An End of Life Doula is a guide in the emotional, spiritual, and practical care needed when a person and their family is faced with death. End of Life Doulas provide non-medical, holistic support and comfort and offer education. Whether it is massage therapy for relaxation and comfort, playing board and card games to provide fun and stimulating companionship, aromatherapy and flower essences to ease pain and discomfort, a compassionate ear to listen to memories or concerns, or words of comfort and insight to reduce stress and fear, the purpose of an End of Life Doula is to be fully present for the dying person and their family. An End of Life Doula strives to help make approaching transitions as peaceful as possible.
Death tends to be a heavy subject, made heavier by the reluctance of our culture to speak openly about it. We tend to fear what we do not know or understand. In school we are taught how to add and subtract numbers, how to write essays, how to problem solve — but we are not typically taught how to approach death, how to face our fears and feelings about it, and how to make peace with the process. Death, western culture cautions, is to be avoided at all costs. Yet, without death, there is no life. To appreciate the light of life, we must be prepared to face the darkness of passing, but often we do not know how. When a loved one draws close to the end of their life, we can no longer avoid the inevitable — this is when we can turn to an End of Life Doula.
On the spectrum of life in our country, there are currently more people moving toward the end than there are people close to the beginning. Perhaps your parent or grandparent is drawing close to passing, and you are seeking someone to help walk you through the last steps. Perhaps you are the individual approaching transition and need comfort and aid in honoring your life before you pass. Maybe you lost a loved one and are looking for guidance, answers or support through your grief. And End of Life Doula tends to all of these needs with compassion and dignity.
Dying is such a sacred and special time and helping that person to feel honored is so important. Dying alone (or worse, scared and fearful) is not ideal. An End of Life Doula aims to reduce the stress and fear which is often present when a person dies. As someone who isn’t afraid to talk about the dying process, with years of experience helping people as they approach their transition, my goal is to help end of life transition take place as peacefully as possible.