Oak Bay resident Chelsea Peddle specializes in end-of-life planning. (Courtesy of Chelsea Peddle)

Oak Bay resident Chelsea Peddle specializes in end-of-life planning. (Courtesy of Chelsea Peddle)

Life is finite, death should be planned for, says Oak Bay death doula

Chelsea Peddle says COVID-19 is a reminder that life can end suddenly

COVID-19 has reminded people that you can never know when death will be at your doorstep, according to an Oak Bay death doula who specializes in end-of-life planning.

Chelsea Peddle has been helping people prepare for death since 2017, but this year she’s seen some significant changes.

“I’ve never been so busy,” Peddle said. “There’s definitely an uptick in people who want to prepare for their future.”

About half of her clients are people with terminal illnesses and their caregivers, and the other half are people planning ahead and getting their affairs in order in case of death.

Peddle said working with her terminally ill clients through the pandemic has been heartbreaking.

“We all have this idea that we have this bucket list that we’ll get to and we all have this vision of what we imagine our end of life to be like,” she said. “So much of that is impossible right now.”

Clients are spending their final days stuck at home, often unable to say goodbye to their loved ones. And, Peddle said, with strict restrictions on gathering, most clients only have one person taking care of them. Those caregivers are overwhelmed.

“They’re pretty much having to do it all by themselves. They can’t call on their usual network to come in and offer respite.”

For her clients who aren’t terminally ill, Peddle thinks the pandemic brought the possibility of death to the forefront of their minds.

“They’re heeding this message that COVID-19 is sending them that they need to get their affairs in order,” she said. Peddle said planning ahead allows people to figure out their values, what they want in their final days, and how to repair any relationships they may not want to leave broken.

“It’s a really beautiful opportunity to do a bit of self-reflection while you’re preparing for the end,” she said. But, she added, a person doesn’t have to be close to death to lay out an end-of-life plan.

“Don’t wait for a crisis to hit to start having those conversations. The time to have those is not in the ER,” Peddle said. She recently released a planning guide called My Personal Comfort Plan to help people at all stages of life. In the case that a person falls ill, the plan can guide loved ones in how to care for them in the best way possible.

“Preparing for your future is a huge gift to your future self,” Peddle said. And with the future so uncertain right now, Peddle said there has never been a better time to do so.

CoronavirusDeathfuneralGreater Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man with a history of sexual offences was arrested after he followed and aggressively tried to talk to two young woman on the weekend. Black Press File Photo
Man convicted of sexual offences arrested after young women followed in Victoria

Women hid in a Quadra Village convenience store as man aggressively tried to get in

Current unmarked residential streets are 50 km/h, but Greater Vancouver municipalities might consider dropping that to 30 km/h. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay, Esquimalt and Sidney join Saanich in application to reduce residential road speeds to 30 km/h

Victoria also taking part in pilot to change default speed to 30 km/h from 50 km/h

An employee at Sidney’s Thrifty Foods tested positive for COVID-19, the parent company Sobeys posted on its website Wednesday. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
COVID-19 case reported at Sidney grocery store

Thrifty Foods employee last worked at the store April 3

Despite a staff recommendation supporting for what would have been Sidney’s third retail location for recreational cannabis, council signalled its opposition to the application by a vote of 5-2. The proposed store would have been located in the 9700-block on Third Street sharing space with other businesses. (Black Press Media File)
Sidney rejects proposal for third cannabis location in community

Application from Jima Cannabis to open a store in 9700-block of Third Street goes down by 5-2 vote

A Sooke man died Tuesday afternoon after his car left the roadway in 7500-block of West Coast Road around 1:30 p.m. and hit a tree. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke man dies in Tuesday crash on West Coast Road

The man’s SUV left the roadway and struck a tree

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tsunami?

Tsunamis have claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people between 1998… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

One of the grand prizes for this year's Hometown Heroes Lottery includes a seaside home at SookePoint, $1.5 million, and an Audi Quattro. (Photo courtesy of Hometown Heroes)
Hometown Heroes Lottery features seaside home in Sooke

A stunning seaside home in Sooke could be yours for the price… Continue reading

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)
Hul’q’umi’num street signs installed in downtown Duncan

Partnership with Cowichan Tribes sees English street names twinned with Indigenous language

Homicide investigators who asked not to be identified put up signs Wednesday, April 14, along the Nanaimo Parkway in the area where a body was found March 31. RCMP are asking for witnesses or dash cam footage as the suspicious death has now been ruled a homicide. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Suspicious death along the highway in Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

RCMP identify victim as Randell Charles Thomas, repeat call for any information related to the case

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

Most Read