Saturday 30th March, St Mary’s Church,Wyndham Place, Marylebone, London. 10am to 4.30pm
What a wonderful day that was. Thank you very much to everyone who came. Doulas at their very best working hard behind the scenes to register people, decorate tables, act as hosts, making sure our lovely delegates were fed and watered – all with laughter and efficiency. The day, with Anna as our MC, kicked off with Hermione Elliott – Founder and Pioneer of the End of Life Doula movement in the UK – welcoming a roomful of 185 people and we were off. First up were Kate & Kate from the Coffin Club a great double act conveying the message with humour that we can have exactly what we want for our Funerals.
Mandy described, movingly, her work as a Doula in a hospital setting giving time to the person at end of life and those they love so that there is an ambience of peace and dignity. Ninon with style and openness described to us how we can acknowledge and account for the need for intimacy for the frail, the elderly and those at end of life. Dr Mark Taubert in his session ‘This is real life – it’s not Holby City demystified and brought the ‘everyday’ and popular culture in to how our dying can be. We loved his demo on Dr Guy of archaic CPR procedures – no person was harmed! Brian, an End of Life Doula, shared with us his insights and lived experience working with marginalised and the pain and powerlessness that results. Deb Wilkes a Hospice Nurse working in her Community showed us how she has extended her role to bring Death & Dying home and into the heart of her Community. Paul Smith with gusto and commitment described his work in combatting fraud and in particular the financial abuse which affects Adults at Risk and our older generation. Rebecca Kenyon of Mote of Dust Films, film maker extraordinaire and a Doula too showed her short documentary ‘Holding Space’ of Doulas in action. After lunch Dr Kathryn Mannix author of ‘With the End in Mind’ and Patron of End of Life Doula UK took to the stage – you could have heard a pin drop. Dying on your holidays and important considerations was the topic for Krzysztof Paplerowski. The lovely Nichola described why she had joined the Compassionate Neighbour Scheme and the support she provides to Christine. Barbara and Sam who were in the audience were able to sit back and watch the short film made of themselves having a conversation about Barbara’s experience of being alongside an end of life doula. The day finished with questions form the audience to all of the speakers for the day.
Here are some reflections from the day.
I was on table 7. Our table rocks
It was such a wonderful space and the energy in the room was delicious
At least one person will have a better death from the learning of how we can do death differently that was taking place in the room
So many great ideas and enthusiastic people
Made this subject more familiar and less feared
Awe inspiring, lots to think about
We plan to provide video highlights of the day for people to view on this website. We have enormous gratitude to all involved.