Planning and compassionate support
for end-of-life transitions

What is an End-of-Life Doula?

End-of-life doulas (sometimes referred to as death doulas or death midwives) provide non-medical support to those who are dying and often to their family. By discussing wishes for living well before death, current challenges and what the client would like to accomplish, the doula, client and family tailor a plan for services. The doula provides emotional, spiritual, psychological and practical support and information. The doula also works with Hospice and others on the client’s care team.

Put your affairs in order & your mind at ease

You may be fairly healthy and are asking yourself:

  • What do I need to do to make sure all my affairs are in order?
  • How can I talk to my family about my health care wishes?
  • If I died tomorrow, would they be able to easily find everything needed to navigate the winding down of my life?

Pre-Planning services may be right for you.

You may have been recently diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness and are asking yourself:

  • What do I need to have in place for myself? For my loved ones?
  • Who will provide support to me through this?
  • Is there something that I would like to do or experience in my remaining days?
  • What is really important to me right now?
  • Is there something I need to say or leave behind that expresses what my life has meant or what others have meant to me?

End-of-Life Doula services may be right for you.

Philosophy

Thinking about and preparing for a serious medical event or the end of life can seem overwhelming. I will listen to you and meet you where you are. We can explore your thoughts, feelings, practical needs and wishes to create a plan to make this time as meaningful as possible. I will work with your medical care team and Hospice to provide you and those closest to you with non-medical support so that you may fulfill your end-of-life goals as well as possible. I believe that consciously acknowledging our life, our dying and our inevitable death brings peace of mind when the time comes.

Services

Full End-of-Life Doula Services for those who are in Imminent Need

Pre-planning for end of life:

  • Consider options and complete advance health care directives.
  • Encourage and facilitate end-of-life family discussions.
  • Provide references to other professional services.

Support the person who is dying:

  • Discuss your wishes for what would help you feel at ease in your final moments and gather what is needed for your support at this time.
  • Keep you company and provide calming or meditative practices.
  • Sit with you during your final days or moments.

Support loved ones:

  • Provide support so that caregivers may take time for themselves.
  • Give practical and emotional support.

Medical Aid in Dying:

  • Discuss with and connect you with resources for this option, if you so choose.
  • Support you and loved ones during the MAID process.

Create life review:

  • Help you reflect upon your life and document, in writing, video or otherwise, your story and what meaning your life has given to you.

Create personal legacy:

    • Consider something that you would like to leave behind that expresses who you are, what is important to you, lessons you have learned and perhaps what you would like others to know.

Pre-Planning Services for those who are Relatively Healthy

  • Explore wishes and needs.
  • Organize health, legal, financial documents.
  • Organize home technology and other practical information.
  • Educate about options for after-death services and final resting place.
  • Create Important File containing all end-of-life instructions and important documents.

Contact Linda today to schedule a

free phone consultation. 

707 321-6137

linda@autumnoflifeplanning.com

Linda’s Story

After an eight-year journey with Alzheimer’s Disease, my beloved partner, Dave, died peacefully at home on Hospice care surrounded by loved ones. My “on-the-job training” as his caregiver had taught me much more than the practical aspects of caregiving. I learned this gem from Dave: Acknowledging that the end of life is near sparks us to savor the precious moments that are left, discard the superfluous and find the zest for truly living life to the fullest.

A decade earlier, after watching both his parents suffer with dementia, Dave carefully considered his own future and wrote clear medical care instructions for the late stage of Alzheimer’s Disease. He thoroughly discussed these instructions with his loved ones. Then we went sailing for three adventurous years.

Years later, when Dave was in the late stage of Alzheimer’s Disease and could no longer speak for himself, we were faced with hard decisions. Even though it was difficult, we were confident we were making the right choices and honoring Dave’s wishes. His foresight, in essence, was a gift to us. It was then that I realized the vital importance of end-of-life planning in informing end-of-life care and quality of life.

Though he had planned well overall, Dave had neglected to update his trust, which caused conflict between the beneficiaries and a year and a half of unnecessary strife and stress. Through practical experience serving as Trustee, I learned firsthand the importance of good planning and the pitfalls of leaving things undone.

These personal experiences as Dave’s caregiver and trustee motivated me to help others. After his death, I immersed myself in learning everything I could about how to prepare for the end of life. I completed the comprehensive End-of-Life Doula Training with nationally acclaimed doula Alua Arthur of Going with Grace. I attended myriad workshops, lectures and courses and read many books and articles on all aspects of preparing for and caring at the end of life from the practical to the spiritual. I loved and continue to love learning about this vital calling and serving others.

