What Even IS a Death Doula?

I held my first public + in-person Death Doula event with friend Madeleine Domingue at Red Sandcastle Theatre and I really enjoyed it! We decided to do a hybrid event where the first half was us presenting what we agree is a Death Doula’s role is (as it’s not exactly a strict definition at this time… will it ever be?), and then introduced how and why we were called to death work.

Definition is really vague on wikipedia… for a good reason!

I presented my journey, much in the same way that it was shared in the recent Canadian Business article:

A Wave of Start-ups Are Disrupting the $2-Billion Funeral Industry
By Rosemary Counter

Then we went into an Q + A and open discussion around death, inspired by Death Cafés. Sharing resources and stories is a helpful act in my humble opinion! I added more resources to my Death Doula page here on my website inspired by what we discussed. I’m looking forward to hosting another event like this one in the future at Red Sandcastle Theatre! I like the format we used with a topic exploration then open discussion and room to field general thoughts and queries around death and dying.

Here is the presentation on What even IS a Death Doula? (PDF)

And the video of the presentation I made: https://youtu.be/D9SvPysO9GY

What Even is a Death Doula? + Death Café

What Even is a Death Doula? + Death Café


What Even is a Death Doula? + Death Café

February 26th, 2023 from 2-4PM at Red Sandcastle Theatre, 922 Queen St E, Toronto

What even is a Death Doula? Have you heard about the #deathpositive movement? Ever attended a Death Café? Join Adrianna and Madeleine in discussing death, dying, and end of life planning to take the taboo out of talking about death.

Limited to 20 participants

2PM – 3PM: Meet a Death Doula
Hear from Adrianna Prosser and Madeleine Domingue about their practice as End of Life Companions; brief introduction as to how they got into death work and death education with a Q+A.

3PM – 4PM: Death Café
An open forum discussion of death with no agenda, no objectives, and no particular themes. This is a discussion group rather than a grief support group or counselling session. Chat or just listen!

*Donations to the space are welcome, but this is a free event

Up to 20 participants only, please RSVP to save your spot for free:

RSVP: https://forms.gle/4d9gmzQCSM1tcgTH7
**This is masked event, the policy of the theatre is to wear a face mask that covers the nose and chin inside the theatre at all times


Meet the Death Doulas

Adrianna Prosser

Adrianna lost her brother to suicide in 2010 and his death propelled her into a journey of understanding grief and bereavement. She became a suicide prevention trainer, and has her applied suicide intervention skills training (ASIST), of which she has provided workshops across Ontario and Quebec. In 2019/2020 she companioned her friend Roberta with terminal cancer by escorting her around the world to complete her ‘bucket list’ before she died. Continuing her death education, she has her Grief Literacy certificates with Being Here, Human; as well as a certificate from Douglas College as an End of Life Doula. She went on to train with Hospice Toronto and completed over 40 hours of their core companion training as well as their bereavement and grief support worker training and is currently a volunteer Hospice Companion and Grief Support Worker with them.


Madeleine Domingue

At the age of 22, Madeleine witnessed a suicide of a stranger by gunshot. She stayed with him until he died, holding his hand. As you can imagine, it was life changing. After losing both her parents in the span of a year and a half, it was hard for her not to notice the sincere lack of death care in the system. She promptly, (and naively) became a PSW thinking she could change things from that angle. Getting frustrated, she went to ITM graduating from the Contemplative End of Life Care program, was asked to join the Dying Well Collective, hosted and participated in a considerable number of death cafes, trained and volunteered at Kensington Hospice, got certificates Grief Literacy with Being Here, Human and was a co-founder of the Ontario Death Cohort. Madeleine’s work as a Certified Dementia Care Provider has been blended with her end-of-life care to provide compassion and education. It has been an honour for her to serve the many families she has and be part of this ever growing, whispering deathcare movement.


For more information about this global movement to help people become more comfortable speaking about death and dying, visit their website www.deathcafe.com.


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.

Dead end ahead

Dead end ahead

This year marked the ten year deathaversary of my dear brother Andrew’s suicide in November. You may know that I created a one-woman show to help digest my grief through storytelling and resource sharing in Everything But the Cat… which I also wrote about on my mental health and suicide prevention blog on tumblr. I have hung up the show and put it into archive digitally on YouTube, so if you ever wanted to see it but it wasn’t up on stage now you can see it:

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.

Happy holidays and I hope this finds you smiling.

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