What’s In Your Death Doula Bag? 3 Tools for End-of-Life Care
Tools of Comfort
An end-of-life doula is more than just a giver of care, but a provider of comfort. A death doula should carry things that help ease the dying person’s transition and keep the dying person and the family grounded.
Tools of comfort such as a candy bar, a portable speaker, or even a favorite movie may provide short-term pleasure or joy. A hair brush or lipstick can offer dignity to the frail. Religious texts or books of poems can provide a sense of purpose. Flowers can provide the elevation of beauty and remind the dying person of the love in which they are held.
Tools of Care
A death doula’s bag should contain practical items. such as first-aid supplies, pillows, lotions and creams, towels, and washcloths, provide supplementary care to the dying. Epsom salts, a footbath, and topical pain relief can ease minor aches and swelling. Tools of care are most critical during the transition phase, especially if the dying person is uncomfortable or in pain. You can’t take on the pain of another person, but you can help them bear it.
Tools of Legacy
One of the most important things you can offer the dying and the bereaved is a sense of closure. Our lives are not just a series of random occurrences without meaning – we develop important relationships that are worth sharing and preserving. Tools of legacy offer touchpoints for both the dying and the bereaved as they process this difficult life transition.
Many death doulas work with their clients to develop legacy items for family members using crafts like quilting, scrapbooking, or painting. Some will even write letters expressing their love and memories to the people they care for. These can provide powerful tethers, particularly when quality of life is at its highest.
THE HUMAN JOURNEY® was designed as a means to spark conversation amidst despair, even among those reluctant to share their feelings. It takes the form of a board game, encouraging play as a means to discuss grief, letting go, and shared decision-making. While it isn’t required to fulfill your duties as a death doula, it offers a structured methodology for providing meaning in a person’s final days.
As an end-of-life doula, you understand how transformational death can be for families, friends, and loved ones. Your death doula bag should contain objects that help you transform mourning into meaning.
So, Who’s the Father?
So, Who’s the Father?” isn’t exactly what a person who’s expecting wants to hear. It can feel like an accusation, like an invasion of privacy, or like a completely irrelevant question, depending on one’s method of conception, key relationships, or plan for childrearing. Even in days when there were fewer methods for conceiving a child or for avenues for getting one to adulthood, Emily Post might have advised just to stick with a hearty congratulations.
Ostranenie: A Fantastic Russian Word
Learn to pronounce ostranenie and impress your friends with your accent as well as with this cool word.
And what a concept … to learn to re-see, as if with new eyes, those things our eyes think they know so well, they no longer see them at all.
To find wonder again and again in the way our sister-in-law calls company in for dinner without the least hint of anxiety, exhaustion, or sense of the extraordinary event.
To learn anew about the people we think we know best.
The Creature Comforts Checklist
This is it our “Creature Comforts Checklist.” It’s an odd name, we know.
We called it that, recognizing that grief is a very physical thing and that sometimes what grievers most need (aside from not being asked if they need anything) is not to talk but to be. Just a creature.
When you’re grieving, you miss the physical presence of the person you lost …
Beyond “In Through the Nose, Out Through the Mouth”
You’ve seen it a thousand times on television. Just a bit of momentary drama to set the stage. It’s a medical show. Someone is having an anxiety attack. Maybe he’s hyperventilating. The medical professional or first responder fixes her eyes on this (typically) mouth breather
How Can Something Be Neither Good Nor Bad?
It’s super fun to watch someone’s thinking shift right in front of you. They might jerk still suddenly, their eyes wide and long, like old cartoon figures in a haunted house or a dark cave, when all you could see was the eyes. That’s part of the joy
Becoming the Witness
I’m an avid reader of Twitter for its political and epidemiological news, which often appear prior to (and prove more informative than) what can be made available under the rubric of conventional media. I continue to be struck by a story that Pulitzer Prize-winning