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Natural Awakenings Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley, CT

Life, Death and the Moments in Between

by Barbara Slaine and Sue Broudy

Who wants to talk about death, right? We are living, so why broach such a morbid, uncomfortable subject? By discussing it, many things are accomplished. First and foremost is the immediate reflection and appreciation for life, living, the moment, death as the great equalizer, what we all have in common, a slap to the ego and a dose of medicinal humility. 

Not unlike a birth doula, it is possible for us to learn to be a death doula and make this transition much more comfortable. We are alive until our last breath, and every moment is an opportunity; there is no dying, we live and leave.

Born out of a deep desire to honor and respect the needs of individuals and their families during this time, a new program, “Illuminate the Path,” draws upon a number of modalities that train, educate and open the conversation. These conversations, or “conscious collaborations,” lead us to an awareness of options and choices for a more enriched and graceful passage.

Research has shown 95 percent of people would choose to die at home, surrounded by their loved ones, but, sadly, 75 percent die in hospitals or nursing homes. There is a need to present options for this time, so that the human experience of dying is met with reverence, grace and integrity for all.

Patients and their families need to get their affairs in order, learn about their options, participate and take responsibility, choose the right health care proxies and much more. It is recommended to learn what is helpful at this time for yourself and loved ones. Start exploring how to be in the moment, now and then. Be aware of just being and not doing, and respecting the wishes and differences of others.

By discussing transitioning, you can plan ahead, so at the end chaos is replaced by being present with loved ones at the sacred time. The ripple effect of a loved one’s transitioning can be a beacon for you, offering a level of peace instead of fear.

Barbara Slaine and Sue Broudy are hospice workers, end-of-life doulas and energy workers. To learn more about their Illuminate the Path program, or for an exploratory conversation, consults, home visits, groups and educational opportunities, call 203-912-2791.

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