Inhale/Exhale: Stories of Death and Dying...for the Living

InhaleExhale: Kristin Meyer, Death Doula

"We’re really animal creatures at heart. We need to see with our eyes, certainly children need to see with their eyes. If you told them their grandma died and they never saw their grandma's dead body, it's very hard for them to understand what that means. Until you actually see a body without a life in it, then you really understand what that means. And I think as adults, we actually still need to see a body sometimes in order to understand that it's gone and that it actually helps us process the information faster. To take it in just that pause that little bit of time that we get to see."

-Kristin Meyer

InhaleExhale Episode 2: Kristin Meyer, Death Doula

Tenders on dive harvest boats are responsible for regulating the diver’s air and water supply and processing the harvest. From the deck, the tender listens to the diver’s breathing through an intercom system and watches their air bubbles in the water to ensure that the diver stays on the plot and is safe from passing boats. Understanding underwater communication is a skill: “A lot of it is situational. If I see him coming back to the boat and I hear him say something, more than likely he’s telling me to turn off his water. So I’ll turn off his water.”

Chris Harnish: geoduck dive tender

“I really like the water--the maritime industry in general. I worked on a couple salmon boats and did a little bit of crab fishing up north in Alaska. And then I was like, ‘man, this is just really, really hard.’ It’s great money, but hard. So, then I came down here and got introduced through a friend to geoducking.”

“I figured if I could get seasonal work for all seasons then I’ll have a full-time job all the time and still have time to travel around and do what I like to do. So I’d work and make some money and then take off and do whatever seasonal work I could scrounge up.”

“For me it was growing up being a runaway, being homeless, being a junkie; then I was like, ‘wait, I don’t have to be a victim. I can actively control my life by working.’”

chris helping man in wetsuit gear up for dive
“Tending is making sure your diver doesn’t die.”

chris spraying off diver with hose
“You’re making it as easy as possible for the guy who is underwater to do his job and to get product out, and to essentially not have a catastrophic failure. If anything happens where I don’t hear the dadadadada chchchchch and I hear the air start going into the in-take, then I can be like, ‘okay, something’s wrong.’ Then I can do what I need to do to make sure that doesn’t happen."

counting table of geoducks on boat
“As a disclaimer, we’re doing inter-tidal farming. We’re not doing 70-foot dives. ‘When in doubt, stand up and walk out’ is our theory. But at the same time, people have drowned in 4 or 5 feet of water before. If anything goes wrong you need to know how to remedy the situation immediately.”

hands touching sea star