It’s been quite the journey to becoming (or realizing I’m) a Death Doula. I have had great training and resources through Hospice Toronto, continue to read and challenge myself with certifications and death education. But its been 2 years to the day since I applied for the End of Life Doula course and I keep finding meaningful moments that propel me forward on this path.
Just today I started with a new client who at the end of our phone conversation said, “Wow, this really helped, thank you for taking my call, I just really needed to talk to someone.” And sometimes it’s just that simple: being open to receiving another person’s story. Really listening and validating their experience. Other times its starting a discussion or sparking a debate on my TikTok about being a Death Doula – this time about the “tissue issue” and whether or not to give tissues to someone who is having a crying moment (as an act of mourning). And sometimes it’s me expressing my grief and end of life care journey for my loved ones through storytelling to help me process my grief journey and finding community. TikTok has been such a big part of my journey thus far!
With over 5k followers, I am finding like minded people and those who are curious about the death positive movement:
The more I do this, the more I find myself sharing stories and listening to other peoples stories and connecting through them – that’s the heart of or at least the focus of my doula practice. My training as an actor and playwright/English Minor in University has served me in ways I couldn’t foresee 20 years ago. What a neat evolution!
So looking forward to 2023, I already have a Doula To Do List! I am remaining curious and seeing where this path takes me.
Moving forward I am taking my skills of storytelling and putting them on TikTok as @ladydeathdoula as I start my certification as a Death Doula end of life caregiver in the new year. Combined with my years of suicide prevention and intervention training, and recently my grief literacy training, plus lived experience – I hope I can continue to be a resource for people who are dealing with loss and death.
With the pandemic putting a pause on the entertainment industry indefinitely, this seems like a good time to pause and reflect and do some work behind the scenes is it were. This is what I am doing. I still have my new agent trying to help me get voice overs, I am still producing and marketing Eldritch Theatre (we just had a great digital theatre experience/experiment!) and I just finished my term at Centennial College for the Museum Curatorial Management program – but in the new year when most all of those things hit pause until next fall I have something to lean into that fuels me forward.
First, the photo above was taken by Joanna Haughton as part of her Strength in Vulnerability photo-series. Here is what she wanted to share about it:
Strength in Vulnerability. The moments of our greatest strength are those we are most vulnerable. We think strength is hard, but it isn’t. That’s weakness. Strength is found when we are broken, when we let all our defenses down, and find that after everything we still stand, love, and live.
I started this series a couple years ago. Finding people willing to be totally open has been hard. But I feel this needs to be shared and can’t wait anymore.
I thought it a fitting day – Suicide Prevention Day to start to share this series. Because we all need help sometimes, we all need love, and support. And sometimes we don’t have the strength to do it alone.
I am happy to share my story in hopes it will help others through Stories Like Crazy, my co-hosted mental health podcast with Lori Lane Murphy. I live with anxiety and situational depression each year November hits as that was the date when my brother took his life in 2010. Each year I find new ways of managing and dealing with the anniversary of his death, and each year I try to spread awareness and resources so others can be alert to suicide in their community. So today of all days I would like to give you places to learn from and lean on when dealing with suicide:
I am planning on a safeTALK workshop in November to commemorate Andrew’s passin; let me know if you would like to be notified (in comments below) as I have about 12 spots this time around. Time and location TBA – but definitely in Toronto and most likely November 19th.
It’s ok to not be okay, but it’s also okay to ask for help. 💚