Wollongong end of life doula

Being able to support people that are facing a life-limiting or end-of-life diagnosis is something Australian culture has lost.

It’s coming back with the end of life doula movement.

The Wollongong end of life doula

In addition to working as a writer and marketer, I am a Wollongong end of life doula and a counselling student.

I believe strongly in the terms of ‘a good death’.

 

What is an end of life doula?

Death doula, death walker, death midwife, end of life guide- these are some of the terms used to describe an end of life doula.

In the simplest of terms, an end of life doula is the opposite side to the same coin as the birth doula.

Here is someone that stands as your ally, confidant and support when facing a life ending or life limiting diagnosis.

The aim of the end of life doula is not to take away from the medical professional or act as a substitute for proper mental health support.

It’s about having that person that sits with you and is there to help you find a good death.

It’s about someone that has your best interests at heart and respects your wishes helping you uncover your version of a good death in real and practical terms.

 

Ally

A friend or ally that can stand up for your  end of life wishes to help facilitate your version of a good death

Shelter

Kindness and care, comfort and support during illness and a safe harbour in the storm

Support

An appointment buddy and someone that can help you navigate the medicalised environment

Organsation

Peace of mind through organising your affairs and/or project management marshal the troops during end of life

Respite

Relief for the carer of someone dying to avoid burn out and effectively manage  practical and emotional needs

Articulation

A place to talk about death and dying without stigma, judgement or concerns of the strain placed on loved ones

My end of life doula focus

I want to help people through the dying process in a personal, conscious and intentional way. Part of improving death literacy and collecting the stories of people, tricky or not, is about building a greater human fabric through story. We’re all experts in our own lives. We all have amazing and intricate lives. Why not allow our death express that?

Think about what a good death means to you

To me, a good death means being at home with music I like playing, maybe some incense burning and being surrounded by my partner, family and pets. I want to be in familiar surroundings, free from noise and intrusion. Able to have a cheeky beer in the sunlight on the back step if I am able. I want to look at the person I love and let him, and our wonderful dogs go on with their lives. All without them being haunted by regret, sorrow or seeing fear in my eyes.

For my wake, a band playing loudly, creativity flowing, dogs bounding, and the good, bad and ugly stories of my life being told by people that care. The typical Irish funeral appeals- where the bastard and the blessings of being are shared in equal measure.

Afterwards, I want to be a tree by the ocean. Either as scattered ashes or as a seed pod for the tree itself. I’d like people and pets to pop by and say hi while I admire the view.

You may want something entirely different. Maybe you want a deeply religious ceremony and to be buried in family tradition. Perhaps you would feel more comfortable dying in a hospital where medication and staff can manage your pain. Or maybe you have a bucket list you want to try and complete and wherever you land will simply be it.

We all have a different version of what a good death means. Some of us may even need to stand up for our version of a good death to be observed in the face of family members with differing views.

Whatever the case, my aim is to be the end of life doula that does her best to give you want you want in the end.

I have completed the Australian Doula College recognised phase 1 and phase 2 of the Preparing the Way training. I am also a current student of the Diploma of Counselling run by AIPC. 

I am based in the Illawarra and therefore operate as a Wollongong end of life doula.