Here’s a letter I sent to a client recently. I share it here, because I think it really explains the heart of my work as a death doula.
It was good to speak with you today. Here’s a bit more about what we were talking about, so you can explain it to your siblings.
What I do is help families create the structures through which love and support can flow. In times of intense grief and pain, love is really all there is.
Mortality is just too big to face alone. We aren’t wired to be able to meet it without the support and love of our community. The challenge is that connecting with that community support can be harder to do under the pressure of a serious illness.
P’s illness puts her at the centre point of a series of concentric circles. She’s the one most impacted by what’s happening, but the other people in her life are suffering too. L, J, M are right next to her, and it moves out from there, through family, friends, and acquaintances.
When the energy is flowing well, each outer circle supports the one inside that, and so on, so that P is held in a great web of love. When there’s a break in the flow, the inner circles can get isolated. When that happens, the people closest to P don’t get supported themselves, and so they’re not as able to support her.
A serious illness or death is a powerful rite of passage for everyone involved, and the closer you are to to the centre the more intense it is. No matter what the outcome, everyone is forever changed.
Changes in the physical world can happen quickly, but the soul moves at a slower pace. Sometimes our souls need a bit of help to catch up to the outer world changes. As an external facilitator, I hold a space so that people have an opportunity to live into those changes.
Healing happens when our souls are able to integrate the challenges that life brings us. And healing can be found even in the presence of serious illness.
I know that you and your family are facing something unimaginably difficult, and something for which there is no guidebook. It may feel like more than you can bear. But love is strong, stronger than anything. And your souls know the way.
All the best,