Death Doula

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Death Doula

Keep it Real Wednesday

January 18, 2023

One year in heaven

One year ago, our lives were a lot different.  Wade was about a month post-transplant and starting to regain his strength but still very medically fragile.

Rosemary was overjoyed to see Wade’s strength increase because his health was weighing heavy on her heart. I truly believe that once Rosemary knew Wade would be okay, she allowed herself to begin the dying process.

What a beautiful and sacred time in our home.  A life saved and a life surrendered after having lived a full life, all in a few months.

Recently, I met a lovely new friend who is a Death Doula.  She talks about death as she does life, something to be treasured and held sacred. She said with a big hearty laugh and warm smile, “After all, no one gets out of this life ALIVE”.  She introduced me to things like a Death Café, Death over Dinner, and even a Death Deck conversation starter card game. Those are all tools to help people prepare for the beautiful experience death can be.

Who likes to talk about Death?

Well, my new friend does and after my experience with Rosemary, I do too.

Rosemary died a beautiful death. She was in her bed, in her clothes, had special music playing, the window cracked to feel the fresh air and I was laying by her side. She was not in pain and her body and face were relaxed.  When it was time to transition, she simply exhaled and never inhaled again.  It was peaceful and beautiful.

I was lucky enough to have been given pointers from a friend in the weeks before Mom’s passing. She suggested Rosemary and I have some candid conversations and gave me discussion prompts to help facilitate meaningful conversations. The conversations we had around these prompts are what give me comfort after she passed. I like to think the conversations also gave her peace of mind as well.

So, how can we all normalize death?

Like anything else, it starts with discussions and awareness.

Birth Doulas have become a valued partner in the health industry in helping families feel supported during the birthing process and afterward. 

Essentially death doulas can do the same for the death process. Birth doulas help souls into this world, death doulas help them leave.  I hope that one-day death doulas will become as mainstream as birth doulas. 

Perhaps a place to start is by having difficult conversations.  And if you don’t know how to start those difficult conversations, consider consulting with a death doula to partner with you. If you don’t know one, message me and I can refer you to one I know.

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"Life is like a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving."

-Albert Einstein