Life Limiting

by Julie Fletcher

May 3, 2021

Death doesn’t always have to be a daunting experience, for both the dying person and their family members. When you engage an end-of-life doula, you can take some control of what happens at the end of your life.

A doula’s services are diverse. They range from helping to make sure your wishes are fulfilled after you pass to who you want to be around you on the day itself. End-of-life doulas make sure it’s your needs that are met wherever possible, during the final days of your life.

Doulas are trained to help you be at peace with death. They listen, answer questions, provide comfort and companionship, and can even help you with legacy projects such as gifts or letters to loved ones. 

Are you thinking of hiring an end-of-life doula? Here are some ways that they can help you.

Gathering and supporting your family

You may have an idea of who you want to be present around your death bed. A doula can help you make a list and arrange for them to be there if its possible. If there are members of your family or friends that you’ve drifted apart from but wish to make peace with before you pass, the doula can help you pen letters to them or even contact them to connect.. 

If you have already accepted your situation, but your friends and family hasn’t, you can ask your doula to provide support for them and help them understand by facilitating those difficult conversations. Your doula can also help with providing respite care and discussing advance care directives, memorial services and funeral planning.

Managing pain and discomfort

Most of us find it very difficult to grasp that we will no longer exist in this world, even if we’re nowhere near it yet. What more when the time finally comes? 

While doulas can’t prescribe or advise about medication, they are very good at providing emotional and spiritual support, which arguably is the most important thing in getting a person ready for death. A doula can also advocate for you or assist your friends and family in discussions with health professionals if pain or discomfort is bothering you. They might be trained in guided meditation to reduce anxiety and can give relaxing massages for example. Doulas are great listeners and pass no judgment on your choices. Moreover, they are there for you and your close supporters if you wish. They will be with you every step of the way. 

Making your wishes clear

Ultimately, this is one of a doula’s most important jobs. A person can really be at peace with their death if they know there is someone they can trust to carry out their final wishes. Whether your wishes are emotional or practical, simple or complex, your doula will do their best to fulfill them.

When you’re ready, you can discuss with your doula your end-of-life wishes. Remember that your doula is working for you.  Make your wishes clear and list the steps that need to be taken to carry them out. If your wishes enlist the help of family and friends, your doula can help contact them and speak with them.

If your wishes don’t involve your loved one’s participation, and you feel that this might hurt them, your end-of-life doula can also take care of helping them understand your wishes and preferences.

Wishes can be many things, from what type of funeral service, to who will be present, to what activities will be done, to whether you would like to be buried or cremated or planted as a tree. They can be about wills and inheritance and advance care directives so that they can connect you with professionals to make these arrangements. They can be wishes for your family and friends to fulfill. 

If you’re interested in working with an end-of-life doula, reach out, don’t wait to long.