Updated: Apr 16
You may wonder if there is such a thing as “dying a good death,” and the answer is yes. It is not only possible and a doula can help in many ways.
If you haven’t heard of a death doula, I’m sure you will soon because there is a death doula movement happening around the world. Death doulas provide compassionate care to a dying person as well as their loved ones in many ways, which can often be categorized into four domains of care: death planning, legacy projects, sitting vigil and grief support.
Death doulas can facilitate difficult conversations about dying and death which can help create a sense of normality around a topic that is uncomfortable for many people. They can also help bring families closer together during a very emotional time. We bring care to the place you call home and provide support before, during, and after death.
Dying is just as natural as being born and death can be a beautiful experience. In our western culture most people fear death. We spend most of our lives running away from death and ignoring it until it hits us close to home. As a Reiki practitioner, and current HHA death doula candidate, I have always been very compassionate towards others. I am proud to be a part of a movement that will change the way our society views death and that will bring peace and comfort to many.
One of the reasons I chose to take HHA’s death doula certificate program is because of the way my father died in the hospital. He was the first person close to me to die and I didnt’ know how to handle it. I didn’t like the feel of the hospital….it was cold and impersonal. I knew there had to be a way to make dying a more peaceful and calming experience for those who are dying as well as for their loved ones.
Additionally, the most pivotal moment in my life was when my partner died suddenly and unexpectedly. I was devastated and after I had time to heal I felt so much more compassion for others. This led me down a more spiritual path, and I felt a strong pull to help those who are dying transition peacefully.
With the shortage of doctors and our declining medical system a death doula can help fill in the gaps that exist in the care provided at the end of life. As a death doula, I intend to help strengthen the relationships between medical and non-medical workers by supporting and working with them as part of a team. Deathwork focuses on mind, body and soul and complements the work of other professionals such as doctors, therapists, and caregivers. By working together with health care providers in my community I hope to create a more complete and unified support system. As a death doula, I also hope to help families who are struggling with availability to care for their dying loved one. This care can relieve a great burden and provide stress relief during a very difficult time. My role as a death doula is also to help dying individuals define and experience what a good death looks like for them.
Anyone interested in becoming a death doula can register for HHA's Death Doula certificate program here. The next available training weekend is June 2-4, 2023.
Cheryl Amirault is an HHA Death Doula Candidate. She has also been a reiki practitioner for seven years.