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Article  •  9 May 2023

 

What is a death doula?

Learn more about death doulas and discover the debut novel that shines a new light on what it means to live and die.

The Collected Regrets of Clover is Mikki Brammer’s debut novel that follows a death doula named Clover who is challenged to overcome her grief and learn how to live.

'The Collected Regrets of Clover'

The Collected Regrets of Clover by Mikki Brammer

Though it is a book about death, the novel is warm and uplifting. Drawing on advice from her previous clients, Clover learns how to live in the moment and appreciate life not despite its uncertainties – but for them.

If you’re considering reading the novel or already have but want to learn more about death doulas, scroll on for more information about the unique career path exemplified by the book’s protagonist.

What is a death doula?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines doula as ‘a person trained to provide advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth.’ And while death doulas focus on the end of life rather than the beginning of it, the fundamentals are surprisingly similar.

Where a birth doula offers comfort before a baby is born, a death doula offers comfort and reassurance to those nearing the end of their life.

In the book, Clover describes being a death doula as ‘the reverse’ of a birth doula. ‘A birth doula helps usher someone into life, and a death doula helps usher them peacefully out of it.’

What do death doulas do?

The role of a death doula is to act as a guide or support for a dying person and/or their family members.

According to Australian Doula College, death doulas might:

  • Help make a plan and sort through options and choices
  • Let people know what to expect
  • Advocate for a dying person’s vision and choices with medical staff/hospitals/care providers
  • Give support
  • Discuss the pros and cons of different options
  • Provide emotional support
  • Make death a sacred experience and create a sense of ‘home’ for a person as they pass

In The Collected Regrets of Clover, Clover exemplifies how a death doula might establish a close personal relationship with their clients to create a space where they feel comfortable and accepting as they leave this life. ‘I’m just there to keep them company and listen, helping them reflect on their life if that’s what they want to do,’ Clover explains to an acquaintance in the book. ‘I also help them with finding peace with any wrongdoings or regrets—things like that. And if they have nobody else, I’m there to hold their hands as they’re dying.’

About The Collected Regrets of Clover

Interested in learning more about death doulas?

Sometimes the best way to empathise with a specific type of person or profession is through a fictional account. The Collected Regrets of Clover will bring you inside the mind of a death doula and allow you to imagine what it would feel like to play the role of a death doula in peoples’ lives.

Even if the topic of death doulas sounds a bit depressing to you, reading the book will help you see the beautiful aspects of death – and what the process of dying can teach us about living life to the fullest.

Aside from her unique career, the character of Clover will pique your interest in many other ways as she learns to come out of her shell. If nothing else, this entertaining read will leave you feeling more hopeful than you were before.

 

Want to check it out? Read a preview.

Feature Title

The Collected Regrets of Clover
The Collected Regrets of Clover is the burst of hopefulness we need right now. A sparkling debut novel from Australian Mikki Brammer, which reminds us all to live our best life with fewer regrets.
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