The most important role of anyone who companions the dying, is to provide comfort, support and reassurance, to both them and their loved ones. Holding the space so that all wishes can be fulfilled, conversations can be had and a good ending is experienced by all.
‘A good death is an extraordinary, moving and sacred experience. It can also have a healing quality, not only for the person who is involved but their families, friends and the wider community.’ (Felicity Warner, Gentle Dying)
What is Soul Midwifery
Felicity Warner (my teacher) pioneered the idea of soul midwives more than 20 years ago, after working with hundreds of patients. Alongside medical treatment, she could see how much people at the end of life benefited from gentle, tender, loving care, companionship and deep listening. Soul midwifery combines holistic and spiritual approaches to honor the ‘whole’ person.
What are Soul Midwives?
Soul Midwives regard every dying person in their care as if he, or she is the most important person in the world. All are cared for as if they are a cherished friend or family member. A Soul Midwife has the skills, time and specialist knowledge of the dying process to make a huge difference at the end of life. They can offer a large range of therapies, to soothe and reassure, and are skilled advocates and advisors. They are non- denominational in their pastoral support, and encourage deep conversation with love and dignity. Their work may start from the time of diagnosis and continue until the final day of life, always encouraging living fully until the end.
- listen, provide gentle therapeutic techniques and ensure compassionate care at all times
- work holistically with both the spirit and the soul of the dying person
- keep a loving vigil
- create and hold a sacred and healing space for the dying person
- recognise and support the individual needs of the departing soul to enable a tranquil death
- use sound, touch, colour and smell and other gentle techniques to help alleviate pain and anxiety
- support families and loved ones.
Full Qualification in Soul Midwifery – November 2018
Certificate – Cultivating Mindfulness and Awareness in end of life care – November 2018. Spiritual care program
Certificate – Deep Listening Intensive – Rosamond Oliver – October 18
Memory box work
Creating memory boxes can be a creative and therapeutic way of coming to terms with mortality. The process of making the box can be an opportunity to tie up loose ends and reflect on a life lived. Leaving behind this special gift for a loved one, can be an enriching and supportive way to help guide those you leave behind. Each session is individually tailored to the needs of the participant, with plenty of time for conversation and sharing of ideas of what is important. It usually takes four sessions to complete a box, but there are no hard and fast rules about the pace at which we go. Each session will last an hour and costs £30. On booking the participant can decide when and where.
Finding the right words to say, can often be an emotional and difficult task. I offer this service to be a supportive companion, to help ease the path to help find the right words. Saying goodbyes, can fill us with anxiety and dread, but having the opportunity to do so is a wonderful gift. In this day of technology, a letter has a permanence about it. It can be held, and re-read over and over again. If you are someone who finds it hard to vocalise your feelings, putting them down in a letter can be the perfect opportunity to say everything you want to say providing a vital part of healing for both the letter writer and for the reader. Each Session will last an hour and cost £30. On booking the Participant can decide when and where.
When we approach a threshold in our lives, whether it is death, divorce or diagnosis, we often experience an overwhelming grief that changes our out look on life. For each of us this is experienced on a deeply personal level. Some say that grief never goes away, it is something that you learn to live with. For some it can prevent a ‘moving on’ a stasis that can keep one ‘stuck’ in the past. Devising and experiencing a Blessing can be a away of acknowledging difficult feelings and emotions . Honouring and acknowledging our fears alongside reminding ourselves of our strengths can be a healing experience that can create space for the future. Preliminary session is 1hour £40, the Blessing ceremony £30.
Last February 2018, I wrote a proposal to my local hospice (where I am a volunteer, but not in a SM role). In that proposal, I recommended introducing Soul Midwives as a supportive role to an already dynamic and busy team…. I am still waiting to hear a response? I can only conclude from their silence, that the role of a Soul Midwife in a hospice context, is something that they are finding a challenge? Is it because it does not fit into the Trust’s ethos or medical model? Does the word ‘Soul’ create a barrier between medical and non medical care practices? I am interested in creating a discussion on these points. My aim this year is to build resilience against resistance… Sometimes it takes time to change attitudes and fear based responses.
I have discovered there are more than a handful of us SM in the Norfolk area….If you are interested in meeting us and finding out more, we will be at the Forum in Norwich for Dying matters week 2019…. Hope to see you there.
For any further information please contact me via my contact page.
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