Getting Schooled

Death Doula

I learned a new term this past week! “DEATH DOULA” — Let me back up.

The Rhine Research Center at Duke University had a speaker this past week who discussed, Hospice work, death Doula’s, and medium-ship. It was a fascinating combination! My friend, who does Hospice work, and I went.

I swear, I live under a rock sometimes! I had no idea what the word even meant, let alone that it existed prior to this event. So if you also don’t know, I hereby grace you with a good old Wikipedia explanation: “A death midwife,[1] or death doula,[2] is a person who assists in the dying process, much like a midwife or doula does with the birthing process. It is often a community based role, aiming to help families cope with death through recognizing it as a natural and important part of life. The role can supplement and go beyond hospice. Practitioners perform a large variety of service, including but not limited to creating death plans, and providing spiritual, psychological, and social support before and just after death. Their role can also include more logistical activities, helping with services, planning funerals and memorial services, and guiding mourners in their rights and responsibilities.[1]

The Rhine had guest speaker, Debra Diamond, come in to discuss and explain how she has tied in all of this together in her experience. She has wrote two books on the subject if you are interested.

It was truly fascinating, endearing and validating. She stated that if the body is ready to go but the soul is not, the soul will hold out and death will not happen. If the soul is ready but the body is has not shut down entirely yet, nothing will happen. It is only when the soul is ready and the body cease at the same time that the soul transitions, leaving/discarding the earthly body. The body dies, but the soul lives on!

I also learned that while she is sitting with a loved one as a Doula, the Hospice patient does hear what you say even though it appears that they don’t. (PSA: Watch what you say!) She used the example of a lady walking into the Hospice room saying “IS HE DEAD YET?”, (a little to excited) and the patient acknowledged to Debra that he heard it. With her being a medium, she has often had conversations with those that cannot speak for themselves.

Also fascinating was that despite the body laying there during the end of life not moving or responding, their SOUL is transitioning between two realms. The soul has moments that it leaves the body and visits loved ones and visits those that have already transitioned who are waiting to receive them on the other side. There is no clock so it is not known exactly how long or how often they come and go. It has been said that Steve Jobs, sister reported that he uttered on the day he died: “OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.” Guess he got a chance to see a highlight reel before he officially transitioned!

When my dear Grandma was at the hospital not doing well a few years ago, my Mother sat with her. Mom mentioned that at one point Grandma suddenly opened her eyes and smiled. My mother realized that Grandma was looking past her but looked SO HAPPY! Mom asked Grandma what was she looking at. My Grandma said that my Grandfather (whom passed away many years earlier) was right behind my Mother. He was there with other family to let her know they were there when she was ready to go. My Mom said she looked behind her and saw no one. My Grandmother, closed her eyes and passed soon after. Now, my Mother was a RN before she retired. Very “left brain” oriented. If it was not documented in a book as fact, you were ‘making it up‘ and it was ‘all in your head‘. I think it took a lot of courage for my Mom to tell me about this instance considering it was a contradiction to everything she preached to me growing up. Trying to comfort Mom, I validated what she said. I truly believed that Grandpa did come to let her know that he was there and she would be in great hands once she was ready to go. I feel it was helpful for my left-brained Mother to hear that “SHE” was not making this up. (But OH THE TEMPTATION to channel my adolescence and throw back some of the words she always told me!😎 ) Mom wrote out what happened and hesitantly shared it with my Aunts and Uncles. She had my full support. To her surprise, no one questioned her about it either.

My point in relaying this story was that hearing Debra speak, just further backed up the experiences I have had so far in my life, and also my personal work as a Medium helping those speak to their loved ones that have crossed. My friend (the Hospice volunteer) and I did a lot of head-bobbin’ in acknowledgement through out the talk. I also learned that my friend had already taken one or two Doula classes, for which I did not know. She is awesome!

In the big scheme of things, the talk was fascinating on many different levels. It truly warmed my heart that the soul sneaks in and out of this realm despite what the body is doing. It’s free even if only for a few moments before it transitions for good.

I give sincere appreciation to all the Doula’s and Hospice workers out there. They give family and friends a much needed break so that their loved ones are never without someone by their side. I had no idea they even existed prior to this event. Doula’s are a special kind of Angel along with all the Hospice workers out there. They should just walk around with wings on for all to see and admire as they still walk on earth.

If you feel called to do such work, there are many training facilities to help you know how and what you can do to be of service. Please look them up. Many need you.




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