Death Doula; the term confuses people. Explaining what one does should be an easy task. The problem is that the actual job has so many facets that trying to sum it up into a few words is not easy. The subject of death is not one that most people are comfortable talking about. The best I can do is to help you see it through my eyes, to show you what I think are the most important parts of this new path.
Everyone dies. Everyone. It’s how we choose to do it that is important. Not all of us get a choice, but most do, and we can prepare ahead of time to help make our deaths as comfortable and as special as we would like.
Death starts the minute you are born. We can’t stop it, so why not celebrate it. Have all the necessary paperwork done before it’s even a reality, so that when the end comes both you and your family do not need to worry about last minute arrangements. At the end of one’s life, often there is guilt for the survivors who need to make many decisions. By preplanning this guilt can be alleviated because they know they are following the wishes of the person who is dying.
Death is part of the normal cycle of life, and like all big changes it should be celebrated and planned for.
A Doula holds the hand of the dying and of their friends and family, helps to heal the family, and shares the burden of planning for the loved ones’ final journey.
In my honest opinion end of life planning should be done along with writing wills and buying insurance. Along with these things it should be reviewed and updated as needed. It should not be left to the people who love you to make your plans for you.
So, with all that said, what is a Death Doula? Well, we are to death what a Birth Doula is to births. We help you transition. We are there to hold your hand, listen to your stories, to help you find connection with your family, to help you resolve things you feel are important, to make sure your voice is heard.
We are not home care workers, we are not in the employ of funeral homes, we are not going to try and sell you services you do not want. It is about making your life as full as possible. When it comes right down to it, we are there to make sure you live every minute.