So much has changed in the field of death and dying practices, from legislation, to funeral options, to home care. In order to keep our readers in touch with these changes, we are inviting guests to contribute to our blog and share their expertise. We're delighted to welcome Barb Phillips to our website, to introduce us to the role of Community Deathcare Practioners. This is a growing practice wherein compassionate and trained individuals educate, guide and assist families to navigate the continuum of care before, during and after death.
Community Deathcare Practioners: believing dying and death are a natural and normal part of life.
What a great honour it is via Laura and Glenda’s blog, to introduce to many readers the relatively new vocation of a Community Deathcare Practitioner in Canada and the myriad of services this role can entail.
I am so appreciative of what Laura and Glenda have created and produced as a Canadian resource document, to house our thoughts, wishes and personal information in one booklet so those we entrust to complete our end of living plans will have a comprehensive and manageable tool to assist them.
Opening conversations about our dying and death time with those who will be caring for us when needed, is one of the most difficult tasks we as a North American culture undertake.
As an addendum to what the Exit Planner offers my hope is that what I will be speaking to will be valuable information and a resource to augment and support your end of living advance health care plans as well as informing you about the rights of families to conduct your own home based death care, vigil and transportation of your deceased without the assistance, if you so wish, of a funeral home.
Under the Canadian Deathcare Practitioner title lies subtitles if you will, that describe various roles we as practitioners can fulfill. ie: Thanadoula, Death Doula, Death Midwife, Soul Midwife, Home Funeral Guide, Psychopomp, Transition Guide etc.
For myself, Thanadoula/Home Funeral Guide/Life-Cycle Celebrant are the titles to describe how I support others to become more conscious and engaged in pre-post death care and to help minimize fearfulness about dying and death and invite individuals to become more connected to real life.
In simple terms Thanadoula means “ one who serves the dying”.
The Thanadoula role has been introduced in response to families and individuals increasing need to information, knowledge and skills; and the decrease in the number of educators and counsellors who are trained in end of living care. Thanadoula’s are relationally based educators who offer counsel based on family values, beliefs and practices.
A Thanadoula accepts death, dying and grief as normal and healthy components of life and as such models a willingness to bring presence to those areas that our deeply death denying culture would otherwise have us avoid.
Services can include but are not limited to:
Five years ago we published Exit: The Life and Death Planner and now we’ve launched a new website. In the last few years our book has reached clients from California to Toronto, from Australia to England. We’ve had the opportunity to give presentations to seniors groups and we’ve participated in educational seminars and conferences. Along the way we’ve met wonderful people and learned more about the subject of organizing ones affairs and planning for difficult times.
In the next year, we hope to invite experts in various areas to contribute their thoughts and expertise to our blog because this topic is huge, and there is always new information on the subject of Death and Dying. Indeed, since we published, Canadian federal law has changed, and those facing imminent death now have the right to doctor assisted death. Also, when we wrote the book, we were unaware of the services of thanadoulas, end-of-life transition guides. We hope our blogs will give us an opportunity to fill in some of these missing pieces and update the public.
We love hearing from you. Please continue to write and tell us about your own experiences. Meanwhile, we wish you a fruitful, peaceful New Year.
Glenda & Laura