Companioning the Dying
END OF LIFE DOULA
Working with the dying and bereaved is an answer to a calling that began in 2012, when a series of personal and professional experiences made it clear that a change of direction was in order. I left the university in Chicago, where I had been teaching and directing theatre, to lead a more contemplative lifestyle closer to my family in the St. Louis area.
In 2018, I began training and certification with the Lifespan Doula Association in Ann Arbor, Michigan after hearing about this emerging field. Being close and attending to loved ones who are dying has a remarkable way of bringing us closer to life itself. We become more deeply alive when we allow ourselves to be with the certainty of our own mortality, which happens naturally when someone else's death is near. To be present with someone who is navigating this final transition is to love them. It opens the heart and reminds us of what really matters.
As a lifelong empath, it is natural to offer and hold space for someone experiencing difficult emotions or physical pain. Interpreting the needs of those who are non-verbal or who have difficulty communicating, which often happens as people are nearing death, is something I naturally do. It can be especially helpful when making decisions that may affect a dying person’s quality of life, which then affects the way their transition will unfold. Holding and creating space for that transition to happen naturally, peacefully -- even joyfully -- is the intention I hold for every client.