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Breathing Wind


Jun 15, 2021

Who writes the roadmap when one doesn’t exist? In this episode, Deborah interviews Naila Francis, a death midwife and grief coach, about her journey to becoming a death midwife and how this work fills a gap for people seeking a different approach to death and dying.

This episode is part of a Breathing Wind miniseries titled Embrace Death, Live Life, hosted by ICU and palliative care nurse, Deborah Szeto. The Embrace Death, Live Life miniseries explores the work of palliative care in healing and how we can live fuller lives while embracing and normalizing death. 

Episode Length: 37 mins.

  • 3:41 - Naila’s career journey from journalist to death midwife
  • 5:54 - Naila’s views on her father’s experience passing away at a Saint Lucia hospital
  • 11:37 - How Naila views what could have been different about how her father died, as well as how grace-filled her experience was to be by his side
  • 15:31 - The lack of a roadmap for navigating her father’s death
  • 16:04 - Cultural and relational reasons for not having a conversation about death and dying beforehand
  • 18:32 - The difference between “death midwife” and “death doula”
  • 20:52 - How death midwives and death doulas fill a gap that hospice and other forms of healthcare cannot
  • 23:57 - Guiding conversations about wishes and quality of life at end of life and questions Naila asks during consultations with clients
  • 29:09 - Working with death changes the way Naila and Deborah live their lives
  • 31:38 - Views on working with the full range of ritual and occasions, from baby blessings to end of life
  • 34:05 - Families have choice and agency in how to encounter death

To find out more about this episode and subscribe to the newsletter, visit the show notes.

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