If feel at this time this is possibly one of the most important topics that need to be spoken about..death.. We take a little twist this interview and talk with an absolutely inspiring woman that has worked with birth and death for many years. So open up your heart and minds and really sit with the word death, its very normal process, such is birth and life.
Denise begins her story by talking about her journey into nursing and how as a young student she was fortunate enough to spend time in remote indigenous communities in Australia. Here she learned many skills and with out all the drama around life and death, it all seemed so normal. Denise’s mother died as a child and she recollects the triggers from this experience. Denise talks about her grandparents being in the family home to death, this again created a normality for her. Dinner parties for Denise were interesting as death is something we just don’t talk about! Denise is even more driven by this to create the conversations. And we did just that in this podcast!
During her journey, Denise choose the doula path by not finding alignment in the structure of the medical systems in her nursing and palliative care. Denise saw a huge hole in the community where midwives were getting so caught up in the policy and procedure path and not having space to serve the women and families (this was 20 years ago). The standard 20 week ultrasound come in around this time and Denise describes seeing women were facing decisions to terminate their pregnancies, she spent a long time suppourng women through these transitions. This is where Denise went from birth into a wha is known as a death doula.
Denise talks about as a young woman having to look deep inside her self as she was struggling with not being able to save people from death. From there she created circles, doula training and pursued the work of support in death. We hear Denise describe death doula training and gets down to the core of what she does in her training, what does a death doula is and how do families go about finding one. If you listen to this part you can see that the death doula training is very similar to that of birth doula. So close and both very much needing the support in a safe space.
We talk further about the process of death, Denise has some really interesting information to share here, perhaps just like birth so much of what we think is the norm in death process is quite surprising when you can educate and empower your self. Denise and I deep dive into her experiences as a death support, this is completely open and really interesting to listen to.
What is your perception of death and how does this play out into your life? We talk about this, attachment to grief in our western traditions and how by letting go of many process in life we can help better our perceptions that surround us in death. In a well facilitated death, grief can be different, as you can be a part of the process in an informed and supported way. Just like birth!
Denise talks about Cambodia and the work that she is doing over there, they sold their house in Australia and shared the money they earned into Cambodia midwifes association. Working with schools, clean water and midwifery practices. Their lives were dramatically different in Cambodia. Denise now is based back in Australia and hopping between the different projects overseas, as well as death doula training.

From Denise –
“The reality is that we don’t talk death, its been put into isolation.“
“Lets be with it, lets experience it.”
“I as a doula am happy to stand by anyone and say, find your path through life as a woman..”
“We are not born women, we go into our womanhood, courage and strength. “
” We don’t need to face our demons before we die,