A Death Doula’s Guide to Living and Dying

August 23, 2023

The Death Doula’s Guide to Living Fully and Dying Prepared was just released, and brings a tender but practical approach to end-of-life planning. Written by end-of-life doula and educator Francesca Arnoldy, the workbook features her most beloved techniques and activities to use with clients. Designed for readers to work at their own pace, it includes thoughtful reflection and prompts along the way; the content is engaging for anyone interested in exploring mortality, core self and legacy — regardless of current health status or experience with end-of-life care.

Arnoldy is a researcher with the Vermont Conversation Lab and original developer of the University of Vermont’s end-of-life doula training program. In the summer of 2022, she was featured in a Compassion & Choices Magazine article about end-of-life doulas and the modern resurgence of this long-held community role (read the full issue here); in that piece she mentioned feeling hopeful that so many people have re-embraced “what it means to be mortal and interdependent” in recent years as they face planning head-on. In this book, Arnoldy extends her hand to you and makes the process feel far less daunting.

Compassion & Choices President and CEO Kim Callinan said about the book, “The Death Doula’s Guide to Living Fully and Dying Prepared blends insights, tools and resources from Arnoldy’s years of experience as an end-of-life doula into a workbook for building a healthy relationship with life and death. It is a gift for all readers: inspiring us to contemplate how we want to live today and the positive impact we hope to leave behind, and helps people facing death find clarity and closure in their final days, weeks or months.”

Readers will take the journey that Arnoldy guides each of her clients through: exploration of self —> sharing of self —> preparing and planning. Each stop on the path requires honest contemplation, so the workbook has plenty of space for writing and offers ample opportunity to privately process thoughts after each section or reiterate an important realization. Readers don’t have to grab a pencil for every page though, as she also outlines meditations, visualization exercises and other activities that are not only helpful while navigating this book but while approaching this topic with others. Though Arnoldy clarifies you can jump around as needed, completing these pages from start to finish is a truly special experience that leaves you with documented plans and a deeper understanding of the people you adore, the things that make you tick and what you love most about life.

For more about Arnoldy and to check out this and her other books, visit https://francescalynnarnoldy.com/

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