Like a birth doula, but not really.
Let us begin with a little comparison and understanding of the role in relation to birthing. In 2017, in the US, birth doulas have created a special niche for themselves as providers of practical and emotional care for a woman and her family.
Coming home from Maui after the International Death Doula Conference this week has been a shattering experience. And I mean that in a good way.
The conference was sold out to people from all over the world, some new to end of life and excited to see how this calling will unfold in their lives. Most were ‘old timers’ in the work, quietly and not so quietly making great strides in their communities to empower people in the realms of dying and death.
Each person that is called to serve the dying decides their own path for serving. Some do so through hospice volunteering or through working in the medical field, while others are creating their own way to bridge the gaps in health and death care.
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.
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.
School of Accompanying the Dying
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