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Requiem 

Life Stories, Legacies, and Death Doula Services

Based in the St Marys, Stratford, and London Ontario area, I offer supportive end of life services tailored to the individual, with a special interest in legacy projects. 


My goal is to make a person's final days as worry-free as possible so that they can live fully.




What is a Death Doula?


Death doulas (also known as end-of-life doulas or death midwives) are part of a newly emerging field in death care that seeks to make end of life a more positive, less frightening experience for all. They are  not medical professionals, but rather privately hired community members who view death as a natural part of life and believe that a person can still be empowered and find meaning in their remaining time. They recognize the vital support family members provide and help to minimize their stress. Death doulas offer a vast array of person-centred services during end-of-life and even after death, such as spiritual and emotional support, death education, advance care planning, legacy projects, companionship, and help with vigils and memorial services. What a doula offers is unique to each individual, based on the person's wants and needs, and each doula has their own gifts and specialties. Because dying is a journey, not a one-time event, doulas are not necessarily present in the final hours when a family wants privacy (although they can be) and their goal is to give everyone the support and tools needed in the time leadingup to death to offer a sense of peace. They adhere to a code of ethics and standard of care and are a trusted member of your team. 


80% of surveyed people say they would prefer to spend their final days at home and end of life doulas can help make that possible. 



Life Stories and Legacies

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As a published writer I've seen the power of words, the healing that the telling of a story brings. Through reflection and processing memories, and by sharing the wisdom gained the fullness of our lives comes into focus, the continuity of life unfolds. 


By recording one's story (the good memories, the hardships, the wisdom) a treasure is left for family, a legacy is left for future generations. For those at end of life I can help you  create something beautiful and meaningful. I've helped many people tell their stories, whether at bedside or via telephone and Zoom, and these can be done in short sessions or longer ones, depending on the emotional/physical needs of the client. 


Everyone has a story ...  we can work together to tell yours. 

Author Website


Support

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I offer support both to those at end of life and to their families. Whether you need end of life companionship, help with legacy projects, or assistance with vigils, I'm here to help and assure you that you are not alone on this difficult path. As part of a larger network, I'm happy to direct you to others in the field, such as death educators, grief counsellors, or registered nurses whose specialty is in-home palliative care. For those who are caring for a dying loved one, I can offer reassurance, guidance, and lend an ear during a painful time, because even a strong support person can use support themselves. 


I adhere to the code of ethics of the End of Life Doula Association of Canada, have certification from a recognized EOL doula program in Vancouver, and am committed to ongoing training in the field.


Outside the scope of practice of a death doula, I offer relaxing Reiki energy treatments and guided meditations to those at end of life. 



Pets

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For many, the loss of a beloved pet feels like the loss of a family member. As an experienced animal rescuer who has had the privilege of being with countless animals as they finished their time on earth, I can support families during the difficult final days of vet visits, natural death, or euthanasia.  Whether it is a much loved dog, cat, or horse, I can aid you in creating meaningful experiences at the end, offering gentle Reiki treatments, dispelling fear, and honouring your cherished pet fully so that a family's healing can begin.

About Christen Shepherd

I hold a certificate from the End-of-Life Doula program at Douglas College in BC and am a supporter of the End of Life Doula Association of Canada, the Death Doula Ontario Network, and member of the Southwestern Ontario Death Doula Network. I am also on EOLDAC's working committee for community and stakeholder engagement, helping to promote the important work  of Canadian death doulas. In addition to my own experiences with death, I've studied Thanatology (the study of death) for many years, have taken certificate courses in grief and bereavement counselling, and hold a degree in Anthropology from Western University where I gained a great appreciation for the death practices and rituals of various cultures and religions. For a decade I ran an animal rescue/farm therapy program where death and loss were daily occurrences, and although tragic, I was always moved by the healing and love that emerged, and I learned the importance of a sacred send-off. In 2018 I gained a post graduate certificate in creative writing from the Humber School for Writers in Toronto and am a published writer who loves weaving together happy memories, triumphs, pain, and challenges into a story that celebrates the hero at the centre. I believe everyone is the hero of their own story and I love interviewing people and helping them recognize that truth. I am also a Level 2 Reiki practitioner.