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  • marieanik

HELP: My sister has a terminal illness, not sure what to do? Could an end-of-life doula help?

I’m sorry that your sister will be dying sooner than anyone hoped. The short answer to your question is yes, working with an end-of-life doula will help your sister and everyone that loves her. Let me explain.

I have been writing these weekly blogs for a few months, yet I never shared what motivates me to do this work. I do this in part to honour all that I learned from being my husband’s caregiver for 10 years. Having a professional background in mental health and being comfortable navigating the health care system, I thought I left no stone unturned when accessing professional resources that might help him or me (i.e., medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation therapists, social workers, psychotherapists, psychologists, life coaches and minister). Nearly seven years have passed since his death, I have since trained in end-of-life care, and now wished I had been aware of death doulas. They offer different skills from the other professions.

I now help the dying review their lives, complete relationships, and legacy projects (e.g., finish knitting a sweater for them, collate family recipes, write letters). Inspired by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant’s Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (2019), I assist the dying and their loved ones come to terms with the fact that Option A (i.e., dying of old age in their sleep) is not an option and help them define and implement Option B (i.e., having a good death).

Reach out if you have any questions and wonder if a doula could help. The first call is free and then it’s pay what you can. I live in Perth and provide in-person care to people in surrounding communities: Carleton Place, Westport, Smith Falls, and, as far as Kingston and Orleans. I’m also available virtually to anyone in need.

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