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Why Do We Do This Work?

Updated: Apr 8

Those of us who work as End of Life Doulas (or Death Doulas) have our own reasons and stories of why we trained to become Death Doulas. In my own case, I came upon it serendipitously after caring for my parents and then a close friend at the end of life. In the case of my parents, I experienced feelings of helplessness and confusion because their last days were spent in institutions, and I had little information. In the case of my friend, she had planned how she wanted her final days to look, and I carried out her wishes. I was inspired to help others have an end of life like hers.

I came across a post that says it all:

"Doula work is heart work. It is hard for some to understand why we want to spend our time with dying people. But we [death] doulas know that many people choose to live fully until the moment they take their final breath. And that is why we do what we do. We are companions, walking alongside those who choose to live with intention and purpose until they die. We are facilitators… there with our clients to address whatever it is that needs to rise to the surface. We are facilitators of love, of communication, of grief, of joy, of reconciliation, of legacy, of silence. We are facilitators of peace, of conversation, of processing emotions and of holding space. We are facilitators of planning, of coordinating, of preparing, and eventually, we are facilitators of sitting vigil and creating comfort. We show up.

End-of-life doulas show up, wholeheartedly. We love, unconditionally. We listen, without judgment. We give, and we receive. Life is about love. It’s about loving each other well, loving deeply and sometimes it’s about letting go of love, too. I can’t think of any work that is more centered in love than that of an end-of-life doula."

Credit to: Diane Button, co-founder of Bay Area End of Life Doula Alliance, February 2021

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