Hello Gentle Reader – today Cully and I were out, and I have car magnets on the sides of my car advertising my business. A nurse pulled in beside us, read my signage and asked if my work was with euthanasia.

No. Absolutely not. But I get this question a lot – and I actually like having the opportunity to explain all my services. So let me explain what an end of life consultant does do.

A picture of the GDEP car magnets "Gentle Death Education and Planning 0412702833 info@gdep.com.au gdep.com.au Dr Annetta Mallon Advance Planning Psychotherapy End of Life Doula Trainning
I like these magnets – people often photograph them because my phone number and email address are on here. They are a great mobile business card!

Designed by Jessica Harkins of Six Onions design, I think the wording on here is pretty clear about what I do, and what the general range of services are that I provide. However, if you only read the business name, I can sort of see how there might be some confusion about precisely what it is I do…

Hubs laughs about how many people actually look at me – white curly hair, big grin and all – and think I actively help people to end their own lives. I did not think about this part of my Gentle Death Education and Planning business name when I created it, but it has turned out to be a genuinely interesting ice-breaker. I’ve had some lovely conversations with people, encouraged them to find out more about their end of life options, choices, and rights, and gotten some wonderful clients.

This is Dr Annetta Mallon, a woman with a big smile and white curly hair. She is rolling her eyes up to the left and a colourful scarf around her neck.
Honestly, I get ‘that’ question’ a LOT, and this is generally my first response: a half smile and a laughing eye roll before I explain about the support and advocacy I do offer.

So – let me state now, in case you did not know already, that I only act within the parameters of relevant local, state, and federal laws, and I act in a non-medical set of roles. None of this permits me to assist someone to die faster or unnaturally.

I am not currently involved with clients who have selected voluntary assisted dying (VAD), although Tasmania’s government has passed the VAD bill and we will have VAD from October 2023 and I expect in-person work to begin in earnest. I am not currently working long-distance with anyone who is legally accessing VAD for themselves at this point in time either, but if I were I would be acting as a support, sounding board, companion and listener. No intervention to hasten death is ever, or would be ever, taken by me. That’s not what I do.

What I do offer includes support, advocacy, information and networking to help people plan their end of life and live better. I have specialist therapy skills for complex grief, traumatic grief, disenfranchised grief, PTSD and injury/trauma recovery; I work a lot with those exposed to violent and unexpected death, or the deaths that were complicated by childhood issues or an inability to express grief healthily over time. I help people create legacy and memorial projects. I plan funerals and am a funeral celebrant. I sit with the dying and we are silent or have conversations that are directed by clients and the people closest to them. I offer cold plate rental for home funerals and after-death body care and ritual if that is what a family/community wants. I help form compassionate communities around those who are dying or caregivers to the dying. I do a fair whack of public education talks.

In other words, I work across the full spectrum of non-medical end of life roles. I hope this helps clarify what it is that I do.