Offering empowering, meaningful, conscious and connected support for dying, death and after death care.
My philosophy is very simple – we are all united in our humanity, we all face the same trials, challenges, losses and heartbreak. My approach is therefore all-inclusive, honouring all ages, races, cultures, religions, and beliefs.
I offer services that are compassionate, person centred, non judgemental and non medical.
I see that the existing medical model does not offer an inclusive role in our communities, providing service to a specific demographic, that is our terminally ill, the dying, their care-givers and families. At present there are various specialists available in the form of health care professionals, volunteers, social workers and counsellors involved in palliative care, as well as specialised medical staff and chaplains (for spiritual/pastoral care). There are also obviously numerous funeral directors and funeral celebrants who look after the needs of families either prior to death (with pre-planned funerals) or once the person is deceased. My End of Life Guide or Death Doula role exists to provide support and counsel once someone is actively living with a life limiting or terminal condition, assisting across all areas of need. This role I see as the bridge between health care (medical) and death care (funeral industry).
I’m sure we would all acknowledge that western society shrouds the dying process in mystery and does not actively encourage families to take a primary role in engaging in their own preparation or in a hands-on role to care for their loved ones. The traditional home vigils and family care of the dying and deceased prevalent in the past are rarely undertaken today. The funeral industry tends to perpetuate this belief, that only the ‘specialists’ can oversee the process and largely direct options.
There is no doubt that the reality of a terminal diagnosis instigates fear, powerlessness and questions. Empowering people to take an active role in their own death allows them to regain control by being informed, talking openly about their situation and making important decisions for self. My role is not actively involved in pain management, medicating or medical interventions, though may support the client with establishing a personalised medical directives plan. Orthodox medicine tends to focus primarily on the physical cause of illness and equates success to the outcome of physical interventions and established treatments. There is clearly a need for emotional, spiritual and practical acceptance and preparedness – with the balance of a person’s needs addressed there is movement towards ensuring a positive dying experience for the client, that which is often referred to as a ‘good death’.
At this time there are also significant benefits resulting from facilitating open dialogue which can break down barriers between people and communicate genuine needs to carers and family members. Unrestricted honest discussion can determine needs/wants/desires for the remaining time and for the funeral service. A quality of life can be identified and fostered, whilst the dying person takes an active role in preparing for their death.
VARIOUS SUPPORT SERVICES ON OFFER:
COUNSELLING - QUALITY OF LIFE AND GRIEF AND LOSS
I can provide experienced counsel on quality of life issues. This often involves determining and implementing ways to ensure the focus remains on creating fulfillment in the remaining passage of ‘living'. I specialise also in grief and loss counselling, utilising practical and tangible methods to assist with the bereavement process. This includes anticipatory grief, prior to the death of a loved one. I offer unique grief processes and tools, including grief conversations and release rituals.
ROSTERS AND RESPITE
I can assist with organisation of weekly schedules, respite, practical and emotional support for care-givers. This also includes assisting with setting up a safe, practical and reverent space at home to meet the needs of the dying person.
FAMILY COMMUNICATION AND MEDIATION
This can involve facilitating meetings with family members/loved ones to communicate the dying person’s needs. I can act as a potential mediator or support person in meetings and discussion, including breaking bad news conversations.
FINISHING UP TASKS
This aspect involves assisting you with finalising your life, commonly referred to as ‘getting your affairs in order’. These tasks can be both practical and emotional, eg ensuring all relevant personal, legal and digital information is collated and accessible; identifying unresolved personal issues and facilitating healing conversations and/processes. I can assist with the creation of personalised messages and keepsakes for family, including video and digital messages.
This is like spending time with a compassionate and supportive friend. This role is not in any way clinical, but provides an empathetic ear, someone to debrief with, someone to talk through ever evolving issues and concerns with.
This term, to vigil, from the Latin vigilia meaning wakefulness, is a period of purposeful sleeplessness, an occasion for devotional watching, or an observance. My role is to walk beside you in the remaining days or hours approaching death, as a companion, an engaged presence, a support to the needs of your and your family. This is generally known as ‘holding space’ and ensures you are never alone in this phase of transition.
FUNERAL PLAN CONSIDERATIONS
I can assist with completing your wishes and directives in relation to all aspects of funeral planning or Memorial Services. As an ex funeral director, I can outline possibilities and options outside of the ‘conventional’ existing scope to ensure your farewell is personalised and relevant to you.
I can offer options in regards to post death care and explain processes available as well as potential costs (ways to reduce costs or undertake meaningful roles themselves), eg washing and dressing your loved one; home viewings; alternate funeral locations and venues; D.I.Y funerals; personalisation of coffins; creation of a Memorial Service. I can assist with understanding the various options including burials, green burials, cremation and Aquamation (Alkaline Hydrolysis).
CREATE AND DELIVER PERSONALISED RITUALS
I can work with you to create meaningful end of life rituals to assist with the releasing process and the grieving process, for example creating and facilitating a living wake, making/decorating your own coffin; making candles; writing farewell letters and cards for future life events; facilitating memorial service in meaningful location; creating personalised release, surrender and blessing rituals.
FUNERAL CELEBRANT ROLE
As an experienced funeral celebrant, I am available to conduct unique bespoke services, both funeral and Memorial services. My services are non denominational and in complete alignment with your needs and expectations. Together we will plan and deliver a service that honours your loved one and reflects their unique life.
PROVISION OF HOLISTIC CARE AND CONNECTIONS
I can provide access to a range of complementary options for you, or liaise with other professionals (traditional or holistic) on your behalf to offer various modalities, eg kinesiology, massage, reiki, meditation, guided imagery, art and music therapy, house clearings.
I can assist you in creative and expressive endeavours to facilitate meaning making and address legacy issues, eg conduct a life review, complete journaling, create digital messages for others, document significant life events – providing opportunities to preserve your life story.
Each relationship and dynamic is unique and largely guided by the families I serve. Whilst I have had significant experience in being with those who are dying, for my families this is their whole world, their individual experience, the first time they have experienced their process. Any support and care plan will be determined on an individual basis and formulated in direct consultation with my client and family.
Please contact Lisa direct for confirmation of service charges. Charges vary according to specific needs:
Complimentary initial phone conversation (15-20 minutes) to discuss and determine needs.
Reduced fee for initial face to face consultation.
Hourly fee charged for specific services thereafter (needs determined after initial consultation and comprehensive evaluation).
Fixed fee for funeral celebrant services.
Fixed fee for other tailored rituals eg memorial service; a living wake; viewings.
Tailored packages for extended services (regular meetings, personalised inclusions, in home care and vigiling over a period of time).
Call out fee for after hours.
After hours phone contact available by prior arrangement.