Vigils, Doulas, Saints and Angels...it’s hard for me to distinguish among these.
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of leading part of a training event for our Vigil Volunteers (as we call them…others call them doulas). I think saints and angels might be better.
What a group…Willing to go to the bedside of the dying at all hours of the day and dark hours of the midnight shift…soul-shaking commitment.
Who was I to try to tell them how to do their work? It’s either in your heart or it isn’t. I have sat by the bed of many a person dying, no family, no friends, no one. Dying alone doesn’t remotely sound inviting. Heart cries out to heart, soul reaches out for soul…we need each other, particularly at life’s final moment. “I’m afraid.” “I feel cold.” “Does God really love me?” “Where am I going when I close my eyes?” “Can you hold my hand, please?” Then, silence… Death is approaching.
Providing vigils with readings, methods, boundaries, and the like are necessary. Heart is more necessary. I can’t teach that. I sat in awe as I read the “Loss Exercise” and watched this group weep over what they were choosing to lose when it came to their own health (as they related to the story in the Loss Exercise). If you don’t have that piece, ask and I’ll send it. Tenderhearted group. I urged each to be sure they took care of themselves as tenderhearted people sometimes get lost in the chaos of life.
So, these are my thoughts on vigils, doulas, saints and angels. The ground I trod that training day was surely holy ground…