Monday, May 5, 2008

Let's Talk About Death, Baby...

Me & chiro-sister Ruthie basking in the wisteria-infused air. GSF Alaria below:

Yesterday I attended the death midwifery workshop hosted by my friend Paula-of-Overall. She has a BEAUTIFUL home and center. Everything about Paula says WELCOME, and it was the perfect spring day on top of it.

So here are the basics of the seminar:

Just like we birth into the world, we birth out of it. Joellyn didn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s the gist of it. And just as we have a midwife to assist (if you’re lucky, you’d have my mother), we have someone at the end to facilitate our exit. Basically, it’s a matter of being present with the person and honoring whatever spiritual beliefs s/he has.

This class was for the very beginner who has no hospice experience. Chiro-sister Ruthie, Mum & I have all been hospice volunteers and have gone through extensive training. My GSF Alaria actually worked for Elisabeth Kubler-Ross back in the ‘80’s. So we were sort of waiting for the next part, but it didn’t really come. Still, we had fun—mostly at Mum’s expense. We were all gathered around in a circle with Joellyn demonstrating how she works with a client. Have I mentioned just how FUNNY my sister is? And when the 2 of us get together…anyway, Joellyn starts by putting on harp music. Mum turns around and gives us the eye-rolling I hate harp music LOOK. Ruthie gestures back, Oh, you’re totally getting harps on your death bed! [Side note here: ‘member that scene from Friends where Phoebe is leading Monica to her Happy Place and she says, “Just listen to the plinky plunky music…”]

Then Joellyn said that it’s important not to have lyrics in the music. So I started singing to Ruthie, You’re gonna die…and she sings back, It sucks to be you

Joellyn told a story about working with a gang-banging assassin. She was making the point that it's important not to have judgement towards the person you're working with. Everyone needs someone to be there for them and often times people are alone. She was also pointing out the importance of staying grounded and present in this work. My mother raises her hand and in her most-proper-Queen’s-English says, “What if you don’t want to work with assassins?" Hahahahahaha! Ruthie whispers to me, Oh you’re getting harps and assassins, Mum!

On the serious side (and that was pretty much the tone for the most part, except of course for the Smartass Sisters) I thought about Dave Dobson, and the work he did in hospitals with burn patients and teaching pain alleviation techniques. I could hear him ask me, What would you do if you were in a hospital with a patient? Gain rapport Other-than-consciously and ask what s/he needs. So attending this workshop was a real inspiration to look into volunteering my time at the local hospital…

After we left the seminar, on the way back to Mum’s for tea, we stopped at Skymont where we grew up. She’s just across the road on the east side of it. I’m just across the river on the west side. So we walked around reminiscing. We took a few pictures—GORGEOUS. And I found my first 4-leaf clover of the season. Yay, me! All-in-all, a v. fun day!

1 comment:

Alaria Sun said...

Hey Labyrinth Gal,

Just now read your blog from the W/S on Sunday.I was curious as to what you would say. Great job!