Pamela Jackson: CareDoula® School of Accompanying the Dying

August 15, 2021

Listen to Pamela's experience while studying the end of life doula role in our CareDoula® School of Accompanying the Dying.

Video Transcript

Speaker: Pamela Jackson, CareDoula® Student

What is your name? Where do you live? What do you do for a living?

Pamela Jackson: Hi, my name is Pamela Jackson and I live in Winter Park, Florida. I'm currently between career paths as I ended my career and education of 33 years when I resigned from my principal position in Costa Rica last year, and then I found the end-of- life doula path and started that journey.

What inspired you to want to be an end-of-life doula (or study this role)?

Pamela Jackson: When I first heard of what an end-of-life doula does, I knew immediately that that was the path I needed to follow. When I was in college, I had a terrible experience of having three family members to die within a nine month period. And then, 20 years later when my mother was elderly and she was dying, my brother and sisters and I all worked together to support that process and help her. We were a resource for each other. We brought our skills to the table even though they were all different. Everybody knew what their role was and we worked together to really have the best experience possible for my mother as she was dying. They were onlookers that saw the process and they were amazed, and they talked about how exceptional it was and how blessed we were. And we realized it was such a blessing for us to all have each other and for us to all be on board with how we would work with our mom. So, when I heard of end-of-life doulas, I thought, wow, here's my opportunity to provide a similar kind of support to other people when their family members are dying.

What has been your experience working with Deanna? What's the biggest change you have noticed so far?

Pamela Jackson: It has been a complete pleasure working with Deanna. She's so supportive, she's so knowledgeable, and she's so down to earth. She understands where we're coming from and she makes the material accessible to people that are not in the medical profession. The coaching sessions that she offers are amazing because there are other people on the calls, and so they asked questions, and I learned things that I might not even have thought to ask. So, they're really informative and really helpful. One of the biggest changes that I noticed so far is my knowledge base has just grown so much. I had taken another doula certification program that was excellent, but this provides different kinds of information. It shows me how I can do this as a business. When I started her course, I thought 'oh, I could do this. and I could do this. And oh, I could do that, yeah, maybe I'll do this.' And she works really hard to help us realize where our skill sets are already, what we already have knowledge of, and how we can use that in our deliberate business. So, I'm really thankful for her helping me focus and kind of hone in my skills and not be afraid to use what I already know and what I've been doing in my life previous to this doula course.

How do you see yourself using this training in your life?

Pamela Jackson: I'm not even halfway through the program and I've already learned so much that has allowed me to have different kinds of informed conversations with people who are facing life limiting illnesses themselves, or an illness or end of life scenarios with a family member. And, so, I'm really grateful that my knowledge base has expanded and I can be more of a resource. Going forward, one of the things that I really want to do is to follow Deanna's advice to use what I already know and apply that to what I want to do as a doula. So, I've been an educator over 33 years, and what I've decided is that if we really want to change this death-phobic society and make a move from conversations about death being uncomfortable and taboo, to something more normalized, we really need to start working with children. And, so, what I would like to do is create a curriculum that would be used in school by school counsellors and by health classes to help have conversations around death and dying, around illness, so that students can become more comfortable if they have someone who dies, they understand what it means to grieve, and that you don't hide it and pretend like everything's okay. So that they would know what kinds of things maybe to say and not say. If they have a friend who had a family member, die a grandparent or a parent or someone else they love. And basically to open up the conversation and to help it become something more a part of our lives. Just like every other aspect of our lives, death is something that we all have to face. And, so, I think it's really important to use the education system to really start making a change. And I'm really grateful because I think if it hadn't been for this class, this program, and Deanna constantly saying 'use what you know,' I don't know if I would have come to this conclusion. And the other thing that I want to do is work on a Children's book about dying because I think that's a really good way for families to start having conversations, too. Thank you, Deanna. I love this program and I am so grateful that you created it for us to continue to support us.

Produced with Vocal Video