We are like a birth doula, but not really; we are doulas for the dying. We accompany others at the end of life, not the beginning.
Let us begin with a little comparison and understanding of the role in relation to birthing. In 2017, in the US, birth doulas have created a special niche for themselves as providers of practical and emotional care for a woman and her family.
As an end-of-life doula, we expect a lot of ourselves sometimes. How often do you get to ‘practice’ the art of being with others as they are dying? How often do you get to ‘practice’ the skills that will make you good at this? Do you expect yourself to just be great at going between the two states of 'being' without practice? That is a lot to ask of anyone.
A recent article by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, "Transforming End of Life Care through Communication," states something vitally important:
We, end-of-life doulas, have a 'job' to do which is to listen and hear what a person's goals are for themselves now that they are seriously ill.