We live in a culture that is in a constant state of denial regarding our own personal deaths. Few care to seriously think about this inevitability and even fewer are comfortable talking about it. All the while we are obsessed with images and stories of the deaths of others - in the news, in movies, on TV, in books and in video gaming. We value youthful appearance and hide the signs of our own aging. We warehouse our elderly. Until the mid 19th century in this country, families cared for their own dying and dead loved ones, and wakes for the deceased took place in the home. Burials took place on private property or in church and public cemeteries. Embalming began as a way to preserve dead Civil War soldiers so they could be transported back home from far away battle fields. Embalming soon caught on among the general public, and the modern mortuary industry began. Today there is a growing movement to return choice to families who would like to care for their own dead, hold home funerals and choose greener body disposition alternatives. The recent rise of Death Midwifery is in response to this folkway tradition of caring for our own dying and dead loved ones.
To provide holistic, non-medical, spiritual, emotional, and practical support for those who are dying and their loved ones.
No one should die alone.
Death is not the opposite of life. Death is the opposite of birth. Just as a Birth Midwife can assist in bringing one safely into the world, a Death Midwife can ease one's transition out of the familiar world.
Death is transformation. Meaning is discovered and created. Tranquil bliss is your essence.
You can benefit from a compassionate companion on your journey into the depths of Mystery described by some as being welcomed into the embrace of the Love-light.*
As a Death Midwife, I am here to honor the dignity of your dying process by creating and holding sacred space with you, appreciating and celebrating your uniqueness and interconnectedness with all that is, and by offering you unconditional love and compassionate companionship whether you are dying at home, in a hospital or a long-term care facility. By offering spiritual, emotional and practical support to you and your loved ones, I hope to facilitate a gentle and peaceful death experience.
I can offer guidance on:
-completing your advance directives (legal documents)
-your rights and options when encountering the funeral industry
I can make referrals for:
-low cost and green(er) body disposition
I have received certification as a Death Midwife through the Earth Ministries Training Program in partnership with DeathMidwife.com I have since obtained 18 Continuing Education credit hours in Thanatology from ADEC. I have 13 years of experience serving the needs of those who are dying. I have accompanied people dying from AIDS, ALS, Cancer, and Dementia. I have hospice volunteer experience and am currently working as a Certified Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aide. I am insured for professional liability through EMPA.
Initial Consultation/Intake (up to 2 hours) - $60 + travel @ 54 cents per mile
Companion Visits - $30 per hour + travel @ 54 cents per mile
Vigil - $30 per hour, two hour increments minimum + travel @ 54 cents per mile
Post-passage Visit - $30 per hour + travel @ 54 cents per mile
What happens during a Companion visit?
Listening, sharing, reminiscing, soul* exploration-including fears about dying, simple aromatherapy, foot and hand rubs, silence, reading, music, meditation, guided imagery, prayer, legacy work, planning a living wake, planning a vigil, planning a home funeral, and more.
What happens during a vigil?
Gathering of loved ones around the bed of the actively dying person in expectation of the final breath as well as the holding of sacred space afterward . There may be singing, readings, heart-felt sharing, saying goodbye, crying, hand-holding, anointing, prayer, kisses, music and, perhaps most importantly, sacred silence.
What if the dying person is an agnostic or atheist?
The person's beliefs or lack thereof are always respected and honored as the truth of their lives. Whatever inspires the person is what is sacred, be that science, nature, philosophy, art, music, relationships, pets, etc.
Are home funerals allowed in Indiana?
Yes, but a licensed Funeral Director must arrange for the transport and final disposition of the deceased as well as filing the Death Certificate. There is no law requiring embalming in the state of Indiana. Funeral arrangements are made by the legally designated person as determined beforehand by the deceased or by family members in succession as defined by state law. Anyone may officiate a funeral service.
What happens during a post-passage visit?
Assessment of client's loved ones' "new normal" and an opportunity for processing. There may be reminiscing, expression of things left unsaid to the deceased, discussion of the importance of self-care, coping strategies, and feedback to companion on his time spent with client and loved ones.
*Love-Light is an expression used by some who have had near-death experiences to describe something which may or may not exist independent of the mind. (Thanks to Tim Freke for introducing me to this term.)
*Soul is used here to represent that which lies at the core of our humanity where we are inextricably connected and united in the universal experiences of suffering, joy, pain and love. It does not necessarily refer to an aspect of our being which may or may not exist before or after our physical body dies. (Thanks to Francesca Lynn Arnoldy for this definition.)