What is a Midwife to the Dying?
There are many similarities between labour pains of dying and those of being born. It is the same doorway; all are passing through, some coming in and others going out. On either side of the doorway midwives are needed to guide this passage. Both are a holy service requiring a great work of labour and love. Both are moments of vulnerability and the same preparation that is encouraged for birth is also as valuable for death. Through this preparation and deeper understanding of the deathing process it is possible for pain to exist and be lessened by tenderness, love and compassion. Death can be a long labouring process, and, again as in birthing, gentle touching, massaging, words of encouragement to relax and let go, gentle singing and cradling are all greatly comforting. A midwife knows how to practise inner stillness and be peacefully present putting aside any pains or sorrows. The midwife tenderly holds the energy, keeps vigil and guards the almost invisible gossamer film of light while the dying person passes through the matrix. This transition leaves in its wake a divine stillness which touches the very depths of the soul, leaving a feeling of the presense of the miraculous and the mysterious.
As a midwife to the dying I am a multi-faith practitioner who gives non-intrusive guidance and support through the dying process.
My approach is:
- walking alongside the person facing death, honouring and respecting his or her own individual and unique way of living and dying
- helping to overcome fears
- encouraging the resolution of outstanding issues, both practical and emotional (e.g. forgiveness and the healing of relationships)
- easing the transition using a variety of therapeutic methods including breathing and relaxation techniques
- addressing the needs of the spirit and the soul, leading to an awareness that embraces death as a part of life
- supporting the dying person to feel empowered and able to make conscious choices
- creating a sacred, healing and loving space
- encouraging family and friends to be a part of this journey, teaching them how to listen, understand and respond appropriately to the dying person