Death is a natural part of the living experience. Many cultures have their own unique view of death, dying and what is to come after. As a Death Doula, it's my mission to carry out the dying's wishes, how they want to celebrate the end of this journey and how they wish to be grieved, remembered and honored in the minutes, days and years to follow.
Death is inevitable. What can feel heavy, burdensome and painful can actually be interpreted as beautiful, an appreciation of life and all the memories, love and tender moments shared. Death is what we make it, and it's my intent to create a loving, safe space for all varying feelings and emotions that arise during this time.
A Death Doula, or End of Life Doula (EOL), is an advocate and support for the dying and their family members. As a Death Doula, I care for those transitioning to the next phase and those who remain here after their loved one has passed, honoring each person's emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs.
"Modern western culture has all but forgotten this soul need. Very often this most sacred of journey's, this adventure, which should be filled with reverence, mystery, and awe, is instead fraught with fear, turmoil, and anguish. Our ignorance, often disguised as sophistication, has turned dying from a transition into the fullness of our eternal being into a failure and a tragedy. It does not need to be this way.
Slowly, people are re-awakening. We realize that somehow we are misunderstanding something important about the great mystery called death. Slowly, people are beginning to want more for both themselves and their loved ones at this most sacred of times."
"The 21st century death midwife is part mystic, part shaman, part artist. Rather than healer per se, death midwives are gatekeepers to the realms of spirit and guides to the 'other world.' The choice of the term 'midwife' s clear: We assist and guide the dying into the birth of a new life. We recognize and honor the understanding that death is not an ending but a transition into a different frequency of existence—an existence that, while different, is nevertheless as real as the one we are in now.
A death midwife guides and supports the transitioning from this life into the next. The focus remains on the person dying, not on the family. At the same time, we understand and respect the sorrow of those left behind to mourn the ultimate change of relationship. We understand that this relationship continues, but now in a new form. Once the transition is made, we then support those left behind to mourn fully and freely and, in time, to integrate their loss."
"...As the work we do is on an energetic and spiritual level, we are neither health care professionals no chaplains; yet bridge an important gap in both.We do what the doctors, nurses, and chaplains cannot do; We remain present with our patients physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for long periods of time. We companion the dying, holding vigil when no one else can or will. For the dying, just knowing that they are safe, that they are surrounded by love, and that they are never alone is often the greatest gift we give.
It is extremely helpful to have a guide outside the family dynamic to create and hold this sacred spade. Often the tremendous feelings of loss, fear, anxiety, and regret make it nearly impossible for those closest to the one dying to create and maintain that sacred space for their loved one. This is perfectly understandable, perfectly human. The death midwife fills that role, allowing family, friends, and loved ones to do the difficult grief work they need to do while he maintains undivided loving attention upon the dying."
The art of death midwifery honors all spiritual traditions and philosophies. It is a deeply spiritual calling that embraces the mystical teaching of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, Tao, Paganism, Wicca, Shamanism, etc. At all times it respects the belief system of the one dying. It is not our purpose to save souls but rather to honor souls in their journey to new life.
The art of death midwifery has no agenda other than to be of service. It draws from ancient traditions, while at the same time it's new and foreign to current western culture. It is about love, about loving others as we hope to be loved ourselves. It is a gift offered with no thought of reward. It is the gift of being present, sometimes to unbearable suffering, to be willing to create and hold sacred space so that the one dying will feel safe to engage in the great labor that being born into a new life requires."
"..We love people enough to watch them die."