Public speaking or death, which do you fear most ?

It is said that our greatest fears in life are public speaking and death, if you have ever thought you’d rather die than speak in public you are not alone. Jerry Seinfeld’s comment that people would rather be in the coffin that give the eulogy rings pretty true for many of us. Giving a eulogy is a skill and can be public speaking at its rawest.

As for my fear, it’s public speaking hands down, not that I’ve got death sorted but being an end of life doula I’m often reflecting on my own mortality and exploring what death means to me. Being around people at end of life I get to witness others experiences and while love may be present fear is never far away.

As a child we learnt to ride a bike, we had a steady hand guiding us, maybe some trainer wheels, we fell off, we were excited and we were often fearful. Would we fall off, would we hurt ourselves, can we do this ? With support and guidance many of us do things we fear. We did it, we walked, we rode a bike, horse, we jump out of planes, climb mountains, run marathons and the list goes on.

With guidance and confidence we can talk in public ,taking baby steps and leaning into that fear and making it to whatever stage we desire.

What happens once death occurs is still the unanswerable question, but if we explore death with its antidote Love what happens ? From what I witness the strength and power of fear is reduced. It may not go away but the crack allows a softness and lightness to beam in.

If the role of a eulogy is to reflect and pay tribute to a persons life why not honour their approach to death, it could offer a lasting lesson to those still living.

Would you like to know more? Book in with me for a free chat below.

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A unexpected death and how a End of Life doula can help

The response for most people in hearing the news of an unexpected death is shock. Disbelief that the death is true; as if it’s all a bad dream, emotions of anger and grief may quickly follow. We will all have an emotional response but how this is displayed will differ from person to person, the relationship to the person who has died and the circumstances of the death. These experiences and emotions were certainly true for me and my family when my only sister was killed over 20 years ago. We fumbled through this roller coaster of time and made decisions while being embraced in an uninvited fog.

There are some very important and practical things that can assist at this time for the bereaved and the process of bereavement .

Immediate things to consider in first hours, days or weeks

Keeping safe – when shock occurs a person is more likely to make mistakes such as driving erratically/dangerously or harming themselves doing household tasks such as burns while cooking or spilling the kettle.

Basic needs of food & shelter – have they got enough food and liquids (non alcoholic), a warm/cool house to be in and are comfortable when trying to rest/sleep.

Responsibilities and dependants – are there children, parents and pets to be cared for and/or work commitments to be inform of the bereavement.

Providing basic information – to help the person make sense of the situation this it is best done in a calm and clear manner in amounts that they can receive. It’s worth remembering that information may need to be repeated several times.

Inclusion in what is happening and decision making – this can be big and overwhelming. Decisions around the funeral/EOL celebration, viewing the body, who to notify or invite, what sort of service to have, music, readings etc. Generally there are 40 plus decisions to be made in arranging a funeral and often in a short timeframe. This vulnerable time can result in making decisions or accepting ideas and suggestions that haven’t been really understood and considered.

Awareness and sensitivity of any pre-existing life situations – family vulnerabilities can be heightened at this time. Awareness of any family dynamics, illnesses, violence, substance issues need to be considered with sensitivity.

All of these considerations and the care of a bereaved person/s can be done anyone, but not everyone can rise to that role. Some families have a natural caring organised “go to” person who can hold this space, but that can also be a big ask as they need to be cared for too. A care professional such as an End Of Life Doula can be the person to hold the space at this time. They can be there for the bereaved and also support the “go to” person. They can be the eyes and ears for the situation and considerations while leading and responding gently and calmly. Equally as important is being an advocate, a voice to ensure decisions are made that are right for the bereaved and that honour the deceased in their own unique way.

 

 

What is a Doula?

What is a doula ?

Doula is a Greek work which translates to “woman servant”. Going back a century it was the “doula”, a wise woman of the village that supported women in having babies and people dying. The emergence of birthing doulas in Australia came about in the 1980s as women wanting to do birthing differently, taking this part of life back to more natural ways, saw the growth of home births, and having fathers and supporters much more included in the birthing process.

In more recent years the role of having someone to support those at the other end of life (dying) become much more common – these practitioners are known as End of Life doulas.

End of Life doulas may come from a range of backgrounds, hold various skills and expertise and offer a range of services. While they do not offer medical or legal support it is the emotional support, knowledge and resources in a caring, compassionate and empowering manner that is of essence. Someone that can hold that space for the person dying and others to allow the process of leaving this life in a more peaceful and meaningful way.

A doula can be engaged by the person who is dying, family members or friends, or whoever it is that is needing support at this time. The range of services will differ from doula to doula but most cover a holistic approach and can look at supports and assistance around a person’s medical, legal, care, emotional, spiritual and practical needs. It is a very individualised approach, so not everyone’s needs and/or packaging of the service are ever going to be the same.

Would you like to know more? Book in with me for a free chat below.

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