FAQ: "Does 'end of life consultant' mean you *cough* kill people??!"
Happy Sunday Gentle Reader - today we were out on a Cully walk, and I have car magnets that advertise my business and a nurse one car over asked me if my job is about euthanasia.
No. Absolutely not. But let me tell you what it does mean.
This is one of the most common questions I get asked, especially when people see my business name before they meet me, and I actually like having the opportunity to explain all my services.
Plus, I get a chance to offer people a business card or invite them to photograph my car magnet which has my contact details.
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 at all with clients who have selected voluntary assisted dying (VAD) as I do not live in a state of Australia that permits this (although Tasmania's government will probably pass the relevant bill next month and we will have VAD from 2023 all going well).
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.