My name is Shelby Kirillin. As a clinically certified Neuroscience ICU trauma nurse with 20 years of experience I’ve had the privilege to be a part of many people’s journey through dying and ultimately, death. And what I’ve seen in those rare occasions when people accept death & dying, they depart this world spiritually fulfilled & content. This contentment spreads to the family and allows an event, which is usually permeated with fear, to be instead filled with hope & grace.
Doula is the Greek word for “woman who serves.” It’s usually associated with those who assist in childbirth. But more & more, doulas are helping people with leaving the world. They provide informational, physical & emotional support for you or your loved ones to help navigate through complicated aspects of life – leading to a good death. End of Life Doulas help ensure you are able to make the best-informed decisions possible about your final days or of those you love.
As an End of Life Doula I work with people exploring options for care prior to death & after, this ensures that your care is managed according to your wishes. As an End-of-Life Doula I help you become fully informed of options. This allows you to exercise maximum control over your medical care & representation, as well of what will happen once you are gone. The process of discussing our mortality can create peace-of-mind, paving the way for more joyful living, secure in the knowledge that you’ve taken the steps to ensure your wishes.
Whether you’ve opted to die at home or are under hospital or hospice care, I help provide physical, emotional, spiritual and informational care & support. Depending on your wishes, I can:
Make regular visits; Provide coaching support; Help assemble end-of-life documents, such as advanced directives; Produce a personalized occasion to say “goodbye” to your loved ones; Perform blessing ways, forgiveness circles and other ceremonies tailored to you & your loved one’s wishes.
WHAT I AM NOT
I am not a replacement for hospice
I don’t take the place of chaplains, clergy or spiritual leaders
In 2012, I was honored to help guide a friend, along with her family, through her dying process. I was able to hold the space for the family as they coped with their mother/wife’s last weeks. Some of what I did was offer basic comforts, while other times my support was deeper and more spiritually based. I was able to help give them the death she wanted. After her passing I found myself asking, “Why shouldn’t everyone have that gift?” I encountered many people who looked back on their loved one’s passing and said, “I wish I had…” My answer came when I realized that the grieving family is lost, unable to have the strength to know where to look or how to achieve it. Many are so uncomfortable with death that the infinite possibilities of a “good death” don’t occur to them.
I want to guide the actively dying person, and their family, through this spiritually filled journey. I believe death, as in birth, can be a powerful, awe-inspiring moment if one allows it. More times than not, the client has an intention of their death but doesn’t know how to fulfill it. I believe that I was put on this earth to serve others during the dying process. I understand that this approach isn’t for everyone but, for those that it does speak to, I hope to one day help guide them towards their own peaceful passing.
I was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina in 1976. My family relocated to Frederick, Maryland where I spent most of my childhood. In 1998, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. In time, I became a clinically certified Neuroscience ICU trauma nurse. I married my college sweetheart in 2000 & we moved to Richmond, Virginia to pursue our careers. We have three exuberant children. Outside my practice, my interests include: hiking, camping, & reading.