The job of an end of life doula has many facets, Teresa Melody says.
End of life doulas provide emotional, spiritual and practical support to families before and after a loved one’s death.
Doula, derived from Greek, means servant woman or companion.
Teresa, an end of life doula, said we had all heard of midwives and some of us may have heard of birth doulas who helped women with non-medical assistance through pregnancy and childbirth.
End of life doulas help patients, or travellers, on the other end of life.
“We are going to hold you in the palm of our hand in that very precious moment of departing this world,” Teresa said.
“We will also hold your family in the palm of our hand.”
Teresa was one of the guest speakers at the Mid North Coast Group of Dying With Dignity NSW meeting on November 28 at Panthers Port Macquarie.
Death doulas are also known as soul midwives, soul coaches and death midwives.
Their job is not to advise.
They guide travellers and their families through the process of mindful dying.
“The tools of our trade are our hearts and our compassion,” Teresa said.
Teresa also draws on her experience in massage, aromatherapy and healing touch.
Other tools include meditation and music.
Teresa said while many in our world avoided the subject of death until confronted with it, a doula was trained and experienced in accepting the dying process as a natural part of life.
“After the planning and preparation phases are complete, a doula will hold emotional and spiritual space for you to focus on the intense work of withdrawing from the physical world,” she said.
“She or he will provide comfort and care for your loved ones so that they may feel confident and complete in all they can do for you at this time.”
Teresa is registered through the Australian Doula College as an end of life doula.