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'No reason to be scared': Why some are turning to 'death doulas' as the end approaches

From an article in USA Today

Sophia Liang

Updated Wed, January 24, 2024 at 8:00 AM EST


Paul and Erin Morris at their Louisville home on Aug. 11, 2023. Erin was diagnosed with a terminal cancer, and she and Paul enlisted the services of "death doula" Lauren Hunter-Smith, who helped educate Morris on her options for death ceremonies and burial.

She came home from her most recent hospital stay in a wheelchair and entered hospice care shortly afterward, she’d enlisted professional help.

After receiving her Stage 4 diagnosis, Morris hired a “death doula,” an end-of-life coach and advocate for her, her husband, Paul, and their children, ages 6 and 8.

With her doula’s guidance, Morris was planning her own funeral, exploring more eco-friendly alternatives to conventional burial methods and learning what she could expect to feel during the dying process.

“It brings a lot of dignity to your death,” she said. “I’ve been sick for years, and I haven’t gotten to decide when I have to switch treatments, what I have to go through, when I have to take a break, when I have to quit work. I didn’t get to control any of that.

"This is one little thing that you can control."



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