About Crossings with Lola

Lola is a qualified and experienced Counsellor, End-of-Life Consultant, and Independent Funeral Planner, specializing in holistic and unique, end-of-life support and care for both her clients and their families.

Lola offers a range of services including;

  • End-of-life planning
  • Counseling – specializing in grief & loss, children and family therapy
  • End-of-life respite care (including on-call support)
  • Home vigils
  • Funeral planning
  • Funeral celebrant services
  • Workshops & education courses

Lola’s first experience as a “death doula” came at the tender age of 21 years, where she supported a young mother through the loss of her stillborn child. Lola’s unique approach to end-of-life care has been developed over decades of combined professional and personal experiences gained through living and working cross-culturally throughout Europe and Australia.

Lola will tailor her end-of-life support services to ensure the individual needs and desires of each client and their families are met and managed with the upmost respect, dignity, kindness and care.


Lola is based in the Hunter Valley, but works with clients throughout New South Wales.


Lola Rus-Hartland

Counsellor & End-of-Life Consultant

Counselling Services

We journey together…

Whether you choose Personal Therapy, Relationship Therapy, Family Therapy, Child Therapy or Grief & Loss counselling, Lola’s approach is gentle and personal, but just like ‘reality’, it can, at times, also be challenging and confronting. However Lola will support you through this journey, equipping you with new skills and strategies to better manage the challenges you are confronting.

Grief & Loss counselling is often accompanied with End of Life support services. Lola’s counselling can help to guide all members of a family through the stages of a terminal diagnosis, sudden death, funeral planning and more.


Lola is a qualified counsellor, holding;

  • Bachelor of Social Work – Academy of Social Sciences, Rotterdam
  • Diploma of Child & Youth Studies and Pedagogy – Institute of Study De Wind-Roos, Rotterdam
  • Diploma of Counselling – Australian Institute of Professional Counselling (ACA Accredited)
  • Accredited Death Doula – Life Options


End of Live Service

What is Farewell Guidance ?

Farewell Guidance is the practice of helping people through their process of fare-welling life and loved ones, as well as guiding those loved ones through their own process of facing imminent loss and being supported in ‘letting go’.

Lola’s role is to create and hold a space of togetherness and warmth that supports everyone involved during this time of transition.

What is involved?

Lola will be involved through the last stage of life, helping you deal with the fears, tears, regrets and anything else that stands between you and a peaceful passing.

You may choose to share with me your Life Story. You might decide to hold a ‘Living Wake’ or many other meaningful rituals that evolve as Lola supports you through Farewell Guidance.

At other times, Lola might work with the family after their loved one has passed, helping them prepare for the home-vigil or funeral, if that is desired.

Together we can create a unique ceremony and funeral for your loved one. Lola will continue her support of the family with several after care visits.

Funeral Planning

Lola is an Independent Funeral Planner & Celebrant, and can coordinate all aspects of funeral planning including;

  • Transportation services
  • Home vigils including natural after-death care
  • Coffin selection & decoration
  • Funeral & celebrant services



Lola particularly specializes in unique, creative and personalized funerals, and greatly values the opportunity to work with families to create services that are a true reflection of the life lived by your loved one.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a death doula?

When you hear the word ‘doula’, you are likely to think of birth coach. However a death doula is specially trained to help with dying. Continuity of presence before and after death is the key value that differentiates a death doula from a traditional funeral director. A death doula will assist a dying individual and their family, before, during and after death, with a holistic, hands-on, non-medical approach to the fundamentally natural process of dying.

A death doula may assist a family in performing various post-death functions typically performed by funeral directors, such as washing and dressing the body; conducting a wake/viewing of the body; assisting the family in arranging the funeral/interment services; accessing and filling out necessary paperwork; as well as providing grief support and counselling.


Can you help care for my dying family member?

Lola offers a range of respite services to help families best manage the challenges associated with caring for a dying family member. Lola can provide day, evening and overnight respite support, and with prior arrangement, can be on-call for families in need.

Lola will care for your loved one with respect, kindness and dignity.


How should I tell my children about my terminal diagnosis?

Every family is unique, as is every terminal diagnosis – there is no one-size-fits-all approach. As such, Lola encourages families to engage with her counselling services in order to help determine the best way to navigate through this most difficult of times.

In order to develop the resilience, empathy and strength required to maneuver through life’s challenges, it’s essential that a child’s first experience with death be as gentle and positive as possible whilst confronting the reality of this inevitable life experience.

Lola will equip you with strategies that will help to nurture and guide your children through this period of grief, sadness and loss.

Do men and women grieve differently?

Just like children have unique needs when it comes to grief and loss, so do men and women.

