Choosing an end of life doula can be overwhelming. You may have heard of a birth doula, but a death doula? Why would you need a death doula? By definition, an EOL (end of life) doula is available to attend to a dying person at end of life. I am there for the dying person and their caregivers in a non-medical role, providing emotional support as well as respite for family and caregivers.
Many decades ago, I attended to a friend at his bedside, as he spent his last days in a hospital intensive care unit breathing with the aid of a large, noisy machine. I sat with him so his new bride could go home and get some rest and take a shower. As I sat with him, I realized what a sacred and intimate place I was in, there at his bedside. It was an honor to be trusted by his family to stay the night, speak gently to him, and hold his hand so he wasn’t alone while his family got a much-needed respite from the bright lights and beeping sounds of the cold, sterile machines. Though I didn’t know it at the time, my desire to become a death doula was born at that bedside.
After decades in the medical field in a variety of roles, I took a position with a large hospice in Colorado. It was there that my passion for end of life took hold. I saw what an impact a hospice team has on the dying person and their family. I liked what I saw, but I wanted more. I wanted to walk with the dying person and their family, ministering to them as they needed, and be a trusted resource as they took this final journey.
Currently, I volunteer with a not-for-profit hospice as a companion and vigil volunteer. I trained with International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA) and am in the process of completing my certification with them. I am a founding member of the Minnesota Death Collaborative (MNDA), providing presence, education, and advocacy to individuals, caregivers, and providers as they face end of life.
My role as an end of life doula is to companion and support the dying person, their family, and friends from as early as the time of diagnosis through the dying process and into bereavement. This looks different for everyone; this is your design and I will walk alongside you. You know how to do this work; I am here to give you the space to write the script for your last months, weeks, and days.
It would be my honor to walk alongside you on this journey.
“I believe being on speaking terms with our mortality helps us move through life with a certain humility…a certain sense of comradeship with our fellow humans.” Barbara Coombs Lee