END-OF-LIFE DOULA &
End-of-life Doulas (EOLDs) provide non-medical, holistic support and comfort to the dying and their beloveds and families, which may include education and guidance as well as emotional, spiritual and practical care, from as early as initial diagnosis through bereavement (from National End-of-Life Doula Alliance-NEDA). End-of-life Doulas are a bridge between hospice and the medical team. EOLDs fill the gaps, collaborate and don’t usurp the hospice and medical roles.
Over the last 7 years Jess has worked with a small collective as well as independently as a death doula and grief guide. She studied with Merilynne Rush and Patty Brennan at Lifespan Doulas in 2016, and is currently on the teaching team for The Dying Year under Merilynne Rush. Jess is a Certified EOLD through Lifespan Doulas and is a member and holds the proficiency badge with the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance (NEDA), is also a member of the National Home Funeral Alliance (NHFA) and is a member, student, and teacher at the Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath and Death where Jess has studied extensively with Amy Wright Glenn. Jess is trained in Final Touch (trademarked) and has previously been a hospice volunteer massage therapist.
Jess provides a holistic approach to end-of-life, after-death and grief care. She educates, empowers and supports the dying and their loved ones. Because of her extensive training and experience, she is able to offer a skilled, unique and professional experience to those looking for an End-of-Life Doula and a grief guide. Jess’s intention as an EOLD is to hold space for a meaningful, supported and comfortable death for the dying, their beloveds, and families
-Are you a loved one/caregiver? Are you someone on the sacred journey of your dying? Are you grieving? Would you like to book a complementary call to ask questions, find out how I can support you and what support you actually NEED, and navigate this sacred threshold? Go ahead and reach out to schedule right here.
-Are you considering work in community death care as an EOLD or grief worker? Are you new to the death trade as an EOLD?Jess also mentors and offers 30-minute consultation calls to folx thinking about stepping into the death doula/grief trade and to fresh death doulas just entering the trade. Would you like to ask questions, hear more about Jess' path, want a bit of support about next steps? Reach out to book a time. These are not complementary, but so worth the support you will receive.
Thank you so much Jess for your consult and affirming many of things that you did about the process, the emotions, the mystery of it all. I really enjoyed our consult and I feel more free to talk about things associated with dying as they apply to my life and others. (Especially now after having spoken with an expert in the field! ) I appreciated our consult and will definitely reach out again in the future.
All About GRIEF
My lineage of grief work and experience extends throughout most of my life, but starting in the first grade with the death of my paternal grandfather, then family dogs, and then in the 6th grade with the sudden and tragic death of a classmate and friend. Grief continues to guide the ways in which I make offerings to the world, anchored in decades of formal collective community grief ritual rooted in the ways of the Dargara Tribe of Burkina Faso and shared by Sobonfu Some' and Malidoma Some', certified as an End-of-Life Doula, Grief Work training and Loving, Dying, and Letting Go Instructor training with Amy Wright at The Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath, and Death, direct work with Francis Weller and his offering: The Five Gates of Grief, and a grief coaching certification through From Grief to Gratitude™ Grief Coaching and numerous personal and collective experiences of holding space for grief. I am Grateful to all of my teachers and beloved ancestors, that have in some way or another led me to this moment in my life of learning, opening and welcoming this space in myself for grief to be tended and of the refusal to live numb. Grateful to the elements, the seasons, and the natural world who are my greatest teachers and support when I am grieving. Grateful to grief and death as teachers. Grateful to all the grievers who entrust me to hold sacred space with their grief.
"Grief registers the sorrows that befall everything that matters deeply to our souls. Our hearts kept flexible, fluid, and open to the world through this closeness with loss." Francis Weller
Jess offers a number of dying, death, and grief services:
Initial consultations for end of life and grief which will consist of a conversation via phone or zoom
End-of-life decision making-advanced care planning, education around funeral and burial options, memorial/ceremony ritual creation, referrals to power of attorney for finances and will/estate
Coordination of care, household support, logistical support-may look like brainstorming and utilizing community and loved ones close by
Respite for caregiver-TBD based on Jess' availability
Comfort measures for the dying including but not limited to: Reiki/comfort touch massage, creating a soothing and peaceful environment, reading, playing music, guided visualization, aromatherapy, breath work, life-review/legacy projects-TBD based on Jess' availability
Holding vigil-help organize and participate in holding space during final days/hours-TBD based on Jess' availability
Education and information
Mediation and advocacy-with family, as well as, serving as a liaison with the medical personnel, hospice team, staff at care facilities, funeral home etc.-TBD based off Jess' availability
Emotional support-for caregivers and the dying
After Death Care-assistance with/guidance with the body immediately following death, preparations for a home funeral, if desired, helping with funeral arrangements, creating and officiating the funeral/memorial ceremony, implementing religious and spiritual ritual important to the family,
Bereavement and Grief support for individual, family, community, and places of work
1:1 and group Grief Coaching, Individual and community Grief Ritual, Grief Retreat, Collective Grief groups and experiences
Community Education and informational presentations
Jess will always make referrals to community resources whenever possible
Please inquire with Jess about your unique needs for EOLD and Grief services, as well as availability and investment for services. No one is turned away for lack of funds, especially those most impacted by economic injustice and racism. Thank you for your interest.
Additional Grief services with Jess:
Beautiful Grievers invites us to acknowledge, welcome, metabolize, integrate and alchemize our grief. This work came forward more fully and loudly after the quite sudden death of dear friend late fall 2021. It is clear that embodied grief work is necessary to our healing and movement forward in our day to day lives, as grief makes a home in our body. Grief can be so painful and can keep us stuck in living our authentic beautiful lives. Beautiful Grievers is medicine, it offers warmth and ease to the pain and hardness that grief sometimes shows up as, especially in our heart-space...I hope you feel called to the invitation to do grief work. I am here for it. I am here to support you in this most powerful journey. Group offerings offered several times a year.
"This course is a beautiful experience. Changed my life." A.B.-Beautiful Grievers alumni
Welcoming our Wholeness: A re-TREAT for our Grief, Gratitude, Joy, and all the things!
An annual fall weekend gathering of souls to rest in and be held by the land, community, and our wholeness to welcome and be present to grief, gratitude, joy and all the things we hold simultaneously in our lives. It is an invitation to rest, stillness, and healing.
"The Welcoming our Wholeness Retreat was facilitated by Jess Kilbourn. She was above and beyond prepared on so many levels: what we should bring, expectation of time use, implementing her Reiki, Yoga, aromatherapy, grief work, massage trainings etc. Weekend was shared with ease, love, joy, gentleness, honesty, professionalism, and balance."
From Grief to Gratitude™ Certified Grief Coaching
As a certified From Grief to Gratitude™ coach, I meet you where you are at and offer support from this place. This is a safe, brave, and nurturing space for you to acknowledge, feel, express, embody and tend your grief. By inviting and welcoming your grief, you are asked to be present to all that is, to welcome your wholeness from the messy to the joy. And to work with what is most alive for you at any given moment as you move forward and make meaning of your losses and fully grieve. There is no time-line, no expectations, just support, care, and a tender sacred space for your grief to BE and for you to heal. Session focus varies on where you are at, but always invite new possibilities for integrating and living your life alongside your grief. 1:1 sessions can be done virtually. Please inquire about availability for in-person coaching. Length of support varies based on each individuals intentions (goals). All grief and loss welcome, but especially grief related to pet loss, sudden death, and loss of identity.
This offering is for those who are in all stages of dying and for those looking for and needing massage/comfort touch that is gentle and skilled. This technique is great for frail and compromised bodies. Jess’s teachers for FTT would often talk about “having a strong back and soft heart”. This is that kind of work. Jess is there to make this part of the journey just a small bit better. In these sessions nothing is trying to be fixed or healed, space is held for comfort, touch and the beautiful unfolding of the death mystery. “We don’t try and solve the mystery, we live in the mystery (FTT teachers)”. Jess finds this work to be the most humbling of all her offerings. To sit bedside and share comfort touch as someone winds their way to death is an honor of the utmost. These times are calm, quiet and peaceful, like a prayer., These sessions are mobile, I do not bring a massage table, they are done either in a bed, on a couch or in a comfy chair, wherever the dying is most comfortable. Along with the regular rate, there is a mileage fee.
Holding Space for Grief bodywork sessions:
“The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and to be stretched large by them. How much sorrow can I hold? That’s how much gratitude I can give. If I carry only grief, I’ll bend toward cynicism and despair. If I have only gratitude, I’ll become saccharine and won’t develop much compassion for other people’s suffering. Grief keeps the heart fluid and soft, which helps make compassion possible.” Francis Ward Weller
No matter if you are experiencing a recent loss or a loss many moons ago, grief has no time-line. We all feel and live through grief at points in our lives. Grief lives within us, it is how we move with and through it that matters.
Grief is overwhelming and taxes our body systems. Grief impacts our nervous system, especially our sympathetic nervous system. Grief can cause tight muscles and limited range of motion (ROM) in our joints. We may feel fragmented, disengaged and lack vitality for life. Deep sadness overwhelms us and impacts our body and soul. These Holding Space for Grief sessions are to welcome integration, groundedness, and balance to the bereaved, to offer safety and feelings of being sheltered and held. In these sessions, I meet you where you are at.
These sessions are quiet, peaceful, gentle and lovingly supportive. These are not counseling sessions. Grief Coaching can certainly be added. Through my intuition and the use of various massage and bodywork modalities and essential oils (optional but encouraged), I listen to your body and your grief in guiding the way toward greater peace and integration.