Hi, I’m Leigh
Hello, Leigh here, welcome. I’m here to support and hold your hand as you navigate end-of-life challenges and choices. I work with people who are wanting to embrace and engage in their end of life journey, who are imminently facing an end of life, their family members and other valued supporters.
The sudden and unexpected loss of my sister over 20 years ago definitely plunged me and my family into unchartered waters. It was something I could never have imagined would happen, from that day something changed forever. The immediacy, the finality, the what ifs and the whys haunted me while the exact time the accident occurred was embedded into every Saturday for a long time after her death.
The inexperience and not knowing what to do practically and legally resulted in blind faith and following someone else’s instructions. Power was given over to someone who had never met her as we tried to make sense of what had occurred. Our family muddled through, there were some things that I am sure my sister would have been proud of, other things were off the mark.
My sister’s death was a real “ah ha” moment for me.
At the time an unexplainable calm and acceptance washed over me, and the role of family connector seemed to flow unconsciously. Over time, my loss and grief have morphed into a deep acknowledgement and acceptance of this gift, a cherishing of life and an exploration in how we personally, culturally and historically navigate and respond to death.
We all have our own responses; nothing is right or wrong; they just are – just as your responses will be whatever that means for you, your family, your culture and your values. My family and I navigated experiences of death in a way we thought “right” with each of us finding our own supports, or not. Looking back I have no doubt having a Doula holding our hand, prompting questions, providing suggestions and information as the process unfolded would have honoured each of us and the experience much more.
My career has been diverse, challenging, interesting and rewarding. I have over 30 years experience in the Community Sector working face to face with people with disabilities, those living with a mental illness, and people experiencing homelessness. These experiences and passion led me into various management and leadership roles and broad knowledge of services and resources.
I have been with parents who knew the prognosis for their young children was not for a long life, supported others trying to make sense of a life-limiting diagnosis while trying to navigate adolescence.
When living on an Atoll in the Pacific Ocean I experienced
five close deaths in a very short period.
These experiences and sitting with people in the hospice or their home just “being”, providing Unconditional Positive Regard has contributed to my acceptance that death is part of life.
I have acquired trade certificates and tertiary qualifications in my career and in more recent times have immersed myself in training and learning in the non-medical area of death and dying. This includes:
Short courses and workshops –
* End of Life Doula training: Preparing the Way with Helen Callan
* Working with People with Dementia training: Alzheimer’s Australia
* Die Wise workshop and a Night of Grief and Mystery with Stephen Jenkinson
* Dying2Learn training: Flinders University Adelaide
* Leaving lightly: Funeral planning
* Death and Dying from Ancient to Contemporary ways talk: Powerhouse Museum
* The Science of Life and Death presentation and discussion
Certificates & legals –
* Working with vulnerable people registration
* First aid certificate
* Public Liability Insurance
Other commitments, memberships and community engagement I am involved with include –
* Professional Member of the Australian Doula College
* Member of the Natural Death Advocacy Network (NDAN)
* Active yoga practitioner
* Board member of Palliative Care Tasmania
* Hospice volunteer & scone maker!
Today I invite you to live and die well, to walk home your own unique way.
I believe we each have the ability to engage meaningfully and creatively,
one heartbeat at a time.
If this has stirred some enquiry and passion to walk this path in an empowering and meaningful way I’m here to see how this can happen for you or your loved ones. Take that step and let’s have a conversation.
Call me – 0423 240 432. Or fill in the contact form below.