Lola encourages each family member to engage with her counselling services both independently, and as a family unit. Lola will help the individuals to figure out how they grieve and identify individual strategies to best manage through this period, whilst supporting the family group as a whole to remain united.


Is it legal to keep my loved one’s body at home?

Yes, it is legal to keep the body at home for up to 5 days post-death. Lola can provide a cooling plate for the body to rest upon, which will keep the body cool. Lola will assist your family to provide natural after-death care – washing, oiling, dressing and preparing for the home vigil.

At-home vigils are commonplace throughout many parts of Europe, and are becoming more normalized in Australia. Many families attest to the healing benefits of keeping their loved one at home in the immediate days after their passing, for their funeral and until their burial or cremation. There are few cases of ‘complicated’ grief following home vigil.

Should my children be involved in the funeral preparations?

Absolutely! Whilst every family is unique, Lola believes that in order to best help children adjust to the passing of their loved one, it is important for them to play a role in both the funeral preparations and service itself.

Children will often help to decorate the coffin with flowers, ribbons, drawings, photos and special momentous. They might also read a special story during the service, play an instrument or sing a special song.

Children are amazingly resilient, and in Lola’s experience, take great pride in their special and meaningful role in funeral and end-of-life celebrations.


Can you create culturally-specific services?

Lola has diverse and unique experiences in delivering end-of-life support and funeral services across a range of cultures.

Lola has performed funerals for Aboriginal communities in remote locations, coordinating multi-day services and celebrations that have involved singing, dancing and poetry reading around campfires.

Lola herself is of Dutch heritage. In the Netherlands, openness to death and dying are culturally ingrained. Home vigil practices are also a much normalized part of dying.


“After my father died,  I remember feeling overwhelmed trying to organise a  funeral home, funeral and cremation, as well as contacting loved ones to notify them of my father’s death.  It was a very stressful time. And I had feelings of regret for many years, wishing that it all had been handled differently but not knowing what that would look like.  Years later I began to think about how we could make it more of a personal experience, when it was my mother’s time.  In the weeks leading to my mother’s death a close friend told me about death doulas and about the support and service they provide. My mother and I discussed the options available and felt it was what we were looking for.  So when the time came we contacted Lola on short notice as my mother’s death was unexpected at the time.  She was very professional and dropped everything to be with us in our time of need.  Lola promptly went to the hospital and organised my mother’s transport to our home.  Afterwards, Lola came to our home with her table and cooling plate before my mother arrived. She helped me wash and dress my mother in a peaceful, respectful manner with gentle music playing in the background and aromatherapy oils filling the air. It was very healing for me and it felt like a  natural extension of caring for my mother in death. I felt very honoured to be able to do this for her.

Lola’s caring  and calm guidance was instrumental to the whole experience.  We all felt very supported and didn’t have to think about making arrangements with funeral homes etc.  There was no stress, as Lola organised everything while we could be free to grieve, be with our family and most importantly spend time with my mother.  Other family members came to spend time with my mother speaking to her and playing her favourite music.  They all thanked me for bringing her home and sharing this special experience with them.

We chose a beautiful wicker coffin from the brochure Lola showed us and it was perfect.  We got to weave flowers through the wicker and it looked lovely.  We loved our mother very much and we feel such peace knowing that we gave her such loving care whilst she was alive and in death.  I highly recommend Lola to help you and your loved one throughout this process for both her professionalism and  her warmth.  She is truly passionate about her role as a doula and it is evident in all the little extra things that she did for us and my mother,  that showed us that she really cared.”

Trish Gonzalez

“I am deeply grateful to the service that Lola Rushartland offers through Picaluna.  Lola guided me through the emotionally treacherous journey beginning with the sudden departure of my soulmate and husband.

Lola and Picaluna bring to you a straight forward process so you don’t have to think too much when you’re already challenged to your limits in the loss and shock of losing a loved one.  The most valuable part of the journey with Lola and Picaluna is their high level of accommodation to your needs and special requests in relation to honouring your lost loved one.  I don’t know where I’d be if I was not able to spend time with my husband’s body after he passed.  Lola and I prepared his body at our family home with a ceremony.  This time was sacred and special.  I was able to capture a lasting memory of his vessel, the one that had carried him 56 years.

It really helped me to come to terms with the difficult realisation that he really was gone.  Without this opportunity I would not be as far ahead in the acceptance of the loss and likely I’d still be in a lot of denial.  Thank you Lola and Picaluna, deeply grateful you were there when I needed you”.


