‘Dying well teaches us how to live well ... it is all part of the same process. If we can help just one person, or one family or one community to accept end of life in a positive and non-fearful way then we are helping to dissolve some of the fears that people have.
In my own work I use gentle and traditional methods. I work with people on a deep level of communication and trust; this is what I describe as working from the heart.
Sometimes this might mean sitting with someone in the garden, holding their hand and just talking through their worries. At other times, I might offer them some healing or a gentle massage, especially if they have pain or discomfort. Similarly, music, art or the scent of sweet oils may all help to open up important conversations. Sometimes we don’t even talk. Often we laugh.
I can never tell you in advance how supporting a person will be: it takes its own shape … it just happens.
I have no religious agenda. I am just one person helping another. This is their death, their experience, their journey.’
Felicity is founder of the soul midwives’ movement and the Soul Midwives’ School (see www.soulmidwivesschool.com).
She created the idea of soul midwifery for the dying and her pioneering work has brought a new dimension to holistic and spiritual palliative care, both in the UK and abroad (there are now soul midwives working in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa).
She is a lecturer, teacher and author of two acclaimed books – Gentle Dying and A Safe Journey Home. She is currently working on the Soul Midwives’ Handbook which will be published in summer 2013.
She explains: ‘My aim is to have a Soul Midwives in every hospital, care home and hospice within the next five years in the UK.’
Soul midwives use a sophisticated knowledge of the dying process to ease the passage and bring relief from fear and suffering. Felicity is a passionate campaigner for raising standards of compassionate care at the end of life
From volunteering in local hospices and working one-to-one with many dying people in the last days of life, she developed the Gentle Dying method which offers comfort when medicine has reached its limits. It can be learned and used by any one, in any care setting, to make death a peaceful and dignified experience.
Felicity is an active
member of two national groups: Transitus and Dying Matters
She regularly gives lectures at hospices, including:
· Hospice House, London,
· St Margaret's Hospice, Yeovil
· St Margaret's Hospice, Exeter,
· Weldmar Hospice, Dorchester,
· St Giles Hospice, Sutton Coldfield,
· Macmillan Unit, Christchurch Hospital
She was keynote speaker at the 3rd International Death Conference at Winchester University in November 2012 and spoke at the Dying Matters Conference in Nottingham in May 2012.
She also runs large workshops at public events including the Mind, Body and Spirit Festival in London.
Her special interests are the psycho-spiritual and soul dynamics at the end of life, researching traditional folk lore and sacred ritual in the care of the dying and also introducing ways of caring for the dying with love and compassion.