My practice encompasses the full spectrum of end-of-life needs. I am well-versed in pre-planning and often work with those who are relatively healthy and are looking to put their affairs in order. I created the Important File for this purpose.

I also support those who are actively dying, along with their caregivers, in the medley of care needed at the end of life. By deeply listening to my clients, I follow their lead and strive to honor their wishes. My clients describe me as compassionate, organized, encouraging, sensitive and as an excellent communicator. I bring my heart along with my resources to the table and to the bedside to meet their needs.

Experience, Affiliations & Interests

25 years as a K-12 and adult education teacher

Training in the field of end-of-life planning including:

  • Going with Grace End-of-Life Doula Training
  • An Organized Afterlife Workshop – Organizing Assets
  • Final Passages, Honoring Life’s Final Passage, Level 1
  • Osher Lifelong Learning – The Gift, End-of-Life Planning
  • Reimagine End of Life – Conversations on Death, Illness, Grief and Life
  • BA ELDA (Bay Area End-of-Life Doula Alliance) – Friend
  • NEDA (National End of Life Doula Alliance) – NEDA Proficient Member
  • ACAMAID (American Clinicians Academy for Medical Aid in Dying) – Completion of Aid-in-Dying Training for End-of-Life Doulas and Bedside-Attendants

Participate in and co-lead the monthly Oakmont Café Mortel meetings where people discuss thoughts, ideas and concerns about dying and death in an informal setting.

I enjoy living in an active senior community, Oakmont, in Santa Rosa, California. I grew up in Napa and taught in schools in California, Japan and Syria. While traveling near and far in my younger years, I now enjoy the bounties of Sonoma County where you will find me cooking up my farmers market finds, practicing yoga, walking my dog, Tilly, or hiking the nearby hills. I have one son who currently resides in Indonesia. Before moving to Oakmont, I sailed the US East Coast and eastern Caribbean for three years with my beloved Captain Dave on our 45-foot sloop, Wayward Wind.

Musings from Linda

August 24, 2021 in 2021

Option at Life’s End

On Friday, 8/13/21, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat posted an in depth and poignant article about a senior citizen, Ralph Harms, who had been suffering from skin cancer for a…
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April 27, 2021 in 2021

Spring has Sprung

Winter’s dull gray has waned; spring’s vibrant color has blossomed.  That other winter - "pandemic winter" - is winding down with the birth of "vaccination spring" and a glimpse of…
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Testimonials

What a pleasure it is to work with Linda Suhr on our end of life planning. When it comes to coaching her clients through the process of gathering important papers and information and completing their planning, Linda is super organized, trustworthy, knowledgeable and compassionate. She is a treasure for anyone who wants to get their affairs in order. I feel such peace of mind knowing I can quickly grab my important documents and go in case of evacuation or emergency. I highly recommend her!

Osha Hayden

I thought I was pretty organized and had everything in order until I asked Linda to share her expertise with me. In the process of using her document checklist I discovered a death benefit I didn’t even know I had. It then occurred to me that the pre-paid cremation service I had bought in the past was redundant. Linda is gentle, and thorough, and understands that everyone is unique. I feel like the plan we made together is personally tailored to me and it gives me great peace of mind knowing we thoroughly explored all necessary aspects to put my affairs in good order. I highly recommend her.

Christine Finn

As the daughter of one of Linda's clients, I am so grateful for the guidance she has provided my parents as they put together difficult but important information. It is not an easy conversation to have with our loved ones, but it is so helpful and will be even more appreciated when the time comes to know everything is in order and we can honor our loved ones' wishes.

Emily Finn

Linda has been amazing in helping me get my affairs in order. I thought I was prepared until my husband passed away and then I realized how much more I need to consider documenting so that my family would know all of my wishes if something unexpected happened to me.

Karen Donnelly

Pricing

  • For end-of-life doula services, I offer an initial complimentary 60-minute meeting to discuss how doula support may help you and your loved ones feel a sense of calm and completeness as you live your remaining days.
  • For pre-planning services, I offer a complimentary 25-minute phone consultation to discuss your pre-planning needs and how I may support you.
  • For both services, I offer an hourly rate and packages. Once we determine how I can best serve your needs, we will tailor a plan to suit you.
  • Meetings may be by phone, Zoom or in person depending on current county health requirements.