Growing up I had a never-ending curiosity and comfort with the concept of death.
At an early age I recall my grandparents' neighbour come to our house to tell my father that his mother had died in her sleep. For the first time in my life, I saw Dad show deep emotion. The feeling I had I remember so well. I felt for him and somehow, I got to know another part of my Dad at that time.
The relational side of dying has an intenseness that can bring forth deeper understanding of the self first and foremost and those present during this time, family, and friends. Dying and Death can have many gifts.
My nature has always been to care for those in need, it's something I was born with. When my mum was in care, I saw so much loneliness in care facilities and on many occasions people often died alone.
My natural instinct was to go and assist, hold hands, soothe, comfort, listen, and reassure. When it came time for Mum’s dying process, I learnt so much from her and what happened around her being in a rest home. My question arose, “Why can’t we be at home?” because it requires support and knowledge of how to do this when circumstances don’t allow it. From this situation, I know that my mission is to be a Companion to the Dying. I went about finding voluntary positions at Hospice, cared for many people that were dying along with completing End-of-Life Doula training.
To educate and support individuals toward a conscious, peaceful transition.
To empower and guide families to reclaim the healing ritual of a home funeral.
For most people, the very thought of dying provokes fear and dread. As a culture, we deny the natural process of ageing and death and focus on prolonging life at all costs. Sadly, that cost is often the price of a peaceful, natural, and even joyful transition.
If we prepare ourselves spiritually, emotionally and mentally for our final transition, when the time is right, we can say ‘no thank you’ to life support, and welcome death support.
Dying consciously with grace, acceptance and a sense of fulfilment is the greatest gift we can leave our loved ones.
“Someone who’s dying has a job in front of them, and their job description is to die extravagantly – to set the banquet table that should be spilled in the wake of their dying, where everyone around them who knew them, or didn’t know them, or who wanted to, are invited, and the storytelling that ensues is the feast” – Stephen Jenkinson author of Die Wise