A student of mine, Maryann Arnold, now a dear friend has done an outstanding job with her studies. She has artful linked her experiences with her late husband Henk to the training and is wise beyond her studies. This article is hers and really well done!
What does it mean to be a Death Doula or End of Life Coach?
First of all for me I believe you must know yourself before you can know and help others. You must be able to be open and loving, and come to the table with no judgements as each and every one of us is on a different life and death journey. Each of us are as individual as our fingerprints.
When you are willing to be open to serve and help others, love and compassion will automatically flow.
The tools or skills that I feel are necessary to be able to help a dying loved one and the family are many. Here are ten of them.
- AN OPEN HEART
This is not only an important tool to help in the dying process but also to have in your living process. To have an open heart to me means coming to a situation or person with no preconceived ideas or judgements. Come from a place of love.
To have compassion for another is to be able to have a deep awareness of the suffering of another and to want to try to help and relieve that suffering in whatever way is possible.
To have empathy for another means to me that you are able to identify with what they are going through, put yourself in their shoes, and be able to share their emotions.
To be respectful of another is to understand that their choices are their own and it is not our place to judge others. We are all individuals with individual ideas and ways of life.
I think encouragement is a good thing to bring to the table when helping others; Encouragement that this is their journey and they do have a say in things that they would like to happen. Encouragement is also a good thing for the family caring for someone who is dying. Encouragement in the sense that lets them know that what they are feeling is ok. Everyone deals with this situation differently, everyone grieves differently.
To have acceptance is to be open to different beliefs, different traditions, and to just be accepting of where everyone is at the time when you are there to try and help them. Accept them for who they are and where they are on their journey. This I believe goes back to respect and an open heart.
- UNDERSTANDING / OPEN MIND
I think if you can come to the situation with understanding of what the family and the dying loved one is going through it can be very helpful. Perhaps this is another gift from Henk’s death that I received. I am now able to understand all of the emotions that rise in a situation where a loved one is dying. Again everyone’s journey is different so it is very important to have an open mind.
Kindness is something to me that is a must, not just when someone is dying, but in everyday life. If you can come to someone with kindness in your heart then doors will open.
- REIKI, MEDITATION,ESSENTIAL OILS
I have learned from experience that Reiki, Meditation, and Essential Oils can be very helpful when helping a loved one on the dying journey. Not only for the dying one, but also for those involved in the caring for the loved one. All of these things can help you relieve some stress and help you feel a bit more grounded or centered in what can sometimes be an emotional upheaval and very difficult time.
In order to bring peace to the situation you are working in, you must first be peaceful yourself. Sometimes the dying process can become a chaotic time with people coming and going, and if in hospital doctors and nurses coming and going, constant sounds in the hospital setting, or even in the home. It is possible to bring some peace to the situation and I believe that it is very helpful to the dying loved one to have a peaceful surrounding. If the loved one is dying at home there are many things you can do to make the home peaceful. Perhaps playing favorite music of the loved one softly for them. Burning incense if they like is also a way to help them relax. Saging your home also helps bring a peaceful feeling for all who are involved, or even using essential oils in a diffuser if wanted. These things can be done to a certain extent in the hospital environment as well, but not as easily as at home, depending of course on the hospital. Most importantly, asked the dying loved one what THEY want at this time. It’s important to try to limit the amount of chaos that can happen during this stressful time for both the loved one that is dying and for the family members as well. It is possible to bring peace to the situation!
I believe we are all Spiritual Beings of Light living as Human Beings, living human experiences.
WE ARE FELLOW SOUL TRAVELLERS
Written by Maryann Arnold