Many women have doulas to support and guide them through childbirth. Rachel Friedman is an end-of-life doula, trained to support and guide people through the final part of their lives. She tells us about her training, which not only deals with the prospect of death and making it as easy as possible, she also learned that you don’t have to be close death to want to make the most out of the rest of your life. Her training involves three important facets: imagining your own death, engaging people by active, deep listening, and helping with legacy projects that will live on after a person is gone. Imagining your own death helps you to recognize your priorities and figure out what’s really important to you. An exercise begins:
Write down your five most-prized possessions, your five favorite activities, your top five values, and the five people you love the most.
Close your eyes. Imagine you’re at a doctor’s office. You’ve just been given a terminal diagnosis and told you have approximately three months to live. Sit with that news. Breathe. Open your eyes. Cross any four items off your list.
Close your eyes. You’re back home with your spouse or friends or children or pet. You have to find a way to tell those you love: “I’m dying.” Breathe. Open your eyes. Cross another four items off your list.
By the time you have crossed off all your favorites, you should have an idea of what’s most important to you. Read more advice from an end-of-life doula about living your life (no matter how much is left) and helping others live theirs at Vox.
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