"Living until you die" - Death Doula

End-of-life-consultant

 

Whether you are planning to work with dying or grieving people or not, death will touch your life and it is so much better to have an understanding of the amazing feelings, thoughts and processes one goes through during this life changing event. 

 Some of you may work as a Birth Doula and therefore will be working with the possibility that a baby may die. A woman may be birthing a baby who has already died (stillbirth) and the father of the child may need a safe (emotionally sound) person to talk with.  Some of you may have had a parent, partner, sibling or child die.  Maybe you have said goodbye to a special friend or grandparent.  You might have been devastated by the loss of a pet.  Death just interests you?  You might find yourself supporting a woman or her partner through a miscarriage, or you just need or want to explore our thoughts and feelings about death in general.  Could you have thought of or been around suicide. There are a huge number of reasons why people are attracted to this work… your interests are your own… I’m so delighted to be sharing my thoughts, feelings and experiences with you!

This is major skill to develop for our own lives, to support families, children and friends, and to demystify the whole subject. You will then have the skills to help you live your life more consciously and meaningfully.  This for men and women!

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"Living until you die" is a way of life, and as a Death Doula, we encourage everybody to live each day deliberately and consciously.  Be present and in the moment.  You will be exposed to skills and tools to make live each day in a peaceful, exciting and harmonious way.  Join us on a to live consciously and acknowledge death as a normal and everyday progression in life.

 

Who will benefit from this training?

 

  • anyone who wishes to learn more about cultivating presence and personal awareness in death, dying and living well

  • people facing a terminal illness

  • friends and family caring for someone who is dying

  • those who want to accompany some special in their lives through this process

  • professionals working in hospices, hospitals, nursing homes who are seeking to expand their skills and effectiveness in assisting with death and dying

  • healers and therapists who want to learn more

  • hospice volunteers or those wishing to become volunteers

  • those who want to prepare gracefully for their own journey through dying into death.

 

Not so long ago people were born and died in their own homes, with family and friends providing care for them. These were community events with friends and neighbours gathering and supporting the families.

 

This created a feeling of acceptance that dying is a natural transition in life.  The dead person lay in their own home for the day, and people came and went.  It was just part of life.  Woman gathered and cooked and drank tea.   Men sat and talked and usually drank alcohol, and told stories.

 

For the last 100 years the care of our dead has gradually been turned over to businesses. A people have made a lot of money out of this.    

 

But the recent decades have seen resurgence in families providing end-of-life care to loved ones through home hospice care. As a natural extension of hospice more and more families are choosing to care for their loved one — before and after death – in their homes.  This brings about a new set of challenges as we lack extended families, and older people to teach us how to do “it”.   We are not well set up for this experience, and people are very uncomfortable with it.  Death mostly still remains the enemy!  Death Doulas or End-of-life Doulas offer a different service to care. Palliative care is offered by medical staff, but economics do not always allow the time needed to truly “be with someone”. 

 

Many people associate the term “doula” with a midwife, due to the growing doula movement which provides support and advocacy for expecting mothers, and new parents.  We are always no medical.  We support women and midwives in their important relationship during birth.  Death doulas regard their work as equally important.  Like doulas who help expecting mothers, death doulas may provide a range of services, tailoring their offerings to the needs of their clients.

 

We are generally non-sectarian, although we are usually happy to read from religious texts or to incorporate ceremonies of a religious nature into the death process, for those who desire this.

 

Many will stay to assist through the funeral, if requested to do so, and some do follow-up visits with family members in the weeks and months after the death to talk about the experience.

 

A death doula usually works with someone who has 18 months or less in which to live. When a diagnosis this dire is given, a doctor usually provides referrals to a hospice agency for family members and the patient. People who are interested in working with a death doula can ask their doctors, or consult their local hospice agency; individuals who want to become death doulas can receive training through hospice groups.

 

Part of a Death Doula’s role can be a home funeral guide.  This does not duplicate the work of professionals such as nurses or funeral directors. We work alongside them and our skills are not medically oriented, they are more heart-oriented. We use the ancient and time-proven techniques of an open and compassionate heart, our hands, and our voices. This work can be done in any setting, whether in a hospital, nursing facility or a home.

 

So how does this unfold?  How do I get to be this person?

 

We are doing an Online or Face to Face Training course,  where you will begin to better understand the thoughts, feelings and beliefs around death of you and your community 

 

  1. You will explore why you came to do this course, what the word Death means in your life, and how it impacts who you are. 

  2. We will look at Fear and how that manifests in our lives

  3. We will listen to you and your stories about death

  4. You will begin to develop skills to help the people around you explore the word death

  5. You will better understand end of life choices that available to people

  6. Discussion about wills

  7. Discussion about funeral planning

  8. Develop a passion for living until you die

  9. Learn to support those around you to live today as if it was the last day of your life

  10. Develop a bucket list for yourself

  11. Enhance your life skills to be able to be “present with others”

  12. Strengthen your capacity to be empathetic

  13. Build strong boundaries with you caring for yourself

  14. Above all enhance your own life!

 

In the training you will:-

 

  • discuss the family dynamics that occur as someone dies

  • experience the practice of dying; visioning our own death before we die

  • learn tools for creating a sacred space for transition, before and after death

  • create your own guidebook to use with patients or for home funeral vigils

  • look at funerals, and how to personalise, simplify and cost less.

  • practice the skills needed as a presenter and officiate or celebrant

 

The focus of my work is on the Journey, regardless of recovery from illness or death; one should be comfortable to do the work of their heart, of their spirit. Whether one recovers or not, peace and transformation is possible.

 

Your Facilitator:   Denise Love
 

I started my professional life as a Registered Nurse, and very quickly discovered that it wasn’t the medicines I offered to people, but the kindness that support healing, or made death more tolerable. 

 

Following that discovery, I began midwifery training, and again had confirmed that “being with someone” had a much greater impact on wellbeing that most “treatments”. 

 

Through the 1900’s I set up an in home palliative care service where often one of the only “tools” I have for comfort and care was myself.  I then reflected on my time working in remote Australia in the 1970’s, their traditional carers had just “been there”, and had allowed the transition into death as a simple process.  They sat around shared stories, told tales, cried and offered simply comfort. They also understood withdrawal of food and water, and were not scared to let it happen….it was profound!!

 

I then became a Doula - of service to people.  With the understanding that I need to take responsibility for what happens in my lie, the words that come out of my mouth, and the reality that everybody has the right to live their life, their way, I set up a full time Doula Service for Birthing and Dying people, and facilitating learning around that.

 

I have been with many, many people as their Death Doula.  I have relieved mothers of dying children, so they could rest and have time to get their head around what was happening in their world, birthed beside woman whose babies died in utero, held hands for endless days of old people who are too scared to let go. I discussed heaven and hell to many people dying of cancer, worked out ways to avoid ever seeing a doctor, and avoid a post-mortem for people who do not use the traditional medical system.  I have held babies as they die in the first few weeks of life, talked to them about what is happening, when parents just can’t do that.

 

I currently work in remote areas of developing countries where we face death with no options very regularly.  I talk with families about how best to let their elder families let go.  I discuss with others how best to let their too little, or sick baby die, and the realities around that in emotional and comfort sense.  with whole villages as a tragic accident occurs.  Be with families when someone has suicided and they try and make sense of it!     I “hold the space” as people come to their own realisations and offer solutions to their queries that might be suitable for them, but most of all just keep turning up….a hug, a smile and with no particular agenda to do anything.