Death and dying.
It comes to all of us in various forms and it has been a companion of mine from the time I was a little girl.
I was four or five years old and we lived on a homestead in the northern part of British Columbia, Canada when death first showed itself to me.
I remember it vividly to this day.
My mother had made a new blue coat for me. How proud I was of that coat. Running down to the barn to show my Daddy, a great big rooster (well, it was huge in my child’s eyes) decided I was a good target and it attacked me. I was so, so scared. I screamed and my Dad came running out of the barn, grabbed that rooster and wrung it’s neck. The blood splattered all over my new coat. My father threw the bird on the ground and it lay very, very still. Death had made itself known to me then in a way I wasn’t able to fully comprehend, nor could I fully understand the fact that I felt sad and glad at the same time! Grateful the bird couldn’t hurt me now, but unhappy it wasn’t moving anymore either. It was dead. My coat was forgotten in that moment of discovery.
Death. Dying. So many ways to experience both and the resultant grief caused.
The dying and eventual death of my parents marriage ending in divorce.
The dying and death of my childhood, my youth.
The dying and death of many other various relationships over the years.
The dying and death of my pets.
The dying and death of a very special Christmas Cactus that had been my grandmothers and had produced copious numbers of gorgeous red blooms twice a year.
The dying and death of my own first marriage ending in divorce; then the dying and death of that same man who was still a special friend.
The dying and death of my parents.
The dying and death of all nine of my siblings.
And most fierce of all in it’s intensity was the dying and death of my oldest child;
His dying and his death led me to become an end of life Doula which is the gift he left to me.
So I have become a friend of death. I perceive it in an entirely new way. Death is no longer my enemy. I am not afraid of an experience that we will all one day have.
I trust my services as a Doula, will help others cope by recognizing “death” as a natural and important part of “life”.
We have two major celebratory birthdays in our life. The day we are born. The day that we die. All the other birthdays are simply numbers marking our passage through life. I don’t remember being afraid to be born, do you? Why are we afraid to “drop our physical bodies” and move on to our next adventure when our life here is finished?
One is as important and meaningful as the other.
‘When you were born you were crying and everyone else was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone else is crying.“
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
I find it unfortunate that the conversation on death and dying is one that most people steer away from- to avoid facing their own mortality and the anxiety that causes. When people are educated about death, it is not as daunting. The end of a person’s life can be either an anxiety ridden time or a journey of peace and tranquility. Becoming comfortable about, and planning for ones own death enables us to live the rest of our lives more fully!
As a practising Certified End of Life Doula, the belief that I can support and comfort others through the final stages of their life and make things easier for them and that of their loved ones, brings me true joy.
As the Director of Comfort Care and Assistance, I can further educate and support, both the volunteers, our resource people and the recipients of their care in our community. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to connect meaningfully with each person that comes to Comfort Care.