Meet our guest contributor: Nycole Lloyd. Nikki gives us some insight about why she became a Death Doula. Thanks Nikki.
How did I become a death doula?
Well, if I really think about it–it started when I was about 8 years old.
I remember asking my mother “what’s the point?”
“The point of what?” she asked.
My wise little 8 year old self replied “Life. What’s the point of life if we are going to die anyway?”
Looking back I think that was the start of my curiosity about life, and what gives it meaning and how death completes the picture.
I’ve had three personal and very profound journeys with the death of someone close to me.
When I was 23 my step-dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was three months between diagnosis and death and it was just bloody awful.
When I was 34 my mum died. She had previously been through breast cancer and a mastectomy but after 13 years of being ‘cancer free’ that original cancer found its way further into her system and became secondary cancer in her lungs and stomach.
The last 18 months of her life she lived with us and we spent lots of time just being together – she shared her family knowledge (recipes, secrets, gardening tips, advice) and me just soaking it all up and slowly saying goodbye.
Four years after my mum died my (then) mother-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I couldn’t believe I was dealing with this shit again.
I remember saying to one of my good friends “I can’t do this again. Supporting another parent through cancer is just too hard."
My friend asked me what I’d regret more being there or not being there. The truth was that I would regret not being there more. So that was that.
Each experience changed me. How could it not?
I had to watch my parents dying.
I had to work my way through the physical, practical, emotional and spiritual elements of supporting someone living with a terminal illness.
With each experience I learnt to be more present.
I’m a very pragmatic a person. I guess I just felt like I had to cope and accept the inevitable, so I set about learning how to keep moving in life.
I had to find courage, find strength, find something to keep connecting whole heartedly with the people I loved despite the anticipation of the grief to come.
And one thing that resonates with me about all death experiences– it didn’t feel completely wrong being there. I mean, don’t get me wrong it was tough and challenging and frightening and exhausting and often times just plain overwhelming, but it felt quite natural to be involved in this part of the cycle of life.
It felt right to be able to love another person all the way off the planet; it felt like an honour and a privilege to do so.
So not surprisingly over the years, I have gathered a skill set that helped me turn my personal experiences into my professional passion.
Along the way I became a skilled and experienced energy worker, a qualified counsellor and a life coach.
I continue to work on being a compassionate presence and to help bring some form of calm to, what can be, the chaos of life.
I’m a Doula and a Transformation Coach, I just happen to specialise in end-of-life transformation. And what I do is totally wrapped in the name of my business because we are all Living, Loving and Dying.
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