Birth and death are both profoundly personal journeys for the loved one and the family and friends who are involved. Commonly, a doula is someone who is there for the woman during pregnancy and during and after the birth of the child, providing physical and emotional support during this personal and in some case traumatic period of the mother’s life.
While doulas can assist with the pregnancy and birth experience, they can also be a source of support during the end of life. An EOL doula serves to provide support with a type of grief counseling for the dying and their families before death and after.
How is an EOL Doula Different from a Grief Counselor?
An end-of-life doula differs from a funeral director or grief counselor because they work to support the loved one and their family and friends before death to help them cope with any feelings they may have, whereas a grief counselor and funeral director are there to assist and support the bereaved after death.
The services of an EOL doula can help to fill in some gaps within the funeral service industry, providing care for the dying and their families, providing a new way to work with families.
The process of the EOL Doula from Beginning to End
Summing up and Planning
Because death is a profoundly personal experience that is often unsettling for most people, those who are dying have difficulty discussing their fears or feelings with their loved ones, making the EOL doula particularly helpful throughout the dying process.
During this phase, the doula will work with the person who is dying to help them focus on and remember their more cherished memories. This is to help the dying person find their meaning of life and help them to find peace with the end of their life.
In addition to remembering cherished experiences, the doula will also help the dying by addressing any worries or issues they may have with feeling afraid or unprepared for death.
Conducting Vigil to Help Loved Ones Make Peace
When a doula conducts vigil, it means they are using various ways to help the dying persons loved ones make peace with death in the week following the death. The doula will also assist the dying plan for their care after death.
They can assist the family in contacting the services that will be needed after the dying person passes away, working to help the family plan the funeral and arrange any grief counseling as well as finish up any other business that is open to help reduce the stress on the family. The EOL doula can organize a vigil or service that will be held in honor of the loved one.
Reprocessing and Early Grief to Help the Family Prepare
Three to six weeks after someone’s death is typically when the reprocessing and early grief phase begins. The doula can help the family by reprocessing the experience and help them prepare for the early stages of grief in the coming weeks.
In this stage, the bereaved will retell the dying story to process what they are feeling and going through. The doula will also help the bereaved communicate things they said or did not say during the dying phase to help them come to terms with how they feel. The doula will also provide the family with closure by arranging a closing ritual to help them find closure.
For more information on funeral planning and grief counseling options, contact Beinhauer Funeral Homes & Cremation Services today to speak with our knowledgeable and compassionate team.