We have accompanied each other through the bookends of life – birth and death – since the beginning of time. In many cultures specific individuals held the role of guide through these significant life events. They eased physical and spiritual pain, shepherded life across the threshold, celebrated and blessed those involved, and reaffirmed the communal understanding of these life cycle experiences.
“Have the conversation (now) with the people you love…death won’t happen sooner because you talked about it. Talking about it, allows the people who love you, to honor your wishes. You deserve that…we ALL do.” – Gabby
A Death Doula is a non-medical person trained to care for someone holistically (physically, emotionally and spiritually) at the end of life. Death Doulas are also known around the world as: end of life coaches, soul midwives, transition guides. death coaches, doula to the dying, end of life doulas, death midwives, and end of life guides.
Death Doulas are people who support people in the end of life process, much like a midwife or doula with the birthing process. It is “a new non-medical profession” that recognizes death as a natural, accepted, and honored part of life. One might say that death midwifery is to hospice palliative care as birth midwifery is to obstetrics.
Death Doulas are here to serve humanity. We serve anyone ranging from young, elderly, terminally ill, healthy, caretakers and even pets. End of life doulas complement the care from hospitals, hospices, and funeral homes by filling in the gaps that occur during the dying process.
Legacy We are all born and we all die; it’s what we do in the middle that creates our legacy. What we leave behind is far more than simply wealth and possessions. We can share our story or give wisdom, advice, love, and support even after we have passed. And in doing so, give the future a glimpse of your essence – who you were, how you saw the world, and what gave your life. Death Doulas can help patients with the powerful, uplifting process of developing a legacy plan.
“You are never going to forget that they died, said Bear. What you must try to remember, is that they lived.”
Presence: The last phase of our life can stir fear and anxiety as we each face our end-of-life. This is simply because we have not walked this path before. Having someone present with the experience and training in such a time can bring a sense of comfort and familiarity to the otherwise unfamiliar. Death Doulas provide holistic support as they accompany individuals and their families before, during, and after death.
“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” – Frank Herbert
Dignity: Everyone wants to have a positive passing where they maintain dignity and honor as they exit life. We all have our own values, traditions, and belief systems that will influence our vision and expectation of what that would look like. Creating an environment that represents that vision is important. This along with developing a legacy and presence work, is what an End-of-Life Doula brings to you and your family.
“In the end, we all become stories.” – Anonymous
“Most families don’t know the first thing about how to care for their dying loved one-yet that is what we expect for them to do” – Suzanne B. O’Brien