You'll absolutely love the way Chantal Soucy expresses her feelings on death and the afterlife through her artwork. I found her on Instagram and saw that she was a death doula. What is a death doula? Also called end-of-life doula or mourning doula, this profession deals with exactly that, the end of life instead of the beginning of life. It's a profession that's relatively new but much needed!
For those who might not be familiar, could you briefly describe what you do or the services you offer?
I offer non-medical & alternative care for people at the end of their life and after their transition as well as support for their caregivers during that time. These services are for people who wish to transition at home, as well as those who wish to have more personal care or assistance in a hospital/medical or hospice setting. I also provide support for animals at the end of their life, too. I do provide some of these support services for family virtually.
Why did you choose to take on the path you're currently on? What do you like about it the most?
I originally started my studies for a Funeral Services & Embalming Diploma back in 2019, and during my education I realized that although Funeral Services was close to the type of care, I was still missing something. When I finally came across the profession of a Death Doula, I knew that this type of care was more along the line of the care I wanted to provide. I am able to provide support for people for a longer period of time as a doula compared to working with a family as a funeral director (who do what they can and are a great support for people in their own way but only are able to provide care and support for a short time after death has occurred or for pre-planning arrangements).
Can you share one or two memorable stories doing what you do?
I think the "story" I will remember most is that I "became" a Death Doula in January 2021, after receiving my certification, and then unfortunately soon after that my dad's wife had passed away following a long fight with cancer. During that time, I was able to support my dad much more than I would have been able to previously. It brings me a sense of peace knowing I was there like that for my dad when he really needed someone. I saw how much that care meant to him, and it did help my dad work through some of the grief he was experiencing. I saw first-hand within the first couple weeks of starting my doula journey how this care and support (even with simply bringing food or cleaning) really does have a positive effect, and so that really motivates me to provide that same type of relief or care and support for other people who need it within my community.
We want to know what makes people love YOU. Why does your organization stand out?
Usually when people meet me, they tell me that although I am young, I give a strong maternal energy and I bring comfort to them.
What advice would you give to someone who's interested in following in your footsteps?
Work past your "imposter syndrome" and just get going. Self-teach to see what type of doula you want to be or the type of care you would love to provide and see if you have what it takes. Find some programs in your area or ones that are offered virtually. I would suggest looking at Doula Associations around your area and see what type of accreditation or programs that they require for you to join - those resources and programs are recognized and provide you with a good starting point.
Have you heard of custom cremation jewelry before? Do you think it's beautiful or sacrilegious ? Be honest! Have your clients ever expressed interest in having a special keepsake of this type?
I have heard of custom cremation jewelry before, but I did not know it could be done in this way. I personally really like this jewelry because the pieces are really beautiful, but you wouldn't know they are memorial jewelry pieces until you ask, or the person tells you - it can be discrete for people who might not like it for their own reasons. I have shown this specific jewelry ("Miracle Memorial" Custom Cremation Jewelry & Memorial Keepsakes) to other people and most if not all of them have said they are really unique/special and quite beautiful, they have also stated that they wish they know of this or got one made for them in memory of their loved one that has left us.
We make cremation jewelry here that's all handmade with glass & metal by artisans at Miracle Memorial. We definitely work with funeral directors like yourself! For everyone else who might be interested, do check out more info on being a Miracle Worker here.
We want to get to know you more! What do you like to do for fun? What do you enjoy in life? What sort of things do you like that sums up your personality?
In my spare time I LOVE to create art (mostly paintings), and I even have my own little art shop online (www.therabbitsden.com) - with this passion for art I have also started to provide a therapeutic environment for art workshops, lessons and sessions for seniors or other people working through grief in the Calgary area by donation, as art has been really helpful for me in my own personal healing. When I am not doing this or showing my paintings at some local art shows, I am usually found at home baking or watching movies with my children or out walking my dog, Oliver by the bow river.
Website: With Dignity Death Doula
If you'd like to nominate an outstanding individual in the death care industry for recognition, please reach out!