Your Midwife at the End of Life
"It should be a sacred day for you when one of your people die, a sacred day, when a soul is released and returns to its home."
Heather Lynn McGuire — Soul Midwife, Denver, Colorado
Photo by Adrienne Kendall
Hi, I'm Heather Lynn
When life is coming to a close, the last thing you want to be is alone. You want to be heard. To be witnessed. To be quiet. To be able to share your story without feeling judged, being corrected, or forced into someone else's agenda.
That's where I step in. My name is Heather Lynn McGuire and I am a soul midwife. I support the dying and their families in achieving a peaceful and dignified death.
Often families are not physically or emotionally able to be present when their loved one is dying. In those difficult times, I become a surrogate family member — witnessing and advocating for the dying person's last moments to be beautiful and sacred.
I ensure they are held in arms of love and receive the ultimate comfort at the end of life.
Read more about my work in the May 2019 issue of Colorado Heath & Wellness magazine:
What Is a
Soul midwives are non-medical, holistic companions who guide and support the dying.
They facilitate a gentle and peaceful death, and ensure the person's wishes are honored. In traditional cultures around the world, death has always been regarded as an important rite of passage, an initiation, a journey across a spiritual threshold.
Today's soul midwives draw upon ancient wisdom in this area, applying it to our modern worlds and using it to ease the passage of those that are dying.
Soul midwives are dedicated to easing the pain and fear of dying. We bring sweetness, wisdom and comfort to the bedside.
How is that done? First, I listen.
I find out what the dying person needs to feel complete with life, then hear what they want their death to look like.
I can help envision and formalize their "Death Plan," then no matter what happens, I will honor their wishes and make sure that we follow through with them.
A Death Plan declares the wishes of the dying and answers questions like:
Where do you want to be when you die?
Whom do you want (or not want) to be with you?
What scents or music would you like in the room?
Do you prefer silence and alone time?
Then after death, do you wish to be bathed, anointed?
Do you want a ceremony or a natural funeral?
By putting their desires down in writing, it frees them from worry and also serves as an instruction manual for the caretakers to honor.
Sometimes the dying want to work on forgiveness — for themselves or for others. If that is what their soul calls out for, I can help with that process.
Each death story is as unique as each birth story.
I come to each one with the openness and the willingness to stand in death's presence. I listen and do whatever is needed in the moment. We may hold hands. We may talk or I may simply be a quiet, loving witness — saying nothing, if that's what's preferred.
I support them and I love them on their journey home.
What Does a
Loved ones of her clients say it best:
Who Does a Soul Midwife Serve?
The financial, emotional and psychological burdens people experience in caring for aging parents while managing their own life can be daunting.
Many of my clients expressed that they did not want their children to sacrifice their jobs, marriage or mental health in order to care for them.
And, the majority of my clients have not had family that lived near enough to be with them while they were dying. Some of the elders did have family close by, but years of difficult relationships caused emotional strain between them making it challenging to be together in the end — yet the children did not want their parent to be alone either. Guilt and regrets would frequently come up and everyone would look at each other thinking, "there has to be a better way."
A soul midwife can help tremendously in these situations, serving both the family and the parent.
What is it like to have Heather Lynn as a soul midwife?
Here are experiences from loved-ones of the dying.
We would have never "made it" without your help. Period! And because of that, we can be at peace with ourselves.
Candace, New York, NY
Since I was a child I've been drawn to the elders in my life.
And, for the past 20 years, I have found myself in different forms of work where I was in servitude to the seniors in our community. Many of the elders I served died when I was with them. At first, I was confused, "Why was I always the one present at this time of death?"
I soon realized that I was being initiated, called into another realm of the world — an intimate, hallowed space was being shared with me. I was given the gift of witnessing the last sacred moments of these dear people's lives. I was comforting them when no one else could be there.
In 2013, I became a Certified Death Midwife. I studied under the guidance of Tarron Estes of the Conscious Dying Institute in Boulder, Colorado. I then integrated "The Art of Death Midwifery" by Rev. Olivia Bareham, founder of Sacred Crossings in 2015.