What do you call yourself? At Quality of Life Care, we have adopted the suggestion of the National Home Funeral Alliance regarding how we refer to this role of the Independent EOL Practitioner. Please review here.
As it may warm my heart to call myself an End of Life Doula or Death Midwife, the general public would not necessarily know to look for me with that title.
The “Go to” person is that special person within a circle that people know they can turn to during serious situations.
In response to "what is it that you do?", I just wanted to clarify with some scenarios. I work with people and families at two different times usually: 1) at some crisis point where we develop a plan that will get them through the time period, or 2) I am with a family as the person they love is dying, providing emotional, spiritual, and practical support.
I love this: "Who is your client? – Your client is a unique reflection of you who is sent to help you under the guise of receiving help. You receive their highest help by providing them with your greatest gift." - Marc David.
No matter what field you are working in, if you are working closely with someone who really needs you, do you feel this way? I know I do.
I was sitting with a family early this morning waiting for the funeral home to arrive. The hospital was quiet and it was just the wife and daughter (of a much loved man who had just died) and I at his bedside.
In providing emotional support, we are helping to create a peaceful environment. Emotional support is the essence of our presence. During our entire walk with the dying and their family our presence is one of the most stabilizing gifts we can offer.
This article is for those people called to be a doula for the dying.
After someone has died, I encourage the family to take as long as they need to be with their loved one. I encourage them to wait before they call hospice and have as much private time as they can now because once you call hospice, action begins to remove the body.
I understand why many of us feel lost when we are in the hospital trying to find out what is wrong; we are trying to make sense of how extensive the disease process is, surgeries that are being discussed, and conflicting information we may be receiving. I know that sometimes we have great to mediocre guidance, and sometimes we have none.
My mom didn’t want to talk about dying. She was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma the Thursday after Mother’s Day 2005 and was dead the Wednesday before Father’s Day. I was in a whirlwind - just focused on caring for her. We didn’t have the conversations of missing each other, or sharing the sadness of what was happening. I longed to talk with her, but I couldn’t. She didn’t want to. She had always been a very private person with her emotions.
I appreciate what this particular death midwife is saying: "It is not mysterious or grandiose - bottom line, you're just visiting someone...at a very scary time in life."