Ellen Key Harris-Braun, 50, of East Chatham, New York, died at home Friday, October 28, 2016. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, she attended high school in Rochester, New York, and graduated summa cum laude from Yale University with a BA in anthropology. A life-long science fiction reader, she turned her honors thesis on the use of […]

Time to fly

Ellen took her last breath around 5:40 p.m. this evening. Her death coincided with the start of two gatherings of communities deeply important to her. Here in the Quaker Intentional Village-Canaan, we were coming together in the Farmhouse for the start of our semi-annual retreat. A few miles away at the Quaker conference center Powell […]

Candles flickering

With candles flickering on the windowsill beside Ellen and soft daylight fading outside, we enter a night with winter-time temperatures and marvel at how the seasons are changing so markedly during this period of Ellen Time. Ellen’s body continues to diminish before our eyes while her spirit fills up the room. We are grateful that […]

Guest post: Dropping in

Contributed by Ellen’s sister Lisa Aaron and I arrived today from Wisconsin, to see Ellen and everyone else here and because we’d been scheduled to come this weekend for months and were told we’d be needed. We have so appreciated Spee’s blog postings and everything everyone in this loving circle has been doing to support […]

The Gifts of the Death Midwife

Ellen has been sleeping away the hours, in the wheelchair, in the rocking chair, and on her bed, the bedroom couch, the office couch, and even her mom’s bed. When she’s awake, she’s often up and about, traveling in the manner we’ve previously described but no longer packing up. She’s also talking a lot less […]

Packing up

Sunday marked Ellen and Eric’s wedding anniversary and quite a few of you may remember that wonderful gathering on a crisp October day 22 years ago.  We’re blessed these days with bright and sunny weather that brings beautiful light and color into their home and offers lovely sights out the windows – soaring birds, deciduous […]


Ellen has always liked to do projects. She’s always had a list of projects going and the most recent one hung out the entire summer on the end table next to where she would sit on the living room couch. Recently, Eric, Kathryn, and I reviewed that list, made in April, and began assigning the […]

Ellen Time

We’re living in what midwife Michelle calls “Ellen time,” floating through each day with each hour calling us to be fully present.  For the past ten days or so, Ellen has been speaking with more facility, had longer time periods of alertness, and been quite active physically, getting up many times a day and moving […]