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.
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.
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.