You’ve probably heard of the word “doula” in relation to childbirth. However, doulas aren’t just there for people at the beginning of life. They can be there to help you and your loved ones deal with the grief when life ends.
Doulas are, in fact, trained companions who support individuals through various significant health- and life-related experiences. These included childbirth, miscarriages, abortions, severe illnesses, and death. A doula can also offer support to their client’s circle, like their spouse or partner, family, and close friends.
In the case of an end of life doula, their goal is to make their clients and the people surrounding them as safe and comfortable as possible. While personal life coaches can help you process emotions by talking about them, end of life doulas help ensure that a person has a “good death.” This way, their loved ones can take a break for a while and mourn without feeling encumbered.
End of Life Doulas and Their Role in Dealing With Grief
When you lose someone who means a lot to you, your first and most natural response is grief. On the other hand, a person who is close to death may be experiencing a different kind of grief, as well as fear, confusion, and shock. Dealing with all of these feelings and intense emotional reactions can certainly be overwhelming and there will be times when you would want to take a break from it all.
This is where an end of life doula can help. For the client or patient, a doula can ensure that the person’s life is honored and their wishes are realized. They can also affirm that the person’s emotions are valid and no less important even though they are soon to leave the world.
Meanwhile, for the loved ones, a doula can help process conflicting emotions. More importantly, a doula can take over for a while, taking care of the emotional needs of the patient while their family and friends can take care of themselves without feeling guilty about it.
Listening to Life Stories and Then Sharing Them
Everyone has a story to tell, perhaps no one more so than a person on their deathbed. As humans, it’s only natural to want to share these stories and have them heard. Aside from keeping one’s memories alive, sharing these stories is one simple way of leaving one’s mark in the world.
Meanwhile, for those who will be left behind, listening and talking about a dearly departed’s story can help with coming to terms with death. It can help make sense of the shock and sadness, instead of stewing in grief.
End of life doulas can help with both of these aspects. For the client, a doula can be the story listener. Without any judgment and with careful attention, an end of life doula can absorb everything and keep the story pure. In this way, it’s also easier to honor the person’s wishes for their death. If they don’t have an idea yet about what they want to do, a doula can guide them by listening to their stories.
Meanwhile, for the loved ones surrounding the patient, a doula can be a mourning partner. They can initiate the sharing of the person’s stories, which can be a difficult hurdle to overcome. An end of life doula can also make mourning a little easier and answer questions about the dying process. This way, the family members feel more empowered and confident that they are honoring the wishes of their loved one.
Giving Meaning to One’s Life in Grief and Death
In the end, having an end of life doula is all about having a safe space to deal with the heavy emotional toll of sickness and death. As everyone deals with their grief, an end of life doula can help guide both the patient and their loved ones to find meaning and reason behind each and every feeling. They can also foster stronger connections between and among the family even through the difficulties.
An end of life doula can also help the loved ones of the departed to start feeling more positive about the present and the future. Many people who experience a deep loss often feel unenthusiastic, seeing today and tomorrow as something bleak or dark. With guidance from a doula, friends and family can begin to rekindle feelings of joy without feeling ashamed that they’re already moving on.
Most importantly, an end of life doula can help cultivate hope. After a harrowing loss, it can be hard to feel hopeful again. A doula can help with this part of grieving, until those who are left behind can think about the memories and feel encouraged rather than crippled.
Death is not something that’s easy to think or talk about. However, it’s an inevitable part of life. Hopefully, with an end of life doula, this stage will be easier to overcome.
If you would like help with what you are experiencing, then book a FREE DISCOVERY SESSION.