What is a death doula?
As long as humans have been dying, others have been supporting that journey. Death doulas provide non-medical support for those at the end of life as well as for their loved ones. It might be helping getting affairs in order, helping choose funeral homes or planning other arrangements, educating the family about the dying process, or holding space for all the feelings that come with this big transition. There is such sacred beauty that comes at the end of life but it's hard to be present for that when there are so many other things happening. Death doulas are holistic guides that help approach death with compassion, dignity, and peace.
Death Awareness Workshops
Hannah hosts death awareness workshops in person and online to bring the conversations about death and dying out of the typical places like hospitals and grief groups and into our general awareness. We talk about every aspect of living - our hobbies, our values, our relationships, our jobs - yet the one thing we all have in common is also universally avoided. Practicing death awareness can bring us into balance with this natural part of the cycle. We can reduce our anxiety, move towards acceptance, and find more gratitude in our day to day living. By embracing dying we can learn to live more fully.
Hannah is a National End of Life Doula Alliance (NEDA) certified death doula in Los Angeles. Her interest in death care is the result of being raised in a death-positive household, a desire to live a more examined life, and various experiences volunteering with those at the end of life. She's held a lifelong commitment to exploring not just the light, but the darker parts of oneself. She brings warmth and curiosity to especially difficult situations and hopes that you'll allow her to guide you in this deep and meaningful work.
"This was a really beautiful, and refreshingly candid, exploration into thinking about these end of life topics."
"The session was so informative and transformative even. I loved diving into this sensitive subject with a subject matter expert and a supportive community."
"I felt uncomfortable and a bit scared at times, but Hannah really held space for the group and there was plenty of time for sharing and processing feelings. The main takeaway I left with is that I'm living a life of no regrets, which is more than anyone can ask for."
Death, like life, varies from person to person and your experience should be tailored to fit your needs and values.
There will always be things to take care of at the end of life, but by hiring a death doula to hold space, advocate
and handle the logistics, valuable time can be spent focusing on gratitude, presence, and ease.
Most clients choose a combination of services so during our consultation we can figure out which option is best for you.
There is value in having another person bedside who is not bringing their own relationship history and bias to the situation. These visits include education on the dying process and offer a chance to check in emotionally, spiritually, and logistically. They can include reviewing legacy projects, gentle massage, or simply sitting vigil and honoring the power of the moment.
If you could plan your perfect death, what would it look like? Who would be there? (Maybe there are people you don't want present.) Would there be singing or storytelling or just silence? I can make phone calls, curate playlists, and do what's in my power to create the ideal dying experience with who and what is desired. For all the things we can't control, I'll focus on the things we can.
After-death Care of the Body
We used to tend to our dead in the home and we've strayed away from that in the last few centuries and turned those responsibilities over to the funeral industry. It is perfectly safe and legal to care for the dead at home, and it's an incredibly healing way to honor and care for them one last time. Whether they chose to be buried or cremated, you can take your time to wash them, dress them, and adorn their bodies or caskets.
Funeral and Burial Advocate
Whether it's a traditional funeral and burial, a green burial, fire cremation, water cremation, human composting or burial at sea, the celebration of life and body disposition can be as unique and personal as the person who died. There is no one version that is better than another as long as it is true to them. Once priorities and values are clear, I can be the point person to shop around or plan what's needed so the family isn't drawn into unnecessary marketing tactics.
Follow Up Support
Unfortunately, after the funeral or other ceremonies, folks seem to get back to their lives and it can be a lonely and isolating time for those in bereavement. While I am not a counselor therapist, I'll be there to check in long after the meal train has ended and the phone has stopped ringing because the healing journey never ends.
What are you willing to do to die the way you want to die?
- Joan Halifax
End of Life Planning Review
Death will inevitably come with overwhelming feelings but folks who have their affairs in order can transition knowing they answered all the tough questions so their loved ones don't have to. We'll cover advance directives and choose a power of attorney, decide on body disposition and discuss funeral plans, and everything in between. This
is a chance to advocate for yourself and show others what your life meant.