bands. Eventually economic realities convinced me that the golden years would be more easily afforded outside the golden state, and I decided to join family and friends in the South, finally settling in Asheville. There I played violin in Mountain Chamber Jazz Ensemble, several orchestras, and I was a grandmother (by choice) of two little girls. Still the real meaning of my life in Asheville alluded me until I discovered the community of people who are working as death doulas and sacred guides. I see the threads of life coming together as my twin paths of music and mental health and my own personal journey converge in the study of death, the sacred walk, that is the greatest of unknowns and the destiny of all.

After 5 years in Asheville, I decided to return to California and live in Sonoma County. I dwell in a community of elders and play violin in small ensembles and in churches. With the pandemic, there have been few opportunities to sit with the dying, but I am hoping that we will be able to return to sacred passage work and making sure that no one dies alone.

Licenses and Certificates

  • June 2018 Death Doula Certificate, Conscious Dying Institute, Boulder, CO
  • 2000-present Licensed as Marriage and Family Therapist, State of California
  • 1999 Certificate in Art Therapy, University of CA, Berkeley
  • 1998 Master of Counseling Psychology, Dominican University, San Rafael, CA
  • Robert Schukraft Award, “for outstanding service in inspiring students to believe in themselves
  • 1995-2000 Family therapy internships:  Marin General Hospital—Art At the Bedside Program; San Rafael Police Diversion Program; Novato Youth Services; grief counseling and school counseling
  • 1995 Hospice volunteer training, Hospice of Marin (CA), in-home volunteer
  • 1994 Trained as grief counsellor for internship, Institute for Suicide Prevention,
    San Rafael, CA,
  • 1986-97 Non-profit status, grants/awards received from Fleishhaker/Zellerbach Foundations, California Arts Council, San Francisco Foundation and others for choral and music theater projects
  • 1986 Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Musical Direction in Theatre,
  • Hollywood Dramalogue Award for Best Musical Direction of 1986
  • 1976 Goethe Institute Fellowship award for German language study, “Mittelstuffe,” Goethe Institute, Boppard am Rhein, Germany
  • 1974 Master of Music, University of Iowa
  • 1969 Bachelor of Music, University of Iowa, summa cum laude

An inner situation that is not made conscious, appears outwardly as fate ~ Carl Jung

My other websites are: