Sally Gabriel is an end of life Doula. Listen to our beautiful discussion about how to end life with grace and peace.

Dr. Sally Gabriel is an End of Life Doula based in Sarasota, Florida. She is passionate about helping others get comfortable talking about and planning for death. She’s reinvented herself numerous times as a gerontologist, a banking executive, a nutritionist, and a health and wellness coach. She holds graduate degrees in psychology, finance, and nutrition, plus certifications in coaching and end of life work.

In this episode of the Woman of Value Podcast:

  • What is an End of Life Doula
  • The advantages to talking about death
  • Why we need to normalize planning for death

S5 EP 5 – Sally Gabriel – Becoming an End of Life Doula

Audio

Video

WHAT DOES WOMAN OF VALUE MEAN TO YOU?

We all have inherent value and worth just by existing. She is a woman who recognizes her value and can use it to bring good to the world.

BECOMING AN END OF LIFE DOULA: YOUR ‘AHA’ MOMENT

The first was when I was 45 and got chronic fatigue syndrome. I was working as a bank executive, had two young babies, and I was burnt out. I was forced to give up my career and start over. It took years – therapy and body work to get well enough.

I studied health and lifestyle coaching next. Then, I had another aha moment. I always had discomfort around death. My first real experience was when both of my parents got ill the same year. They were divorced and lived in different states, but I took care of both of them. My mother died in a hospital on a ventilator. She was alone. My father had an agonizing final nine days, even on hospice care. It felt wrong.

Several years later, a friend who was dying of lung disease if I’d take care of her. I said yes and cared for her for four months. I helped her through her death process. It was difficult but also very special. It was intimate.

After she died, I was inspired and worked as a volunteer for hospice. Then I became an End of Life Doula or a death doula.

THE PRESENT AS AN END OF LIFE DOULA

As an End of Life Doula, I put in as much time as the client needs. I support emotionally and spiritually, but not medically. There’s not enough emotional support for grief and trauma around death. We are by the bedside as much as people want us to be. We plan the entire event leading to death. Music, people they want to be there, the room, etc.

THE FUTURE

I want to educate people about death. I am going to hold a death cafe so people can talk about death. I’d like to grow my business and form a collective or alliance in my area. We have a group of 11 doulas now. We can support each other with coverage especially during the final days of life.

THE LIGHTNING ROUND

I used to think I wasn’t lovable enough.

What was the #1 thing holding you back from becoming a woman
of value? My conditioning. Growing up in the fifties and sixties, the conventional wisdom didn’t serve me well. I’ve had to unlearn it all and start over. 

What’s the best advice you can give to a woman who wants to
become more empowered? Watch yourself talk. I don’t think we realize how we talk to ourselves. Learn how to be kinder to yourself through self-compassion.

What advice would you give to your younger self? I would tell my younger self to learn meditation. It’s made a big difference in my life. Find a source of inner nourishment. 

What’s something people get wrong about you? People think because I’m serious and intense, I don’t have a sense of humor. I do!

How would you like to be remembered? As someone who has developed qualities of the heart: empathy, compassion, and kindness, and the ability to love in a way that makes others feel special, and hopefully pass that on to my children and people I come into contact with.

 

Connect with Sally

Website: EpilogueCare.com

Facebook: Epilogue End of Life Care

LinkedIn: Sally Gabriel Ph.D.


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