When thoughts and prayers are all that's left, there is one more thing you can do...
Give the gift of Death Doula services.
Have you been diagnosed with a terminal or life-limiting illness?
Are you the friend or family member of a person with a terminal illness?
Are you the primary caretaker for a dying loved one and you're not sure you're doing the "right things" for them?
Is a coworker or acquaintance dealing with the impending death of a loved one and you're not sure what to say or do, but you really want to help?
Have you recently suffered the loss of a loved one, and discovered that you would like your own death to be different, but you're not sure how to prepare and plan for a "good death"?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, hiring a Death Doula may be the perfect solution. Death Doulas offer non-medical support, care and expert guidance to those preparing for and at, the end of their lives. Death Doulas work alongside hospice and palliative care teams, whose responsibility it is to treat the physical body and medical diagnosis. These caring medical professionals have limited time and resources to spend tending to the other aspects of the dying process. Death Doulas can spend as much time as is necessary with clients and families, doing everything possible to provide their clients with a "good death"; which may look very different from person to person.
What a Death Doula Can do to Help:
Suggest ideas for optimal comfort, including giving massages, holding hands, guided visualizations and meditations, essential oils/aromatherapy, etc.
Provide spiritual, emotional, and social support to both the dying person and their family/friends
Just be with the dying person, whether to listen, stay silent, read a book aloud, watch tv, or whatever a person chooses to bring comfort
Educate both the terminally ill person and their family about the dying process so that they know what’s coming and what to expect
Work on legacy projects with the dying, like writing letters to loved ones, taking family photos, creating gifts, documenting their life story, etc.
Offer consistent presence during the final days, easing any fear or anxiety that the dying person may feel and allowing family to take much-needed breaks (this is also known as "holding sacred space")
Encourage the dying person to take care of estate planning, such as completing a will
Assistance navigating the complicated medical system
Help create ritual and ceremony to help honor you or your dying loved one
If the family wants, a doula can help plan a funeral or memorial service or provide grief support
Death Doula services can help ease the burden that family and caregivers feel when caring for their dying loved one. We can also help dying clients release fear and anxiety surrounding death. If you're faced with your own impending death, or that of a loved one, you don't have to do it alone. Death Doulas are here to normalize the experience of death for everyone involved, taking it from an uncomfortable experience to one filled with rich, sweet memories. Let us walk home, together.