With Halloween having recently passed, I thought it might be a good time to explore a subject that is often relegated to the realms of the 'spooky'.
Death is a topic that most of us try to avoid discussing, and sometimes it is difficult to find appropriate language to use when we decide it is time to talk about this with our families or those closest to us, that doesn't sound too morbid.
When someone is very sick, or deep into their winter years it is often a topic that cannot and should not be avoided, but discussing death and our wishes and needs when the time comes sometimes feels like we are inviting bad luck or tempting fate. This can unfortunately discourage people from being able to make their wishes known.
My practice brings me into contact with spirit on a daily basis and a part of this involves 'shepherding' spirit towards the next stage of their journey. In many cultures the death of a relative or close friend is a heartbreaking experience and the prospect of facing this sad time can become a barrier to looking at the more spiritual side of the soul's journey. It is easy to overlook the possibility that, for those who are facing their own death, it can be comforting to know that they can discuss their wishes openly with those close to them and be reassured that their wishes will be fulfilled when it is time for them to leave.
However. for many, this goes further than simply being able to set funeral arrangements and make a will, they would also like to try to ensure that their spiritual journey is as smooth and easy as possible too.
Soul midwifery, also known as death midwifery, is an increasingly popular service that people can access to assist with the transition between life and death. Practitioners offer a variety of services that range from helping those with terminal illness and their families to prepare prior to death, to arranging for the presence of a death 'doula' - which is similar to the service you can access when giving birth. Obviously, when death is sudden, or unexpected there is little to no time for preparation, but the soul midwife can still be of assistance, accessing spirit to usher the soul home.
With more time to prepare, the soul midwife can provide an invaluable service which could include
- Creating a peaceful, sacred environment, paying attention to sound, smell and general atmosphere to make the person passing as comfortable as possible.
- Working with friends and family to ensure a tranquil, sacred space is maintained (some have a lot more visitors than others and often it is necessary to control the flow of people in the designated space)
- Taking a holistic approach to support the spirit and soul of the dying, adjusting to their needs and wishes as their time progresses.
- Overseeing the vigil and supporting friends and family at this time
- Providing continuous support and a compassionate, understanding ear
Similar to the birthing experience, a death midwife can be as involved or uninvolved as necessary, create the space required according to the wishes of the clients and oversee the implementation of the process. The best way to ensure this is through open discussion. Thankfully, with attitudes to death becoming far more open and services such as these more prevalent, death is starting to become accepted as another progression of the soul's journey, rather than the end.