What is a death doula?

Everyone has heard of a “birth” doula; someone who is there to offer support emotionally, and spiritually to the mother as her child is born. Dying is another profound transition that we will all experience.

“We as death doulas are “companioning” (not treating), and being present with the dying person’s pain; honoring the spirit, not focusing on the intellect; listening with the heart and not analyzing with the head; bearing witness to the suffering of others; discovering the gifts of sacred silence; it is about compassionate curiosity; it is not about expertise.” This word “companioning” was defined by Alan D. Wolfelt, a grief counselor.

We are able to assist someone in how they would like their death process be honored; whether it is help with a life review, or legacy in whatever form; and how or where they would like their vigil to unfold.

If you know someone who would like to talk about their plans on how they want their death to be; (we all know it will occur); and wouldn’t it be nice to have your wishes honored. Call or email me and we can discuss further. I also work as a volunteer as a death doula for The Hospice of the Piedmont – Charlottesville, Va. More information at www.inelda.org (International End-of-Life Doula Association)