Jessica Reis is a Death Doula, Shadow Empath and Life Coach. Jess believes that our grief is meant to be shared, nurtured, loved and witnessed, and that grief, loss and death are sacred.
Jess has made it her life’s work to create safe, inclusive, and healing spaces, both for those close to death and their loved ones.
*Content warning: this episode deals with some themes of sexual abuse and suicide. We want to give you the heads-up in case this is something that you may find difficult or distressing to listen to. You’ll find links to support services and crisis centres at the bottom of today’s show notes.
In this interview, we speak to Jess about:
– Jess’s calling to become an end-of-life companion, and her exploration of the ‘darker’ aspects of life
– Jess’s thoughts on why death is a taboo topic, particularly in Western cultures, and how history has changed our perception of death and mortality
– How death can become empowering through choice and control
– The sacredness of rite of passage and leaving your legacy behind
– What working with a death doula – modern or ancestral – can look like, and how Jess views her work as that of an ‘end-of-life bestie’ or death companion, advocating for not only desires but needs
– Honouring the emotion and intimacy involved in grief, death and dying, and leaning into shadow work
– Eulogising, celebrating and respecting all of the many losses – death and other – we experience through our lifetimes
– What Jess believes happens after death, and how she describes the afterlife
– How Jess envisages her own vigil, and why she believes death should be viewed as an opportunity to celebrate – not as “game over”
– The art of presence, and shifting perspective when it comes to understanding and embracing the human experience
– Jess’s thoughts on how to navigate a tragic, sudden or shocking death of a loved one, and how potent granting permission to grieve can be
– Suicide and self-death, and creating a supportive space – as well as opening conversation and building awareness
– The power of deep, human conversation
– Losing a parent and protector, and Tarra’s experience with losing her Mum
– How vital approaching the conversation around death and dying – and therefore combatting death anxiety, and processing adult emotion and pain – with children is
– The beauty and power of sharing your wishes for your passing with your group or coven, and Jess’s own death coven
– The regrets of, and lessons from, those approaching end-of-life
– Self-actualisation, living life to its full potential, and permission to live imperfectly
How to work with Jess:
If anything mentioned in today’s episode was difficult or distressing for you, please reach out to your local crisis centre.
Beyond Blue (Aus)
1800 RESPECT (Aus)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA)
National Sexual Assault Hotline (USA)