Death is a natural and sacred part of all life. As we are all born, so too we will all die one day. Yet death is a topic we would prefer to ignore, an action that often leaves us feeling somewhat unprepared when we experience the loss of a loved one, a pet, or even our own mortality.
For thousands of years indigenous cultures have supported the practice of people staying in their homes to die, looked after by family and community. Our modern Western society tends to favour engaging nursing homes and aged care facilities, which often encourage feelings of isolation, limited choices and even opportunities for all involved, resulting in death becoming a somewhat lonely and often sombre “medicalised” experience. (Australian Doula College)
It does not need to be this way.
Frances Billinghurst, the principal therapist at the Isian Centre of Metaphysics is a certified Death Walker, trained by Zenith Virago from the Natural Death Care Centre. According to the Centre, a Death Walker is someone who accompanies the dying and the bereaved throughout their journey of transition.
* Caring for and being with the dying (doula work)
* Making necessary funeral arrangements (if required)
* Attending to appropriate legal paperwork (if required)
* Offering support for the bereaved
* Preparing and delivering an appropriate ceremony, ritual and Rite of Passage (if required)
* Liaising with the family to ensure that the wishes of the deceased are upheld as accurately as possible
and performing whatever other duties are required in order to assist all through this process.
Interesting links about understanding and talking about the dying process:
- Being Mortal (PBS, America) – video
- Death Cafes – web site linking to international meetups where people gather to discuss death and dying
- Death Doula – article “Why I choose to sit with people as they die”
- End of Life Doulas – article about End of Life doula Helen Callanan (from Australian Doula College)
- Making Dying Easier – article
- Zen and the Art of Dying – a documentary project by filmmaker Broderick Fox that focuses on Deathwalker, Zenith Virago, who challenges core assumptions about life and dissolves taboos around death along the way.
With over 20 years experience within the legal profession, as a Death Walker Frances can offer you legal, practical and emotional information and resources in order to guide and empower you, ensuring that you know what your options are, enabling you to make informed choices and even help craft a ceremony and Rite of Passage that reflect your wishes and help move into an easier bereavement.
If you would like to meet with Frances to discuss engaging her as a Death Walker then please contact her below: