What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.
YOU ARE NEVER ALONE
The meaning of life, the meaning of death, the unknown…These are complex topics indeed. You most certainly have questions. Philosophical questions. Psychological questions. Logistical questions. Many of your questions may not have singular answers.
But you’re positively never alone. And I’m here to help you collaborate to find those answers.
This is a very good question, indeed. Also known as an End-of-Life Doula, this is a trained nonmedical professional who provides informational, emotional, practical, and spiritual support for those nearing the end of life, as well as for their loved ones and support system.
We could take it even one step further and consider this individual an End-of-Life Concierge, so to speak. This individual will bring upon themselves any duties (within the scope of practice), big or small, to ensure that the timeless traveler receives everything they need to transition from this life with the utmost sense of dignity, comfort, peace, and meaning.
There are 6 Guiding Principles:
- Non-medical support. Doulas refrain from performing any clinical or medicalized tasks.
- Non-judgmental support. The doula does not impose their values on the client, such as acting on
biases in favor of one method.
- Family-centered approach. The individual and their family form the unit of care. Doulas do not take the
place of partners, family members, or other care providers.
- Holistic care. Doulas recognize the biopsychosocial and spiritual aspects of the whole person and
provide services in the context of this understanding.
- Empowerment. Doulas promote informed decision-making and foster maximum self-determination for
the individual and family.
- Team members. Doulas are team players with a special role.
- Presence. Good listener, witness, calming influence, nurturing, and support for troubleshooting challenges.
- Emotional support. Always part of the doula’s role.
- Information sharing. Education as needed and desired, non-biased and evidence-based.
- Proactive guidance. Anticipating needs and making a plan.
- Resources and referrals. Making referrals to appropriate community resources and care providers,
thereby increasing access to all available services.
- Comfort measures and physical support. Can include hands-on comfort techniques, help with
positioning, visualization, use of the breath, and so on.
- Logistical support. This can include household help, running errands, transportation to medical appointments
and so on.
Death is something we as a society have a collective difficulty addressing when it pertains to our own individual mortalities or those of our loved ones. In one respect, living at the height of the media/information age, we read and hear about it daily. We couldn’t be any more inundated with the idea of death. We can abstractly encounter death as such and in massive quantities at that. Somehow, this large-scale but generalized phenomenon we can stomach. This we can compartmentalize. However, when it comes to attributing a specific name or face to this concept, that (lower-case) “death” notoriously morphs into that black-cloaked collector of borrowed time, “Death.” Why?? In the day and age when we have a digital universe of information in our pockets and we practically network in our sleep, there’s no intelligible reason for humans to furtively lurk in the silent shadows- alone- hoping Death somehow forgets his purpose, whimsically passing us by. It is a necessary right of human passage made by over **100 BILLION** fellow journeypeople to date. Taking that into account, perhaps we can reconfigure our approach to death with the comfort and solace of knowing that **ALL** living beings must inherently participate in this timelessly ancient tradition.
In 2006, my father – who was my hero and best friend – took his own life. This is what started my relationship with death. In addition, my older sister is an internationally known spiritual medium, thus normalizing for me the nature of death and existence in ways most people may never be privileged to witness while living this life. But it wasn’t until after helping a dear friend and former college roommate through a life-and-death moral dilemma that I fully realized my desire to guide others with grace and dignity through the overwhelming nature of dying, death, and the post-death experience.
Yes, I am fully certified as a Death Doula from IAP Career College and volunteer at Brighton Hospice in Denver, CO.
Doulas are coming into the cultural mainstream, and they are not just for birthing and postpartum mothers and their families. The emerging role of the end-of-life doula is gaining traction and helping transform how we approach end-of-life care in the United States and beyond.
Since current evidence for birth doulas is well established and based on a model of care that is gaining widespread recognition and acceptance by both consumers and medical care providers, it behooves the doula profession to unite in our understanding of the doula model of care, especially as it evolves to serve diverse
needs of families throughout the lifespan.
I currently live in Denver, Colorado. However, I can travel or provide many of my services virtually.