cover image Caring for the Dying: The Doula Approach to a Meaningful Death

Caring for the Dying: The Doula Approach to a Meaningful Death

Henry Fersko-Weiss. Conari, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-57324-696-5

Fersko-Weiss, founder of the first End-of-Life Doula program in the U.S., defines the core features of this powerful framework for supporting the dying and their families, modeled on the compassionate care services that birth doulas provide. Moreover, he offers guidance for anyone hoping to engage the approaching death of a loved one with grace and intention. With Buddhist calm and a sense of thoughtful presence, Fersko-Weiss shares the core tools doulas use to help the dying approach “ego integrity” by reflecting, exploring meaning, and addressing unresolved conflict, while also helping them choose the surroundings that make them feel comforted and appreciated. Approaches such as creating a legacy project and planning the vigil can help family members process fear and allow closeness to continue until the end. Although not structured as a guidebook, enough detail is included that families without access to a doula could successfully use many of the ideas on their own. Warm stories of client experiences give permission to imagine a death experienced with as much humanity as the rest of life, with profound results for everyone affected by the event. Fersko-Weiss’s perspective is a desperately needed reminder of the value of facing life’s most difficult transitions with open eyes and hearts. (Mar.)