Many of us experience a hallmark moment when we find the career that feels more like a calling. The beautiful thing about humanity is our differences. Each of us have different strengths and weaknesses, and it’s what propels society forward. When you find your calling in life, especially in death services, some may not understand your decision. From funeral directors and embalmers to casket companies and urn designers, many outsiders look at these professions with a confused look. One such profession is that of a “death doula.”
Now, you may have heard of a doula before, but only in relation to birth. However, there is dire need for doulas in easing the process of death as well. Death doulas are often volunteers who help with anything from household chores like washing the dog to providing company and support for those alone. There is no “right way” to go about the process of dying, and a death doula is there to ease the process.
Death doulas are often called end-of-life Doulas, soul midwives, or transition coaches. You can receive a certification through the International End of Life Doula Association. They are often apart of hospice care and the goal is to, “transform the dying process into a richer, more spiritual experience.”
The INELDA has a 3-phase model that centers on the following main ideas:
- Summing-up and Planning
- Conducting a Vigil
- Reprocessing a death with their loved ones afterward
What can one expect from a death doula? Well, the answer is quite simple: whatever you need. Some individuals are visited by a death doula once a week for years before they die. The visit can be full conversation or your doula can sit silently without an agenda. The main goal is to ease your pain and fear that too often accompanies death. Other experiences include organizing a legacy project or helping the family with minor chores. Support comes in many forms.
Death doulas are drawn to their line of work. Some by their own fears of death and dying while others have a natural curiosity and vested interest in the process. Many have experienced death of a loved one and seek to alleviate the burden with other families. They, like many in the death industry, find a calling within their work.