Doula is a Greek word and means ‘a woman who serves’
As birth doulas provide support to welcome a new life, so death doulas shepherd the dying toward a conscious dying experience. We guide love ones in after-death care, empower families to reclaim the healing ritual of a vigil and funeral at home, and offer compassionate support to individuals and their families from terminal diagnosis to final disposition. *
*As expressed, so beautifully, by Sacred Crossings
When a person approaches the end of their life, they and their loved ones face a great many challenges. Unfortunately, people are poorly prepared for the emotional and psychological impact of the dying process.
That’s where end of life doulas come in. They offer non-medical support focused on life review work, attention to the emotional needs of everyone involved, and assistance with practical care.
They will help plan for how the atmosphere and interactions in the last days of life can bring a sense of deeper meaning to this most important life cycle event.
Particularly near the end, the doula is there to advocate for the dying person’s wishes, provide information about signs and symptoms, and to offer a loving and knowledgeable presence at the bedside.
Doulas can also help loved ones process the feelings and reactions that follow a death. They will explain the grieving process and guide people through its early days.
Photo Left: Trevor Leat – The Whirling Dervish, Scotland
Doulas help a dying person hold on to a sense of purpose by exploring the meaning of their life and creating a remembrance project.
We assist the primary caregivers with simple physical care, offer emotional support, and provide respite when it is badly needed.
We will explain the signs and symptoms at each phase in the dying process and do our best to be present at the last breaths.
We will process the experiences and feelings of loved ones after the death to help ease them into their grieving process.
Your wishes are the central focus of my service. I will work hard to ensure that they are honoured as completely as possible.
Your needs will receive the attention required to find the best solutions for you and your loved ones.
You will be truly heard as I will listen fully, and without judgment, to whatever you want to share or discuss I am dedicated to providing you with the very best care possible and am committed to treating your dying loved one as if he or she were one of my own.
Whenever you reach out to me, I will get back to you within the next several hours. Every client gets my full attention when I am with them.
My intention is to bring back the sacredness of dying and caring for your loved one before, during and after death has occurred. To be a source of support, presence, experience and information- to an often scary and daunting experience.
To assist you in being as best prepared as possible to ease the grief and transition. And to also let you know what options are available that you are possibly unaware of.
To provide your family with a healthy measure of peace,
acceptance and grace at what can be a very confronting and
Caregiver burnout is real and can happen at the worst time possible.
Self-care is imperative and I am happy to assist with chores to give you quiet time with your loved one, or sitting at the bedside while you go shopping, or to the hairdresser, or to have tea or a glass of wine with friends. You are not alone. I will do whatever I can to help.
Staying independent is an important part of maintaining dignity and respect and can contribute to physical, mental, and emotional well-being. My aim is to give you control over your activities whenever possible; to let you take the lead and then work out the logistics with, or for, you as needed.
As a specialist in Advance Directives, I can help you to prepare a Living Will which would speak for you should you no longer be able to due to ill health or mental competence. Having a Living Will is an act of love – it eases the burden on your loved ones during an already difficult time.
Dying can be stressful and frightening. I will guide and help you through it by acting as an advocate for you with the many professionals you will encounter during this time. I will also ensure that your right to receive or refuse treatment is respected and upheld.
Leading the dying and their loved ones meditatively is a wonderful way to bring calm and serenity when it is most needed. Guided visualisations not only release tension and fear, but can also relieve or reduce pain.
Legacy projects, such as legacy chests, videos, letter writing, and collages, are a meaningful way to review one’s life and to add meaning and understanding as the end draws near. A wonderful, treasured gift for those left behind.
There are few honours greater than to attend the bedside of one who is actively dying. I will guide and assist you to hold space for your dying loved one and help create a quiet, gentle atmosphere for these most sacred of experiences.
Ritual, thoughtfully created, gives us an opportunity to honour and celebrate the life of our loved ones, particularly during this momentous time of transition. I will guide you towards meeting the end of life with love, beauty, and dignity by creating healing, meaningful rituals.