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Becoming a Death Doula

Updated: Jan 29

How did we get here?

I am staring at my dad’s lifeless body in a casket. The death of a parent (or anybody) is a difficult situation to navigate through. The past few weeks have been a complete blur, almost like we were on a rollercoaster ride at Canada’s Wonderland.

How did we get here?

Waves of emotions are running through our bodies, but our brain can’t process the information. Should we cry? Laugh? Scream? Be relieved? None of these seem appropriate for the situation that we’re currently facing. All we can do is go numb.

How did we get here?

We wish that we could remember the past few weeks. We wish that we could only think of the good times. We wish that we could hear his voice one last time. All we’re left with is this empty void…a void that we’ll never be able to fill.

How did we get here?

We weren’t prepared. We had no guidance. We had no words of support that could take the pain away. We, like most families, had to navigate the death care system with limited knowledge and awareness. We felt like hamsters running through the endless path on the proverbial circular wheel.

How did I get here?

I wish we had a person to talk us through this process. I wish that there was a person who could comfort us and advocate on our behalf. I wish that we had a plan on how to move forward. I wish that our healthcare system gave us the information we needed to make informed decisions.

How did I get here?

I stumbled upon something unexpected … someone that would answer all of my questions. There are people who are trained to help people navigate death care! There are people who help others to prepare their death care plan! There are people who can support you during and after the end-of-life journey… I met a death doula!

How did I get here?

No one should ever face an end-of-life journey alone. Death is scary to talk about, but there are people who will assist in any way possible. Death doulas work with individuals and families to create a person-centered death plan and take the pressure away from those who are still living. Most importantly, they advocate for people to die with dignity, regardless of their circumstances.

How did I get here?

I am now in the process of becoming a Death doula. I want to make the end-of-life journey more peaceful and less stressful for others. I want to dispel misinformation about death. I want to work with doctors, nurses, social workers … to make death more manageable. I want to normalize the concept of death so that others are able to speak freely.

My tales of a death doula have just begun!

Anyone interested in becoming death doula can register for HHA's death doula certificate program here. The next available training weekend is April 19-21, 2024.


Stephanie Byfield is an HHA death doula candidate. You can learn more information about her at

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