“I was scared to death, but now I’m a death doula

A mortal feared woman has become a death doula to help people at the end of their lives – after losing her mother to a brain tumor. Morgan Everitt, 33, was “afraid of death” growing up and would “think about it all the time”. But she had to face her fear when her mother Paula, 61, was told that a rare benign brain tumor – an acoustic neuroma – first attacked her when Morgan was little, having grown with a “vengeance” when Morgan was 24 old was. Morgan spent the next two years caring for her mother alongside her father Dan, 67, and sister Dana, 35, before Paula died of the tumor in 2016. Paula was “completely paralyzed by the end” and while Morgan found the process “extremely painful,” she said being by her side was “the most meaningful thing you can do.” After “learning so much” from the process, she began doing more research and reading books on the subject before embarking on a dying doula program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, USA in 2019. She spent the next four years studying and also taking part in a course with INELDA – the International End of Life Association – and a program with Deathwives. Morgan, who now lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with her tech-industry fiancé Rob, 35, launched her death doula business in February 2023. Morgan, who also works as an actor, said, “I was really scared of death. I was very scared and I had to think about it all the time. When my mom got sick, it was extremely difficult and painful.” But it felt like the most meaningful thing.” “My mom and I were so close — she was my favorite person.” When she died in 2016, I felt like I learned so much.” It made sense to push it.” “I did now a different relationship to death, but the fear will never completely go away. “I hate the idea that the days, weeks or months leading up to death are filled with anxiety. I really want to change the experience to bring a sense of calm and peace.” Morgan spent two years caring for her mother after her brain tumor returned and began wrapping around her brainstem – causing her to lose cognitive function when she was small. “It grew back with a vengeance. She slowly lost all function and by the end she was pretty much completely paralyzed. But she was sharp inside.” It took Morgan a few years to grieve but continued to learn about death and the dying process from books. She said, “I knew I wanted to do something with what I was learning and what I was experiencing.” I was at a party and someone mentioned, “I started researching and found out there was a program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York was where I lived at the time.” After almost a year of studying the pandemic, Morgan continued her online learning through a course at INELDA. She took several other courses at Deadwives – a women-founded collective that teaches the narrative surrounding death and dying. Morgan said, “You have a great sense of humor — which is really important.” Morgan has now taken the plunge into becoming a death doula alongside her acting career, launching her website in February 2023. She said, “As a death doula, we offer such a wide variety of services that can be tailored to each person. I can help with paperwork and navigate the medical system.” “Emotionally, I help people process things and have family conversations as well.” Having conversations with the dying.” “I release anxiety and focus a lot on the caregivers and how I can support them. “It may just be walking the dog or running an errand. People are scared of someone dying, but it’s the time when you all should come together.” Morgan will continue to support the family after the loss, making sure they know they have time to “take a breath” before venturing out to organize a funeral. She also points out people’s misconceptions about Death Sisters. She said, “I think it can as a ‘woo-woo thing’.” But it’s very grounded and rooted in just being people together. I’m happy to be as spiritual or as non-spiritual as people want.” Morgan says her family had concerns about becoming a death doula: “People were worried that it would make me really depressed.” “But I was love life so much that working on that death component feels really peaceful when I’m able to help.” “It’s helped my healing process.”

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