Listed below are the services I offer as an end-of-life doula. If there is a service you need that is not described below, feel free to contact me to discuss your needs.
Death 101 Lecture
Death 101 is a lecture I offer to provide a high-level introduction to death, covering topics such a physical death processes, legal documents and roles (such as medical power of attorney), vigil planning, hastening death, memorials, and what to do when death happens. The lecture is intended for individuals who have never had a close experience with the death of a friend or loved one and is available for small groups, corporate lunch-and-learns, and educational courses. It lasts approximately two hours, but can be customized to meet your specific needs in terms of both content and duration.
Planning a Good Death
Many events in life can be totally out of our control, including death. But, this doesn’t mean we can’t imagine, envision, and plan for how we would like our death to happen. By doing so, we put our intention out into the universe, and our documented plan can provide insight, inspiration, and guidance to our loved ones as our actual journey towards death unfolds.
If you choose to plan your good death with me, we will discuss and document topics such as medical power of attorney (ensuring you have one), advanced directives (again, ensuring you have one and that it truly captures your desires), your vigil (who you want or don’t want present, where you would like to be, music, candles, and other details to keep you comfortable),
Once we have documented your good death plan, I can be your advocate with family, friends, care providers, and anyone who is providing services during your journey to ensure they are aware of your wishes. Keep in mind, however, that as your doula, I do not have legal authority to make decisions about your care. Having your death plan documented will provide guidance to those who do.
Death With Dignity Support
The Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act went into effect on June 18, 2021, in New Mexico. This law is progressive and written to ease access to Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). If you are considering death with dignity, I can provide information on accessing it in our state, guidance as you assess and plan, and support for your loved ones.
Meaningful Goal Setting
Are there upcoming events that mean the world to you to attend (a daughter’s wedding, a son’s graduation, the birth of a grandchild)? Are there experiences you would like to have (one more hike on your favorite trail, a reunion with a friend you haven’t seen in years, watching the sunset over the ocean)? Identifying goals that are meaningful to you provides a compass for your loved ones and care providers. It gives insight for your care providers as they develop your treatment plans. It enables your loved ones and your doula to support you and enable you so your days have meaning and joy.
Vigil Planning and Attendance
To plan your death vigil, we will discuss and document topics such as who you want present; where you would like to be; if there is anyone you do not want present; would you like music, candles, incense; and who will notify loved ones after you have died.
I am happy to attend and participate in your vigil if you and your loved ones want me to.
Culturally, we do not often think about the things that may happen immediately after death. If a family hasn’t had this discussion, everyone can be overwhelmed and even a little shocked at how quickly the machine starts moving once death has been confirmed.
We will work together to document a plan of how you and your loved ones ideally would like things to transpire. For example, if you die in the home, does your family want to keep you with them for a few hours or even days? Do loved ones want to wash the and dress the body? Or does the family want the body removed post haste?
Having this documented will provide your loved ones and me the knowledge we need to make these events happen.
Together, we can create a document for your loved ones that contains interesting details about you, such as the life events that were most important to you, things you want your family to know, and if there is a message you would like to leave for family and friends. I use Dignity Therapy as the process to assimilate all the information you want included. It involves me interviewing and recording you as we discuss questions that we have agreed upon ahead of time. After I transcribe the interview, we will work together to edit the document until it is a piece you find pleasure in leaving to your loved ones.
Writing Letters to Loved Ones
Writing letters to say thank you, I love you, I’m sorry, I’m proud of you, can provide resolution, comfort, closure, and peace for you and your loved ones.
Families usually work with a funeral director and clergy to plan the funeral, but I am happy to assist in any way.
If you are wanting something less traditional, such as a home funeral, including unique spiritual practices (or no such practices), less common burial (such as at sea, green burial, or a green casket), I have numerous resources and references to provide.
One regret I hear expressed often by family and friends of the recently departed is that they wish they had taken more photos, even of the body, funeral, or grave. Although I am not a professional photographer, I have been known to take a decent photograph here and there and am happy to take photos of anyone and anything you would find meaningful.
Services I Do Not Offer
- Transportation to appointments
- Clinical care
- Legal advice
- Errands (with some exceptions based on circumstances and purpose)
Covid-19 Update: I am fully vaccinated and am comfortable meeting in person with masks. If you would rather not meet in person, we can meet via phone calls, video calls (using Zoom or FaceTime), and outdoors as weather permits. We can be creative!