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Death Doula Resources

Welcome to the Gentle Passage Doula Collective's Library, your gateway to a wealth of knowledge on death, dying, end-of-life planning, and the remarkable journey of becoming a certified Death Doula. Here, we invite you to explore an extensive collection of insightful blogs and articles carefully curated by our compassionate team of doulas.

 

At Gentle Passage, we believe death is an integral part of life, deserving of understanding, support, and respect. Our Library serves as a valuable resource, offering a diverse range of perspectives, experiences, and practical guidance to empower individuals, families, and communities in navigating the sacred transition of dying.

 

We invite you to explore the Gentle Passage Doula Collective's Library and immerse yourself in the wisdom and compassion that our doulas have shared. Whether you seek solace, knowledge, or inspiration, our Library is a sanctuary where you can find guidance, comfort, and a deeper connection to the profound beauty that resides within the circle of life and death.

Our Favorite Books About Grief

We refer to books to help with great life events. These passages can help you and your loved ones connect with your emotions and feelings to help ease and support you during this time. These are our favorite books that we've recommended for years. We hope they can offer some support to you.

by Dr. BJ Miller & Shoshana Berger - A clear-eyed and big-hearted action plan for approaching the end of life, written to help readers feel more in control of an experience that so often seems anything but controllable. Their book offers everything from step-by-step instructions for how to do your paperwork and navigate the healthcare system to answers to questions you might be afraid to ask your doctor.

by Katy Butler - Based on Butler’s experience caring for aging parents, and hundreds of interviews with people who have successfully navigated our fragmented health system and helped their loved ones have good deaths, The Art of Dying Well also draws on the expertise of national leaders in family medicine, palliative care, geriatrics, oncology, and hospice. This empowering guide clearly outlines the steps necessary to prepare for a beautiful death without fear.

by Atul Gawande - In his bestselling books, a practicing surgeon, has fearlessly revealed the struggles of his profession. Here he examines its ultimate limitations and failures―in his own practices as well as others'―as life draws to a close. Riveting, honest, and humane, Being Mortal shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life―all the way to the very end.

by Andrew Davison - This wise and practical handbook, written by a palliative care physician and a priest with experience in hospice ministry, addresses the needs of the dying, their relatives and friends, and also those who provide support and care.

by Maggie Callanan & Patricia Kelley - Filled with practical advice from hospice nurses on responding to the requests of the dying and helping them prepare emotionally and spiritually for death, Final Gifts shows how we can help the dying person live fully to the very end.

by Frank Ostaseski - The cofounder of the Zen Hospice Project and pioneer behind the compassionate care movement shares an inspiring exploration of the lessons dying has to offer about living a fulfilling life.

by Amy Wright Glenn - Lessons from a hospital Chaplin sharing key insights drawn from working directly with the dying into a moving and compelling meditation on the healing power of “holding space” for all involved in caring for the dying, a healing sorely needed in our culture at this time.

by Judith L. Lief - Written by a Buddhist teacher this book enlightens anyone interested in coming to terms with their own mortality. More specifically, the contemplative approach presented here offers health professionals, students of death and dying, and people who are helping a dying friend or relative useful guidance and inspiration. It will show them how to ground their actions in awareness and compassion, so that the steps they take in dealing with pain and suffering will be more effective.

by Thich Nhat Hanh - he acclaimed teacher and poet examines our concepts of death, fear, and the very nature of existence. Through Zen parables, guided meditations, and personal stories, he explodes traditional myths of how we live and die. Thich Nhat Hanh shows us a way to live a life unfettered by fear.

By Randy Pausch - What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? What would we want as our legacy? When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave--"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"--wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think").

 an essential guide for navigating the deep waters of sorrow and loss in this lyrical yet practical handbook for mastering the art of grieving. Describing how Western patterns of amnesia and anesthesia affect our capacity to cope with personal and collective sorrows, Weller reveals the new vitality we may encounter when we welcome, rather than fear, the pain of loss. 

Free End of Life Planning Resources

There are basic documents that everyone needs to complete as part of thoughtfully arranging the details around how you want to die and what should happen if you're unable to speak for yourself. These documents make it easy to know what is required and to inform your medical team, family, friends, caretakers, and state officials of your wishes so they can assist you in completing your plans. 

A PDF list of end-of-life documents you need curated by the doula trainers of Gentle Passage Doula Collective. 

A PDF that walks you through how to complete a legal document that provides instructions for medical care and only go into effect if you cannot communicate your own wishes. This is NOT the actual legal paperwork, but a guide to completing the appropriate form required by the state you live in. To find a free, printable advance directive for your state, visit this page provided by AARP

The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form is a tool for end-of-life planning. The form ensures that a patient's treatment wishes are known and will be followed by health care professionals during a medical crisis, when the patient cannot speak for themselves.

An article from the Federal Trade Commission detailing tips for pre-planning your own funeral. 

A free checklist curated by AARP listing the practical steps needed in the days immediately after someone dies. 

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