“Ok so I’m quite new to the experience of having a loved one return to the family home after death. I mean, I have known about the concept for some time, but wasn’t sure how I’d actually feel and be in the circumstances.  So I entered the family home – praying my butt off, for grace and loving connection. But a miraculous thing happened, having the deceased body present, felt so right and natural. My fears soon evaporated and a sense of peace of ease filled the room as we pre-pared for the families entrance and  I felt a tremendous love surrounding us.

When the family was united with the deceased, the joy in the room was tangible. I will never forget that moment and Lola facilitated the entire proceeding with gentleness and respect. Thank you Lola and thank you Charles, with much love, Shelly”.

Shelly Bennett

“Lola’s capacity for calm and clear efficiency throughout the demands of the intense emotional period between Bill’s death and the cremation were a lifeline to me. Bill died suddenly, and left no will or guidelines for how he wanted to be remembered. There were so many things to think of, and I had never been responsible for organising a funeral before. Without Lola’s commitment to giving us a unique and personal experience, our celebration of Bill’s life would have been so much poorer.

Having Bill in our home enabled us to have a sense of his spirit coming and going in the first few days – he died so peacefully in his sleep, and his colour was so good: I had to keep going into the room where his body lay to check he hadn’t woken up or moved! In life, Bill was a cheeky character, and I swear he smacked me on the bum on one of these visits!

It was beautiful to see him looking so peaceful and at rest. Even though I think he was at peace in himself before he died, there was much unresolved family business over which I agonised for years. I was very sad that I could not do anything to relieve some of his physical discomfort in the last years, especially his lack of mobility and confinement. Bill wanted to live in the bush, and hated living in an apartment.

So it was wonderful to be able to care for his body, to help Lola wash him, to lay him out, to learn the tribal ways, and honour his customs as best we could. Being able to have the smoking ceremony at our house, and to see him carried out while we sang for him – these were moments of profound meaning and for which I will always be grateful. I am especially pleased that Bill’s Aboriginal community were also grateful that we were able to follow these cultural practices.”

“The farewell of a dear friend that I attended recently, which was guided by Lola, was a very beautiful ceremony. The practical aspects of the process which Lola organised, I felt, enabled my friend’s partner to have a level of control and nurturing, which would otherwise been impossible.

Lola was sensitive, gentle and a warm presence which provided comfort for me and probably for all who were present.

The rituals she performed were moving and appropriate. I would definitely  recommend her as someone who can provide what people need in the time of immediate bereavement.”


Hi Lola – I’m so happy with what you did for me it was just how I wanted it and how dad would have wanted it. All my mates, who all knew dad, congratulated me and said it was an awesome funeral. Not sure if funerals are meant to be awesome? But it was a very special time, thank you. I would recommend you to anyone. How can I pay you?

Jason Richbell

Good morning  Lola, thanks for the workshop last night. I found the sharing very helpful and there followed one of the most restful sleeps I have had in some months.
I felt that I had been processing shared experiences during sleep, but awoke somewhat happier…

Ken P.

Lola was AMAZING ! She helped us through the whole process and made it as easy as it could be. I highly recommend Lola and the ‘Crossings’ Service.

Bridget Carmady

Local GP On the home vigil and funeral of an Indigenous Elder
Thank you Lola,    It was a pleasure to meet everyone and I must say, I was so touched by the care and attention paid to W.H.; he appeared to me a Tribal Leader from past times and we miss out on this elegiac tradition now, which is a shame and a loss.

H.H. (GP.)

Thanks so much to you Lola, for bringing me in touch with the sacred art of grieving and being with death .

I am forever honouring how you have eased the way for me in this process.

So much love and gratitude, Zoe ❤️🙏🏼🦋




$80 per hour


End of Life Care

Initial Consultation - 90min - $120

Lola will assess your individual needs & tailor a suite of support services which will meet you and your families needs


Respite Services

Family Relief

  • 4 hours (between 7am - 10pm) - $200
  • Overnight (between 10pm - 7am, with 3 hours of awake care) - $250
  • Additional overnight awake care - $50 per hour

On Call (with prior arrangement)

  • Call out fee - $120
  • Additional fees per Family Relief rates


Home Vigil Services

Prices vary greatly based on coordination, planning, funeral & celebrant choices, however Lola's rates are very competitive.

Full home vigil $1000 - includes Natural After Death Care and a checking on the body for duration of the Vigil.

APPROXIMATE cost for Home-Vigil and simple funeral - including coffin and direct Cremation :  $3500


Funeral Planning & Celebrant Services

Prices vary greatly based on coordination, planning, funeral & celebrant choices, however Lola's rates are very competitive.




Lola Rus-Hartland

Hunter Valley, NSW
M: 0408 412 094

E: rushartland@yahoo.com