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African American Doulas

by Jasmine Ledesma

When you enter the Loyal Hands website, you are immediately greeted by a soft light while a dandelion gently sheds. Then, a family at the mouth of an ocean, letting go of paper lanterns humming brightly with candles. It is all very beautiful.

It comes as a surprise, then, to come upon the realization that Loyal Hands are end of life doulas — people who provide support for the dying. Based in Orlando, Florida and relatively new to the scene, the members of Loyal Hands are looking to reinvent the way we discuss and handle people who are dying. In such a fast-paced, detached society it is so easy to mishandle somebody’s death due to not being able to find the proper support you need. And in that same vein, it has never been easier.

Loyal Hands offers a multitude of services. From one-on-one consultations with a person and their loved ones regarding steps for after the death to legacy work — the gathering and preparation of a person’s best moments, memories and stories with the purpose of sharing them with not only the person’s family but for generations to come. They will even provide the physical presence needed for a family to conduct a vigil. Unlike midwives, they do not take any sort of medical approach to assisting the dying person at hand and instead focus on more therapeutic approaches. It is important to note that Loyal Hands is an organization created by young, black individuals. They are, as they describe themselves on the Loyal Hands website, “…patient-centered and family-oriented to provide mental, physical, emotional and spiritual holistic support for our patients and their loved ones during the end of life transition.” You can find Loyal Hands across a multitude of platforms such as YouTube, where they have posted a few videos, all of them beneath a minute long making them easily digestible and to the point. They use these videos to describe the services they offer in the most simplistic way possible. Featuring colorful animation and a voice-over, they drive their point home. “Death is not limited to the physical aspect.” It is much more of an emotional and spiritual experience above all else. It is the leaving but it is also the place where something new is gained and Loyal Hands is there to help you realize that.

Other social media platforms such as Instagram, feature a series of services offered posted upon lilac-colored backgrounds — Financial Chi and Mental Chi, two of the five Chi’s of the end of life transition. Alongside that, quotes. Most having to do with the general theme of death and life, how they cannot exist separate from each other. One features a drawing of an empty hospital bed surrounded by ghosts and reads, “…the beautiful irony is that our loss is another’s reunion.” That, in a way, surmises exactly what Loyal Hands is all about. Merging two realities in the most caring way possible. That is, the reality of a loved one’s death and the reality of the family being left behind. They are not trying to erase the finality of the experience, but instead, find that having proper support during the experience can make it much less painful and actually, can turn it into more of a celebratory time of somebody’s life. It can even be beautiful.



Although they are based in Florida, the excellent care and support offered by Loyal Hands is worldwide, reaching out to whoever needs them. You can reach out to them by email or phone, both of which can be found on their website.

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