I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Death Doula (Accompaniment). Questions such as whether this job has training, where, if any, which training is better.
Death Dove (Companion) means the person who supports dying people and / or their families, and yes, this job has training. There is even so much training that can surprise you. I, in the last years Turkey on this issue, I began work online. Apart from that, all of what I know now is abroad (almost all of them can be accessed online), including the trainings I received.
When I decided to take my first education, I was not sure what kind of choice I would make. First, I started to research by reading the articles of educators I came across or their posts in facebook groups. I listened to their conversation. Then I chose one of them by listening to my insight. This is how I started my journey in terms of education.
Doula is an ancient Greek word and means woman to help (service). While its use as a birth doula has an older history, its pronouncing as Death Doula has a history of about ten years. Of course, supporting dying people and / or their families is not a new job in itself, but the widespread use of hospitals for the last two hundred years, the intensifying pace of life of families and the fact that death is seen as a medical procedure has transformed / transformed this natural process into a need.
First of all, I would like to say that I do not find it a correct point of view that training should be seen as a tool that only serves those who will do Death Doula (Accompaniment) as a profession. Is there any house where death has not suffered? In our age where death and mourning are so taboo, I think we need to engage with these issues in our daily lives in order to increase our skills related to death and mourning that we will encounter sooner or later, so even if you do not intend to do this job as a profession, I see that there is a part of education that appeals to everyone.
The trainings are basically about support, but there is no specific definition of this support. We can say all kinds of support other than medical interventions. There is an education flow that is closely related to the person who teaches life, his experiences, the culture of his country and what he believes is important. This is why it is useful to research your training provider beforehand.
Some educators enrich the content of the training with more technical details, perhaps related to their own experiences / backgrounds (especially the doulas who used to be nurses). For example, they explain at length the stages of active death and describe in detail all the physical changes that the body goes through, or how we should preserve the body immediately after death. Some educators focus more on funeral options and how funeral procedures can be handled in relation to the culture of the country they live in. In summary, there is a lot of variety in the trainings provided.
In the field where I feel closer and create my work, the basis of the work is the doula itself. By this I mean, before looking at how and in what ways to support the dying person and / or his family, the doula himself has to look at his relationship to death and life. For me, Death Doula (Accompaniment) is above all an awareness exercise. It is a work one has to do with oneself. Every other issue comes secondary and after that. However, it seems as if the difficulty and depth of the work, and even its magic, stem from this. What does it mean to look at my relationship with death and life?
I once heard a story
. An old man of knowledge asked a passerby, “How are you?” A passerby said, “I owe 20,000 dirhams,” and then continued on his way. The people of the wisdom compiled and sold whatever they had, and paid the debt of the passerby. Then he said, “I will think again when asking anyone how are you?” Imam Ghazali said, “It is an order with hypocrisy to ask how you are, even though he will not worry or worry.” This story is one of the most beautiful expressions that indirectly summarize my work and the intention in my heart.
I never died, I don’t know what dying is. In the shadow of this obscurity of death, I try to coexist with my fears and approach this mystery with respect. Being willing to support those dying without working with myself and / or their families reminds me of the words of Imam Ghazali.
When asked what water is, he said, “Bring me something other than water and I’ll tell you what water is.” We, like fish, are shaped by the influence of the age in which we were born and raised, and we unwittingly form our beliefs or opinions with the effects of that age. If we were born a hundred years ago, our view of male-female relationships, the way we raise children, our relationship with money would probably be much different than today. The same goes for death. The period we live in shapes our view of death in ways we are not aware of. That’s why I start the death dollar awareness work here. It is not possible for us to establish a healthy relationship with death without knowing what effects we are under. Otherwise, it’s just repeating the cultural repertoire of this age like a parrot. Herein lies the reason why death ceased to be a natural cycle of life and turned into a monster that must be fought to the last drop of our blood. The judgments circulating in our brains do not belong to us, but to this age, and our first step is taken by being aware of these judgments. If you think that the judgments are still ingrained after you become aware of them and you have to keep them, of course, because there is a conscious choice now. Not memorizations or phrases followed on autopilot.The aftermath is deep waters. Here, ‘How to Keep Space for Someone Who’s Dying
I’m citing an earlier post called ‘
“It is important to have active (deep) listening while holding the field. You almost try to hear that person with all your being. Well, what if the deceased doesn’t want to talk at all? Maybe you’re ready to listen to hours of silence?
Even if you want to talk, not to talk,
Even if you want to move, stay still,
Denial of death – seeing denial,
To sit in a long silence,
Spending time with smells, sounds and liquids that may contain your stomach in daily life,
Leave your dramas and personal anger behind,
In any case, to keep your calm,
Are you ready?”
As the death docker, you are the most important tool in your toolbox. Knowing what this tool can do, being aware of where the screws are stuck and where they may be forced is the continuation of the work. As humans, we are not empty containers, we are not exempt from triggering and faltering. I think the most important part of this study is to know ourselves, to know where we may have difficulties, to share our experiences with other people in the studies, to ask, and to look for ways to approach ourselves with compassion in challenging times.
I think it is not possible to stay in those challenging areas without being in contact with myself, not knowing where I am triggered. I do my works with the intention of being able to feel the privilege of witnessing (not easy) from the heart of a person who is about to say goodbye to the world, to present our existence without turning into a parrot or reducing death to the level of ‘what 10 things you want to do before you die’.
Some of the other topics we covered in the study are how we talk to a dying person and / or their family, how we can allocate space for them, what might be in our toolbox, what are the stages of active death, and grief.
In my studies, I do not make an effort to beautify death or to facilitate the view to that side. Based on my own experiences, I share what is happening as it is. I always keep in mind the mastery of death and mourning, our apprenticeship. Of course, it is not correct to think that all information can be gained like a pill with just one study, because practical life itself in these matters. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t feel like education: wisdom is in the subjects, mine is an invitation to remember and share.
I cannot cite the source as I cannot remember where I listened to or read the story.