Wisdom Wednesday and some lovely words from a client.
Lately I have been working with clients and their families for end of life and dying at home. I work with a focus on empowering clients to do as much as they can by themselves - ultimately death literacy is community knowledge, and it should never be about 'me' in the room unless I am the one dying.
On this Wisdom Wednesday I would like to share a little bit with you from a client from last week after their mum had a peaceful death at home: "Thanks for your guidance Annetta, mum died at 5pm, we were with her holding her hands and you are right, it was very special.
So very grateful to you for empowering me to believe it was possible."
When I work as an end of life doula, planner, or support person when someone is at end of life I try my best to offer a balance of availability of my own time and services, and enough information that people are confident moving forward and doing as much as possible by themselves. It is always a joy to hear from a family about a very good death, especially when I know that information sessions and a good deal of pre-need planning and support means I was not needed at the time of dying because the family had learned what they needed to do it for themselves. Not all families and friends will feel this way, and that is fine. But the lovely words expressing the family's comfort level with doing everything for their mum themselves mean a good deal to me as a professional.
After working with this family for over a year, with long periods of time between communications, the family emailed me a few months back to let me know that their mum was brought home from her aged care facility so the family could care for her during the final months of her life. Their mum loved soft toys and cuddly dolls, who were good friends to her in her advanced dementia, and the family had good quality time caring for her at end of life. I then received an email with some questions about cooling options as their mum went into active dying - I have a cold plate and massage table for rental, but Techni Ice and frozen drink bottles work just as well, so I explained all the options to the family, explained where the essential cooling needed to go as a priority under the body, and they made an informed choice for cooling (DIY frozen drink bottles). A few days later I got another email with some lovely words about how powerful the experience of having their mum at home for her final weeks and for a few days after her death had been. I think this was a very good death - mum had a peaceful death at home, surrounded by love with her beloved dolls and soft toys around her, and her husband and children holding her hands. The family had everything in place for their mum to stay home for a few days afterwards, and I am lucky enough that they let me know what a special time that had been.
I am grateful that the family has let me use their words to communicate how good their experience was. I am happy that this family had a good death for their mum, and I think I did my job right because I was not needed at all at the end. My Wisdom Wednesday takeaway this week is that when you look for an end of consultant, doula, and/or planner you choose someone who will empower you with knowledge and appropriate depth of information so that you can make your own decision about who needs to be in the room when a beloved person dies. If you would like to know more please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I am happy to help empower your better understanding of a good death.