Everyone should have the opportunity to live their life as fully as they can until they die. There is value in the final weeks and months of life, not only for the person who is dying but also for their friends and family. They can usefully have someone who helps them hold space for love and reflection as well as doubt and fear. This can help the dying person and those around them find meaning in death that may otherwise elude them. These conversations may be “tender”, and I see my role as a compassionate companion. I can also assist with practical work such as Advance Planning (writing a letter of wishes, setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney, and more) or just making a cup of tea. This help sits alongside the wider community – neighbours, medical professionals, spiritual leaders, and others – who all have important roles to play.
I have come to doula work through conversations with my family about the end of life and being with my parents and my in-laws near their deaths or at their moment of dying. I believe life’s meaning is in our connectedness, which should be celebrated through all our experiences, including dying.