When people ask Valoria Walker what an end-of-life doula is, she finds it easiest to explain it this way: “A doula is a woman supporting other women labouring and giving birth. An end-of-life doula is at the opposite end. I support aging adults who are near or at the end of life.”
Who are the people you can turn to for end-of-life comfort and care? Who is there to help and what will they contribute to the journey?
Willow’s reason for being is to inform, empower and inspire you to consciously contemplate your death, so that you can be as prepared as possible, and live fully until then. Equally important, we want to inform, empower and inspire you in your role caring for and companioning those near and dear to you at the end of their life.
This is the first in a series of articles exploring and profiling the people and practitioners in our communities whose calling is to ease the way for all things “end of life.”
Whether you have days or decades left to live, we all know that this finite life will end. The kind of support you might need or desire (for yourself or others) depends on who you are, your circumstances and the when, how, why and where the death occurs.
Part of the “who-you-are equation” is about how you live your life.
- Are you a hands-on, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) type?
- Are you connected to a spiritual tradition?
- Are you mindful of your ecological footprint?
And part of the equation is about your privilege and capacity to access both internal and external resources.
- Do you have the time and energy to independently research in order to make plans or gather family wisdom?
- Do you have a village to call upon?
- What options can you afford to access?
- Where are you welcome and understood?
Throughout this year, we’ll explore a wide spectrum of practitioners that make up the vast container of care available, to varying degrees, in all our communities.
- What do they do?
- What’s their scope of practice?
- Is formal training and regulation part of their practice?
- Why do they do what they do?
Who provides end-of-life comfort and care?
You name it—bereavement counsellor, celebrant, cemeterian, coroner, cremationist, death coach, elder, end-of-life doula, estate-planning professional, funeral director, home-funeral guide, hospice staff, memoir writing guide, musician, organ-transplant and body-donation educator, palliative-care nurse and physician, psychopomp, religious death society volunteer, spiritual leader, transfer driver, virtual event planner—they’re out there being of service.
Let’s get to know each other.
All our love,
Michelle + Reena
PS Willow’s EOL Educator Program is coming ever so soon. Click here to be among the first to know so you can take advantage of the limited number of reduced fee enrollments.
What about you?
How has someone offering end-of-life care and comfort offered support to you and yours?