Our Journal

Melbourne Death Doula, Maria Lazovic

Recently at Tomorrow, we were lucky enough to cross paths with Melbourne based End-of-Life Doula, Maria Lazovic. 

An End-of-Life Doula, sometimes referred to as a “Death Doula” or “Deathwalker” is a professional who provides non-medical support and guidance to individuals and their families during the dying process. 

They offer emotional support, resources, education, and companionship, helping to create a peaceful and empowering environment.

We were struck by Maria’s warmth, integrity and breadth of knowledge in the death and dying space. 

If you’re looking for a Melbourne Death Doula, we can help you and would highly recommend the services of Maria Lazovic. 

Maria, tell us about what led you to your work as an End-of-Life Doula?

At a turning point in my life, I had the opportunity and will to take a different direction and from inspiration I literally created the ‘job’ of death midwife in my mind. This inspiration probably came from a long-held interest, and some experience in my own life, with death. I was very surprised when I began my research phase and learnt that death doulas already existed! I had never heard of them before. That’s how my journey started.

What special skills do you have that make you a good End of Life Doula?

A willingness to be with people at a transitional, profound and often very difficult time in their life. Just being a peaceful presence and offering practical support, without further overwhelming a person, who already feels overwhelmed and upset, is often the best gift one can offer.

Tell us a little bit about your background

I started my working life in the corporate world at consultancy firms and international NGOs. After having children, I retrained as a psychotherapist and I now work in private practice as well as offering death doula services.

What are your thoughts about the funeral industry in general?

It’s wonderful to see that the funeral industry is evolving with the times and now more players have entered the market offering more choice and flexibility. This can only be a good thing.

What do you like about the Tomorrow Funerals model?

Simplifying processes and focusing on memorials can be enormously healing for many people. I’ve had clients that have expressed just how important it was for them to be have an active part and voice in the creation of the memorial ceremony and be supported in this process. They felt that it was a very powerful way of participating in the act of honouring the life of their loved one. There is normally at least one family member or close friend who is inspired to take hold of this opportunity to creatively channel love and grief in this way. All the others present at the memorial greatly benefit from this person’s efforts and act of love. 

What advice would you give to a family who wants to organise a funeral?

Engage a doula to support you or ask a trustworthy family member or friend for support in terms of exploring and really finding out what’s possible. When we are in shock and deep grief, processing this information is difficult.

What’s one thing you wish every family knew after a death has occurred?

After someone dies, there is no rush to call a funeral home or do anything at all. Position their body so they appear dignified and graceful, close their eyelids and mouth. Perhaps light a candle. Make a cup of tea and spend some time with your loved one after death. Your care for them and being with them can extend to after death. There is another layer of loss and grief that happens when their body is taken away to the mortuary, so take your time with this part of the process. It’s perfectly legal.

What’s the most important thing in planning a funeral for someone you love?

Finding out before their death or from conversations with others, if there was anything important to them regarding their own funeral and carrying out their wishes. Some people have many wishes, some have only one and some have none. The other important thing is to make sure to include all the people that should be included and wish to be included in the funeral planning at each stage.

What’s the most incredible end of life experience that you have ever been a part of?

My friend Stan, who was a musician and dying of cancer, had a living funeral in the local small country town hall. All his musician friends joined us and we all came to say goodbye to Stan. Between songs, dancing, eating and talking, from the stage Stan spoke about his impending death. Together we beared witness to the truth of our physical mortality and created in our imaginations a safe place, saturated with love, to assist Stan in the intense work of withdrawing from this physical world when the time came.

What do you get out of being an End-of-Life Doula?

It’s a privilege to be trusted and allowed into these very intimate and vulnerable human moments.

What is important for you at your own funeral?

I would hope that the family and friends of those closest to my loved ones are there for them after my death.

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