End of Life Doula
Although death is both natural and universal, the end of life is something we tend to fear and avoid discussing. Because of this avoidance, the experiences of death and dying often bring tremendous shock and suffering, which can intensify and prolong grief. The trauma of this pain leads to further avoidance and existential anxiety, and the cycle continues. But it does not need to be this way.
By discussing and planning for death, we honor life by identifying ways to best take care of ourselves and our loved ones. Providing a way for loved ones to know how to best care for us helps prevent and alleviate suffering by ensuring that our last days are as we would like them to be.
Planning for the end of life is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself and your loved ones: it is an act of love.
END OF LIFE OFFERINGS
End of Life Planning
What is a good death? How do you want to live the last months, weeks, days, or hours of life? Who do you want around you, what do you want your physical space to be like, and what do you want to touch, smell, or hear? Is there anyone you want to forgive or be forgiven by? How do you want to be remembered? Do you want to craft an Ethical Will? We can work together to make the end of life be as vibrant and productive as possible, and work toward your vision of a good death.
Guided Advanced Directives
Having an advanced directive can determine the course of your medical care, should you not be able to give consent or direction yourself. Maybe you want a "do not resuscitate" clause or want to know more about VSED or organ donation. Working together, we can document your choices so your loved ones and care providers have a plan to follow that will support your wishes.
Leaving a legacy not only memorializes our lives but also helps our loved ones remember us well and often while easing the pain of grief. A memorial project can be as simple as writing postcards or letters to our loved ones, or as involved as creating a video, archive, or quilt. It invites us to reflect upon life and to share and record personal stories as well as advice to others. It can also be a beautifully collaborative effort of remembrance after someone has died.
Even when we are no longer able to respond to others, we are still alive until the very moment we die. Part of having a better death is not being alone for our last breaths. By holding vigil at the bedside of the dying, we honor their last hours of life, providing comfort and reassurance simply by being present and keeping them company. During this time, we also work to uphold the end-of-life wishes of the dying person and provide respite care to support their loved ones.
After Death Ritual
Between the moments of death and burial is a window of time for loved ones to be with their beloved deceased. This may involve performing rituals such as lighting candles, saying prayers, or singing songs. It also might involve washing or anointing the body or having a home funeral. These sacred and intimate moments offer time to express our love and gratitude for the lives of our departed loved ones and time to process grief with the support of community.
Contact me to learn more about all of the services that I offer.