Julie Kaye, Ellen Roberts, Jessica Abbott, and Suzanne Slesar are proud to announce the launch of End of Life Doulas VT, a cooperative of graduates from the UVM End of Life Doula Professional Certificate program. All of us look forward to the continued growth of our cooperative so that we can best serve our clients and their families throughout central and northern Vermont. The impetus for our cooperative happened earlier this year when we decided that we could offer more together than we could individually. We realized that we could support one another and blend our recent training with our own unique life experiences and areas of expertise. All of us share a common bond: an unwavering commitment to providing professional, compassionate end-of-life support and educating the community-at-large about the services we offer to help clients and their families during this stressful time. As a cooperative, we will not only share the passion of this important work with each other, but also more effectively deal with the myriad challenges in educating our friends, neighbors, and broader community about the role of end-of-life doulas during this challenging and often introspective period of life. As a cooperative, we will also be able to improve the delivery of services by ensuring continuity through back-up support when needed for our ongoing doula commitments. We’ve already experienced the synergy [...]
When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I wasn’t just preparing for his birth; I was simultaneously preparing for his death. My unborn child, I learned about midway through my pregnancy, would not survive outside the womb. Faced with this reality, I just didn’t know where to turn. I had questions. Hard questions. Ones that I was literally afraid to ask. Things I wasn’t sure were even okay to discuss. And I didn’t know what options were available to me. I felt very isolated because nobody else seemed to be talking about babies dying. Unless they had lost a child themselves, nobody seemed to “go there.” Nobody seemed to be talking about death, period. This experience was more than a decade ago and it is what led me to the work I do now. I found my way and it became my mission to help others on their own journeys through birth and death. In my roles as a parent companion, support group facilitator, and doula I hold space for them as they contemplate and express their wishes and their fears. I have been present for a lot of hard conversations and difficult decisions. I have also seen a lot of beautiful connections and witnessed a lot of strength and love. Part of a death doula’s work is holding space for [...]
Funeral Arrangements at Home? There is a common misconception that funeral arrangements, including any preparation and temporary custody of the body prior to its final disposition, must be handled by a commercial funeral home. That is simply not the case. There is no legal requirement that the body must be held in a funeral home or that the decedent’s loved ones must retain a licensed funeral director to make or carry out any final arrangements. In Vermont, as in all states, it is perfectly legal to perform home funerals. As plainly stated by the Vermont Department of Health, “Vermont allows families to care for their dead.” This means that families, if they so choose, can legally transport the deceased, if necessary, and the body of a loved one can remain in a private home prior to burial, cremation, or anatomical donation, and if certain requirements are met, burials are permitted on private property.