Madison Barras: Bale Fire Review
When Madison Barras’ grandfather passed away, she was in college, and therefore sheltered from much of what occurred. Later, she discovered that there was mishandling and dysfunction in relation to his death. This both shocked and emotionally devastated her, causing her to promise herself that when it was her grandmother’s time, she’d be there every step of the way.
Later, her grandmother got sick, and began to approach the end. Madison fulfilled her promise by quitting her corporate job, and moving to the small town where her grandmother and family lived. There, she got a part-time job, which gave her the time to share caregiver duties with her mother. This allowed her to walk her grandmother through her end of life journey, and be there with her for her last days.
“It was the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had,” Madison said. “It was the reason I was put on this earth and in the family I am in. With this experience informing my work, I want to help other millennials to feel that sense of complete purpose and passion and in-the-right-spot-for-the-universe’s-lessons-ness as I did.”
Wanting to fulfill what she felt was her life’s mission, Madison trained with the International End of Life Doula Association, and started Balefire Review. Madison’s main work is with young and healthy people. She hopes to help them understand that their lives, and their loved ones’ lives are finite. It’s important that people know this, because otherwise, they let their lives fly by until they are suddenly blindsided by death. It’s important to build resilience, and to prepare for these feelings.
Entering into the death-care space, and creating a business that allows her to share her heart with others makes Madison feel as though she has truly followed her dreams. It allows her to live a fully intentional life, and to pay the bills by being herself and doing what she loves. This is not to say that it was easy--there were many obstacles in place--but it does allow her to implement her important values within her life.
Madison was pleasantly surprised to have found a true sense of belonging within the deathcare space. Despite the different backgrounds and types of work that others in the space do, they are all united under the desire to empower their client’s in their end of life decisions. She wouldn’t change much about the community, though she would love to make the information and education available to diverse groups such as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, young adults, and more.
“I think more diverse groups should be given more scholarship and aid in leadership to enter the field. Their voices should be heard, and more should be done to empower underserved populations to make choices in line with their values,” Madison said. “The largest hurdle in education is that people think that there is a default and that everything has to cost a lot of money. I want to break those preconceived notions and help share that end of life doesn’t always have to be traumatic, expensive, or cumbersome. It can be life-affirming, affordable, and inclusive. It can’t all be done by one person, but as more of us together to serve our most vulnerable, service and care for the whole will improve in the process. And I think that’s worth working on.”
As Madison’s work became more well known, she had the honor to be featured in her hometown’s paper, the “Acadiana Advocate”, in a column called “Be You” where they interviewed her for a personality profile. The questions that she was asked in the interview were created by Aileen Bennet, a local creative, and have been used to interview many inspiring people from their community. Madison feels accomplished and honored that she was able to be interviewed with those questions as well.
Madison can be contacted through her website's contact page. All inquiries go straight to her email inbox.