The role of a Death Walker is to provide support - emotional, spiritual, and practical, at an extremely confronting, and critical time of personal and emotional crisis.
With the support of a death Walker, dying patients and their families find reassurance, comfort, breathing space, and peace during this final phase of living.
My goal is to help people deal with their impending death, or the impending death of a loved one, and to guide and support them in any preparations they need to make.
The ideal outcome is enabling individuals to be at peace with, or at the very least, to come to an acceptance of their death.
Through the provision of time, a range of support options, and help with non-medical tasks, my goal is to assist patients and their families in creating a personal, peaceful, and special end-of-life transition. Our Western world is very good at celebrating the birth of babies into our lives however we have reached a point where we neglect to guide and honour people through the process of dying. This has led to a growing fear of death and dying in many within our society, and the topic is often one avoided rather than welcomed as a natural, albeit painful, aspect of life. Because of this death and dying can be taboo topics that families avoid. Accordingly, when a loved one ages or becomes ill, the family and friends are ill-equipped emotionally and unprepared to have the necessary conversations about a person’s death and end-of-life wishes.
Death Walkers remove some of the ‘effort’ of the death experience away from the family, enabling the space for them to be completely present with their loved one, and for the dying person to be completely present with both their family and themselves. It is the Death Walker’s role to engage in these painful and difficult situations with empathy and non-judgemental compassion. In doing so we are helping families come together to have honest, heartfelt conversations ensuring that nothing which needs to be expressed is left unsaid. This affords peace for the dying person and a sense of closure for the bereaved family and friends, which aids in moving their healing process forward.
♥ Guided meditations or relaxation during a patient's transition to death.
♥ Sitting vigil to support the family during the final hours.
♥ Bearing independent witness to the life of the person facing death. Companionship and a safe space for patients to talk about the journey of their life and their beliefs about after death, helping them to accept or find peace within this next phase of life.
♥ Assistance with the navigation of end-of-life paperwork such as power of attorneys, healthcare directives, wills, the gathering and recording of online passwords and death certificates.
♥ Supporting the person in creating an end-of-life plan of their choice. Death Walkers get to know their patients intimately therefore they can offer unique, personalized suggestions that the family may not be familiar with, such as spreading ashes in a memorial forest.
♥ Running living ceremonies enabling the dying person to be honoured and acknowledged by those who love and value them, prior to their death.
♥ Helping the patient complete legacy projects to leave behind, these could include projects such as filming video stories or messages, writing letters, transcribing a memoir, making art projects, creating scrapbooks, or drawing cartoons.
♥ Handling tasks and arrangements that will make the final days more peace full and joy full. This could include amongst others, managing visitors, fielding phone calls, ensuring connection with pets (even if in a hospice), or reading aloud.
♥ Relieving the burden on exhausted caregivers by sitting vigil to enable some respite time or undertaking simple tasks like shopping.
♥ Offering emotional support to family members.
♥ Provision of the necessary materials and/or equipment to enable home internment until the ceremony, burial, or cremation.
♥ Planning, co-ordinating and running the ceremony
As a Death Walker and Funeral Celebrant, I work with compassion, empathy, and love to support an individual or family in navigating the challenging pathways experienced before, during and after the death of a loved one or loved ones. It is my responsibility to work to ensure that the dying process is made more meaningful for everyone involved.