This articles points out how Death Doulas offer emotional and spiritual support for both the dying and their families.
There are varying ways a Death Doula may help:
They can help the dying reflect on life’s meaning.
They can conduct comforting rituals, including light touch and holding hands.
They can read to patients or play favorite music.
Doulas may also explain signs and symptoms of dying to the family and help them know what’s coming next.
A Necessary Conversation can help serve you and your loved ones during life and death
Point #4........Which, in my opinion, is extremely important and often overlooked!
“When death knocks on your door,” says celebrant Sarah Kerr, “there’s a whole lot of stuff that needs to be done. But then there’s this other part, that’s relational and emotional and spiritual...."
Most people, I believe, feel they are prepared for End of Life because they have their Wills and Advance Directives complete. This is a great start. However, End of Life is so much more than "dotting the i's and crossing the t's". It's bigger!
Most people, when near death, don't wish they spent more money on material things or spent more time working. In fact, most dying tend to reflect on their lives and their relationships.
Don't wait till death comes knocking to change emotionally and spiritually within your relationships. Start Now!
A Time To Die
Point #3.......This particular part of this article is about how important it is for "boomers" to have a choice to die. I am not going to give my opinion on this issue, but I do feel its extremely important for any individual facing terminal illness or immediate death to know what their options are. Knowledge is Power! Once again, this article shows the importance of becoming fully aware of all options and then to make decisions based on thorough and fact based information.
Coached Through The Maze
Point # 2.....Coached through the maze, talks about the "unsung consequences" of what can happen when we refuse to acknowledge the future. Even though this part of the article is speaking to the geriatric health care system, I believe there are consequences for all of us - healthy, young, old, sick etc. if we avoid having these conversations now. Don't wait until you're in a crisis or when you are older. Be brave. Dare to look at End of Life and start exploring with wonder. Find someone that can help you. This article offers a few ideas on where to reach out to get some help to navigate the maze.
Why We Need To Normalize Death
I like this article on a couple of levels. With this being said, I will probably share this same article several times, but each time, focusing on something different. There is a lot of information in this article and I believe that each point is important to think about.
So here we go, point #1.......Make Death a part of life. This is a pretty foreign concept for most of us. We have placed old age and death in the dark corners (senior living homes, nursing homes and hospitals) of our lives. We often have our loved ones endure medical procedures, even when we know they are dying. We do so, just to prolong the inevitable. Often, we don't see death until after it happens i.e. at the funeral home. We have cut ourselves off from the experience of being around the dying. So of course, we react negatively to it.
If we don't start talking about death, we will continue to keep in the background, thinking of it as a boogeyman. When we ignore something that we know will for sure happen, we end up adding anxiety and fear, about such an event. Lets "Do Death Differently" by having many necessary conversations! Let's experience all the emotions that come with exploring death and dying, so we can live more freely now.
I was intrigued by the title of this article....... Grandma has unexpected "morbid" response to her birthday cake.
Why is it morbid for a 94 year woman to wish that this is her last birthday?
Instead of judging, and laughing (probably because we are highly uncomfortable with such a topic), why not talk to our elders and ask them about what their thoughts are on life, and on death?
What can we learn from someone whom has lived a full life - a life full of ups and downs?
What wisdom can we be gifted to us by bringing the elderly back into our daily lives?
What gifts can we give the elderly by not separating them from life?
Take a chance, and start engaging in A Necessary Conversation, with the elders in your life.
First, Sex Ed. Then, Death Ed.
This is an interesting thought.....why should Death Education be considered more taboo than Sex Education?
In the Westernized culture, "Death, Dying and Grief" are subjects most people avoid.
Discussing these matters are "downers, icky, irrelevant".
How does this kind of thinking affect our actual experiences with death?
For most, it is an impending sense of fear and terror of an event (death), that is 100% Guaranteed, to happen to each and every one of us.
Is it beneficial for you to pretend that death doesn't exist?
Do we, as a society, have a duty to discuss death and dying openly, so as to reduce the negative emotions around them?
Is it wise to let the fear of death excuse us from exploring death?
Death lends meaning to life
Several years back I saw an article about "Death in Perspective" course at Kean University.
I was fascinated that there a class where one could explore End of Life topics. I did not find a similar classroom course offered in my area, instead, I began my journey of death exploration and empowerment.
Learning to talk about death, is just the beginning in how we change our responses to End of Life situations. A Necessary Conversation helps one to navigate these emotions and to discover a deeper meaning of life.
What on earth is a death cafe?
"The premise was simple: people go along, drink tea, eat cake and discuss death: not to be morbid, just to raise awareness and to help people make the most of their (finite) lives." Founder Death Cafe, Jon Underwood
What a simple, yet powerful idea! Gather together, openly discuss death and find a common experience among like-minded people. The power of having a community to discuss freely the emotions around death awareness can be powerful and profound.
If you are interested in a Death Cafe - please join one. If you want a more of an individualized arena to explore death and dying, or want to host a LIVE DEATH AWARE EVENT, please contact me.
Life Before Death
Wow! Wouldn't it be great if there were more safe places to talk about life and death?
Dr. Norma Bowe creates a secure environment where her students can share openly about life, death and grief. Each of our End of Life experiences reshape how we respond to our relationships and our circumstances. Sometimes, we think it is easier to push away or ignore these emotions, but they are always there. Exploring death and dying will not encourage death to happen. These conversations will only transform our capacity to enhance our experiences in life, death and grief.
Like death, grief is often a taboo subject here in the West.
However, the Death Positive Movement is slowly bringing death, dying and grief out of the dark, so we, as a society can begin to speak openly about life and death.
In being honest about ones fears & anxieties in regards to grief, we can start on a new and healing journey.
In this article, by Michelle Steinke-Baumgard, she contrasts societies expectations of grief vs the reality of grief.