About Vigil

“I came to see how we can hold pain and love in equal measure and look unflinchingly into the heart of death…I also became convinced through our collective experience that the doula approach, which I had learned from birth doulas, was exactly the right approach at the end of life.” Henry Fersko-Weiss LCSW in finding peace at the end of life: a death doula’s guide for families and caregivers 2020, Henry was the first person to offer training for end of life doulas in 2003 & co founded the International End of Life Doula Association with Janie Rakow in 2014.

Alan Wolfelt Ph.D., is a noted grief educator and director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado. Among his many books is Healing The Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas for Families, Friends and Caregivers. He said, “I have taken liberties with the noun “companion” and made it into the verb “companioning” because it so well captures the type of relationship I support and advocate.” Dr. Wolfelt was speaking about being with people with after a death has occurred. I, and many others, believe strongly that his concept of companioning is beneficial for all people who assist people at the end of life including doulas.

He wrote:

    • Companioning is about honoring the spirit; it is not about focusing on the intellect.
    • Companioning is about curiosity; it is not about expertise.
    • Companioning is about learning from others; it is not about teaching them.
    • Companioning is about walking alongside; it is not about leading.
    • Companioning is about walking alongside; it is not about leading.
    • Companioning is about being still; it is not about frantic movement forward.
    • Companioning is about discovering the gifts of sacred silence; it is not about filling
      every painful moment with words.
    • Companioning is about listening with the heart; it is not about analyzing with the
    • Companioning is about bearing witness to the struggles of others; it is not about
      directing those struggles.
    • Companioning is about being present to another person’s pain; it is not about taking
      away the pain.
    • Companioning is about respecting disorder and confusion; it is not about imposing
      order and logic.
    • Companioning is about going to the wilderness of the soul with another human
      being; it is not about thinking you are responsible for finding the way out.
About Vigil

A person does not choose a terminal diagnosis, health crisis or debilitating chronic condition that has brought them to the last months of their life. A person absolutely can & should choose how they want to live during the final season of their life.

As an end of life doula, I can guide you, empower you & support you in implementing your choices. I will also support your loved ones during that time.

People who are willing to contemplate their aging, vulnerability and mortality often live better lives in old age and illness, and experience better deaths, than those who don’t.” ~ Katy Butler “The Art of Dying Well”