Death midwives helping the dying do it better
Colorado End-Of-Life Doulas Are Dying To Help – Death Doulas Support The Dying And Their Families ~
In America, the subject of death is the elephant in the middle of the dining room table. We pretend that it isn’t sitting there staring us down, waiting to introduce itself up close and personal. Our refusal to interact with death until we are compelled to do so leaves us afraid and unfamiliar with how to die well and how to help a loved one have a good death. The end-of-life doulas from the Colorado End-of-Life Collaborative are trained and experienced in supporting and guiding the dying person and their loved ones up to, and through, the dying process. A recently formed non-profit in Denver, the Colorado End-of-Life Collaborative (CEOLC) makes it possible for Coloradans to find an end-of-life doula (EOLD) in their community who can meet their needs.
“Every EOLD brings her unique personality and particular skills to the dying and their loved ones,” says Kerry Arquette, an end-of-life doula and co-founder of the Colorado End-of-Life Collaborative. “This is an imperative phase of life, and the dying must feel comfortable, confident, and connected to the doula they select.”
The Collaborative offers information about vetted, independent doulas, their services, and their contact information. The website also provides those who are dying and their loved ones with easily accessible answers to many questions about the process of working with an EOLD and explains what they proffer, including support in the form of companionship, advocacy for the wishes of the dying, education about what happens during the dying process and what needs to happen before, respite for exhausted caretakers, planning for vigils and funerals, legacy work, as well as emotional, spiritual, and physical support, and much more.
“The best end-of-life doulas are highly empathetic,” says Arquette. “They are comfortable talking with the client about his life and his feelings about death, or simply sharing the space in silence. Professional EOLDs can guide a dying client toward a sense of completion and accomplishment…having made it to life’s finish line. There is truly so much to celebrate! The circle of life is closing, and everything is exactly as it should be.”
CEOLC’s end-of-life doulas are part of a growing group of professionals across the country who are dedicated to “doing death better.” Along with affiliate businesses that share their vision and offer other aging, senior, and end-of-life products or services, CEOLC is seeking to reestablish death as a natural part of life. An important part of their mission is to open up the conversation surrounding death and dying in America. As such, the Colorado End-of-Life Collaborative has a Speaker’s Bureau staffed with experienced presenters who can talk to community groups, professional organizations, clubs, classrooms, medical services, support groups, retirement communities, and others interested in a wide range of topics related to death and dying.
“We, as a culture, have forgotten how to support, tend, guide, and nurture the dying,” says Arquette. “That’s why we so desperately need to invite into the experience somebody—an experienced end-of-life doula— who has mastered these skills. EOLDs are called at a soul or gut level to be there for the dying and their loved ones. By being there, and modeling behaviors, perhaps families and friends can reclaim the honor of tending the dying.”
About the Colorado End-of-Life Collaborative: The Collaborative is a 501(c)6 non-profit membership organization led by a volunteer board of directors whose goal is to bring visibility to end-of-life doula care, as well as to work collaboratively with other senior, aging, and end-of- life service providers. They strive to become Colorado’s leading go-to organization for trusted, compassionate, and dedicated professionals serving the end-of-life needs of our communities. For more information, visit their website at https://coeolcollaborative.org