End of Life Planning

Reflect

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Is it difficult for you to think or talk about your death, or the death of a friend or loved one?  Are you curious about how to plan a "good death"?  Are you a caretaker for a loved one facing their death?

You may recognize internally a need to process the loss of a loved one, or your own feelings about death, or what it's like for you to age or become a caretaker. You may be struggling with the normal anxiety or anticipatory grief or the shock of an unexpected death. You may be feeling a heightened sense of uncertainty in these times.

  

The cultural taboo on conversing early and often about end of life wishes creates unnecessary fear and anxiety. You need not wait until death is impending to make a plan.  Planning the end of your life, just as you do the rest of your life, is empowering. And it can ease the fears and uncertainty among your loved ones when the time comes. When one dies suddenly and unexpectedly their loved ones are bereft and often struggle to make decisions in a state of grief. Making a plan that aligns with your values and desires is a gift to yourself and your loved ones.

You can begin planning, in a conscious and intentional way, for your own death. This could include letting your wishes be known, organizing your papers, reviewing your life and legacy, planning your memorial service or other rituals, or deciding what you want to do with your body after death.  

​As an End of Life Doula, I provide compassionate emotional support, guidance and information. My work is  inspired by the conscious dying movement which aims to diminish the fear and stress many feel around contemplating their mortality. It offers instead a chance for profound healing for the dying person and their loved ones. This approach helps people to honestly and humbly face and plan for their death, embracing their spiritual selves and their loving and forgiving hearts, to do what they can to prepare for a good death for themselves and their loved ones.

Through compassionate care, gentle inquiry and openness, we will sit together to develop a plan that soothes and empowers you. ​

 

Your plan might include some of these elements:

  • ​​Legacy Letters and Life Review

  • ​Anticipatory Mourning and Loss

  • ​Advanced Care Directive

  • Sacred Papers

  • ​​Things to let go of

  • Tying up loose ends

  • ​​Unresolved Concerns and Feelings

  • ​​Final Wishes

  • ​​Vigil Planning

  • ​​Home Rituals and Funerals

  • ​​Green Burials

I am a certified End of Life Doula and a hospice volunteer, working directly with patients and as a community ambassador. I help facilitate group outreach events like Death Cafes, Death Over Dinner events, and workshops providing instruction in completing Advanced Care Directives.

For more on my positive-death, conscious dying philosophy, please see: My philosophy on end of life.

For more related information please go to the Resources Page.

I have experienced the loss of my mother, my father, my sister, a dear friend, and many others. My mother had a beautiful death; she was ready and willing, thus cementing my passion for conscious dying.  Please see my story about my mom here:

My Mom's Wonderful Death

Questions to Consider

​When considering your wishes for the end of your life, ask yourself these questions. You can write the answers, think them, say them aloud.

  • ​Who would you want at your side?

  • ​Is it important to you to die at home?

  • ​Who do you have unfinished business with?

  • Have you shared the important parts of your life story with your family?

  • Have you written it down for posterity?  Or, would you want to ask a family member to interview you?

  • How important is it for you to be free of pain?

  • Would you want to live even if it meant being connected to artificial life support?

  • ​Do you have a will and trust? Are your financial affairs in order?

  • ​Are you leaving a lot of "stuff" at your home for your loved ones to sort through?

  • ​Do you have specific things you want to pass on to your special peeps?

  • ​Do you want a funeral or memorial service or something else?

  • What do you want to be remembered for?

Third Act Coaching

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office: San Francisco Bay Area       rhyhalpern@thirdactcoaching.org

www.thirdactcoaching.org

(650) 517-3850