Daily Devotion for Monday 4th December 2023

Monday, 4 December 2023 Amicus Mortis
As you come to know that you are fully and unconditionally loved, you will also come to know that you do not have to fear death. Love is stronger than death; God’s love was there for you before you were born and will be there for you after you have died.    
Henri Nouwen – The Weary Christian 
Reflection

It may seem quite strange to many people that death is included in Advent reflections. Death is similar to a birthing experience, where we will leave one reality and then be part of another way of being. Yes it is a mystery to us, yet God is still at the heart of our moving, present and waiting to embrace us as we enter, the ultimate Divine Midwife. 

For many people, death and dying can be a traumatic experience, and some never wish to talk about death in any shape or form, however as a recently qualified End-of-Life Doula companion, sometimes called a Death Doula, (Doula is a Greek word for female servant)  I realised I had been undertaking this role for many years. 

A Death Doula, is sometimes called ‘Amicus Mortis’, (in Latin it means a ‘Friend at/in Death’), someone who journeys and supports people emotionally, spiritually and holds that person in the sacred space between life and death, and allows them to die with their choices in place, with grace and dignity. 

As a nurse and minister I have been a friend with death since I was 18 years old, and for me it has always been a privilege. For me, it is the last act of unconditional love that we can give another person, to give of ourselves as they take their final breath, to sit in silence, to hold a hand, or to play their favourite piece of music. 

A Doula encourages a person-centred death, where the person who is dying has the control, of who to see or not see, to what the environment will be like, to supporting family members who are grieving and unsure how to react….a friend who will stay by their side.

Prayer

God, source of unconditional love,
enable me to love the dying
until they pass through the veil of death.
Jesus, my teacher,
enable me to reach my hand and be a companion in their last days
until they see your hand reach out to them in welcome.
Spirit who lives within us all,
may my last act of tenderness be one rooted in the one Love
until your dance of death becomes a dance of resurrection.

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Ruth Dillon is a retired URC minister, member at Glenorchy URC, Exmouth and the Quakers Community, Exmouth and an End of life Doula with End of Life UK and with Dying with Grace, affordable South Devon Doula Support 

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