Legacy Matters Episode 14: What is a Death Doula?
Last week we had the pleasure of having a guest on our podcast who is a Death Doula in Minnesota. The idea of a Death Doula was admittedly a completely foreign concept to me. Katie Uphus is as thoughtful and articulate a person as you would ever hope to meet. Her motivations are pure and her expression of thought is clear and approachable. Katie allowed an opening for me to consider things I have and have not done in relation to my own certain end. Over the course of a couple hours in our little studio she managed to open my mind to concepts locked deep in my inner dialogue.
I understand the need for planning. It is an integral part of my daily business activities. Without planning and forethought my business suffers greatly. And so what of my life? Why have I not put as much thought and effort into the planning of the rest of my life. I am full of the usual hubris we humans possess. I just don’t foresee my eventual end.
For the entirety of the time we were with Katie my mind was churning. I am not preoccupied with death. Jim and Sarah have a corner on that market. I am always amused with their thoughts on life, death and the possibilities of an afterlife. But I don’t allow much time in my own thoughts for such things. Yet during our conversation, and especially since this brief encounter, I have thought a lot about what it would be like to plan for a world without me in it. I hope to live well. I struggle to live well. I work. And now I understand that I must think about how to die well. By that I mean that I must think about some of the pre-planning required to have at least some of the circumstances around my death and the short period after that event be dictated by me own will and desires. I have even thought of the origin of the word “will”. I always thought of a “will” as a document rather than an extension of me expressing my particular “will” around the outcome of my death. It is not something easy to talk about, but thanks to Katie and her training and compassion, it seems a bit less daunting thing to ponder.