Death Doula Training Blog 11-24-15
As we all set into our borrowed space, we curiously pondered what the next two days would bring. Many of us were strangers, brought together by the subtle whisperings of death’s song. Our facilitator called in all the elements, to remind our awareness of our deep connection to them. An unfamiliar anticipation weighed heavy on my senses. I struggled to identify its central source, at this point only making a hazy note of its existence. We moved gracefully through our day, sharing our own experiences, practicing how to steady our minds and be present with one another, and learning to be comfortable in the silence and appreciate the power of vulnerability. We learned of all the ways we’ve developed our language so that under no circumstance, we have to actually say the words death and dying. Instead we say things like, “they just lost the race,” or “they are roadkill,” because those are much better. Our day was full of knowledge and logistics, some aspects more practical than others. Some though, some insight was like a gray shadowy hand that reached deep down to the core of my malleable being, and rested itself there, tapping its long, thin fingers to the beat of my human heart. I went home, instantly bombarded by the infinite scroll in my societal world of things to get done. Although, to my surprise, the fire element had other plans. It mysteriously played with my awareness until it funneled in my attention, leading to the message, the message that has transformed my once desperate, untamed glow into a focused, undeniable guiding light. “Fire is the Element responsible for passionate resonance when you are following your life’s calling.”
We all gathered back in our space we had sat in the day before, sharing our own experiences of what the prior night had delivered to us. To my pleasant surprise, each and every single piece of every person there had been annihilated by their exposure to so much truth. No words could justly elaborate on the overwhelmingly profound evolution we had all witnessed. Instead, we acknowledged its presence, and moved on to the sacredness of ceremony and vigils. We learned of the beauty found in weaving the stories and experiences of one’s life together at their death, through spiritual and cultural means. As well as all of the healing that takes place with each motion a grieving person moves through. For me, the person I was at the end of the Death Doula training, was not the person I was when I began. For me, my eyes were now slightly more open than they were before. Open to the gratitude that exists in grief. Open to the foundation of fear that lays within so many. Open to the reality of how far we have wandered from what death is, and how it should be. Open to begin the process of how to let death in, and through this, how to live. And now, I can share all of this, with you. I cannot guarantee your experience would be as mine was. I went in searching for this transcendence. I would say though, if you ever plan on a loved one dying, or if you ever plan on dying yourself, this a class for you; and if neither of these apply to you, well then you need a different class entirely. I can say with confidence, if you enter this class with the intention of acceptance and embracing your humanness, you will find yourself beautifully reconfigured on the other side.
By Ashlee Sperry