My journey to become a soul midwife started after the death of my father. It was a hugely traumatic, confusing and desperately sad experience for my whole family.
We were thrown into a world that we did not understand, with very few people prepared to have honest conversations about what to expect and when. We blindly stumbled our way through my fathers journey with death, without a compass or map. It meant we all suffered far more than we needed to, no one as much as my father, who remained fearful of what death might mean right to his last breath.
I do not believe it was a good death and it spurred me to action, to find a better way to support and deal with the process of dying.
Looking back, I can see that it was my fathers parting gift to me, to use the experience of his death to help others with their's. He helped me to find meaning, which in turn helped me to save myself from drowning in a sea of despair, loss and complete and utter heartbreak.
And I now hope that I can pass that on to others, not to take their grief or sadness away, but to help them to find a way forward, by holding the hand of, but not being consumed by the grief that the loss of a loved one brings.
The first chink of light I discovered on my journey was a beautifully moving video by Dr Kathryn Mannix, a palliative care doctor and best selling author on opening up conversations around death. Her words were wonderfully liberating as I realised that my feelings and frustrations around my fathers death were real, not a figment of my imagination and her work is very much aimed at compassionate and honest conversations, which enable us all to face death with courage and compassion rather than fear and angst.
I then discovered the soul midwifery school, started by Felicity Warner. Soul Midwives are non-medical, holistic companions who guide and support the dying, in order to facilitate a gentle and tranquil death. They provide emotional, spiritual and therapeutic support to the dying person who is always referred to as a friend and also their families and loved ones.
It's time to change our approach to dying, to talk about it more openly, to face our own mortality, to help people understand their journey, to find the courage to sit alongside someone whilst they take that journey and to enable a far more peaceful death for all involved.
I am deeply committed to supporting people facing the end of life, with care and compassion. My support is always offered on a voluntary basis and I consider it a huge privilege to be asked to accompany another soul as they take their final walk home.
If you would like to know more about the work of soul midwives the link to their website is below:
If you would like to read or listen to more from Dr Kathryn Mannix the link to her facebook page is below:
And if you would like to talk to me about my work as a soul midwife please do use the contact button at the top of this page.
Facing mortality can bring many things to the fore for friends - learning to grieve for ones self, tending to unresolved soul wounds, reflecting on life, past decisions, relationships, unmet needs, resolving conflicts, saying everything to your loved ones that you need to and so much more.
There is no right or wrong or definitive list, we are all unique with our own personal journeys and the role of the soul midwife is to support you as you navigate your way through yours.
This can be often be difficult for friends to do with loved ones, but friends often find comfort in knowing that their wishes have been heard and that they have done whatever it is that they need to, in order to help soothe their own worries and ease the pain of others, once they have left on their final journey home.
The soul midwife is there to hear your wishes and facilitate the communication of those wishes , with kindness, care and compassion.
A soul midwife can provide therapeutic support such as reiki healing, guided visualisations and meditations, gentle touch, breathing techniques and the use of essential oils, to help to bring comfort and peace to a friend particularly in times of angst, or when deep reflection is needed.
Sometimes a friend may simply need a loving presence alongside them - to listen, or offer a hand of comfort, without expectations or judgements.
To just be there.
A soul midwife is purely focused on the needs of the friend. And sometimes that friend may need a voice to make sure their needs, their desires and their fears are heard and respected.
The soul midwife can be that voice.
“There are only two days with fewer than twenty-four hours in each lifetime, sitting like bookmarks astride our lives; one is celebrated every year, yet it is the other that makes us see living as precious.” Dr Kathryn Mannix
"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. " Mark Twain