Upcoming Events and Press

Dying… For the Living

A community continuing ed. course in Hamilton, Ontario covering:
– Cross-cultural attitudes toward death
– Ethical and legal matters
– Grief and meaning-making
– Environmentally friendly death care alternatives

Thursday Evenings, Oct 16 – Dec 10, 2015, 7 – 9 pm

27 King William St, 3rd floor (above Homegrown Hamilton Cafe)

Registration and further info: Nathalie Zur Nedden, PhD

Rochelle Martin of Funeral Alternatives will be leading sessions on Nov. 13 and Dec. 4!

Caring for Our Own Dead – FREE Workshop

Pagan Pride Day

Gage Park, Hamilton, Ontario

Sun. Sept. 14, 2014

The call of the Dark Mother: How will you want to be cared for, celebrated, or remembered?  Does it have to cost $25,000 for a funeral in Ontario?  Are there environmentally friendly, meaningful, and legal alternatives to conventional after-death care and burial? There ARE alternative deathcare options that might better match your beliefs and values!  Join Rochelle as she demystifies the funeral industry and enlightens us on a more authentic, celebratory call from the Dark Mother.

Click on link above for event details.

Do-It-Ourselves Funeral Care Workshop

Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America Annual Conference

Brock University,  St. Catharines, Ontario

Tues. July 15, 2014 at 10:30am

A generation ago the baby boomers brought back home births. Recently there has been a resurgence in home-based end-of-life care.  As a natural extension of home hospice care, families are choosing to care for the bodies of their loved ones at home, after death. Safe, legal, ecological, and inexpensive, home funeral care allows families and communities to come together in meaningful ways, to honour the deceased.

Rochelle Martin, death educator and home funeral guide, will lead a workshop introducing family-directed after-death care and natural burial. Environmental, socio-cultural, and spiritual dimensions of deathcare will be explored from a Christian peace-making perspective. A hands-on demonstration will conclude the workshop, giving participants an opportunity to practice after-death care techniques.  Please see link above, for registration.

There’s More to Death than Funeral Homes

Hamilton Spectator Newspaper

April 14, 2014

by Stacey Escott

Death educator Rochelle Martin compares a home funeral to a home birth, except there are no risks because the person is already dead.

In an afternoon workshop, she spoke about the resurgence in home-based, end-of-life care.

Loved ones are cared for in surroundings that are familiar to friends and family, lying in a place of honour for three days — usually, before they are transferred for a funeral service, burial or cremation.

“It’s pretty intimidating to walk up to a coffin in a funeral parlour, just the anxiety — there is something about just having it happen naturally around you, for children and adults that makes it less scary,” Martin said.

The registered nurse and certified end-of-life and home funeral care guide was at Homegrown Hamilton Sunday afternoon. The café was filled with about 30 people who came to learn more about after-death care.

She listed the benefits of being cared for in your own home rather than being whisked away and not seen again until the funeral. It allows for more visitation time and flexibility, creates a natural flow of events and emotions and can diminish fears about death and dying.

“It teaches kids about the life cycle and the reality of death, to embrace grief and loss as a part of life,” Martin said.

It’s non-invasive to the deceased, can be eco-friendly and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper.

Martin broke down the cost of a basic, conventional funeral. After $2,295 for a metal casket, $250 for removal transfer and $1,817 for basic service fees among several other costs, a cheap funeral costs about $8,000.

With a home funeral, if you splurged on a cardboard coffin for $125 (the biggest cost), add $15 for the death certificate and another $15 for three sheets of Techni-Ice (dry ice packaged in a flexible polymer), you’re looking at under $200.

“Saving the costs to me is important, I don’t want people to inherit big bills,” said Michel Proulx, 75.

Proulx always hated the cold and the idea of cremation appealed to him over being buried in a cold plot. But after Sunday’s workshop, the financial details may have swayed him.

“I think the do-it-yourself has more dignity and respect, it’s more personal,” said retired palliative nurse Samantha Emmerson, who is considering a home funeral.

She already knew quite a bit about the topic, including the fact that it’s legal in Canada, but wanted to know more.

The second half of the discussion was a demonstration in which Martin offered tips to make the experience easy and enjoyable, including how to transport the body, keep it cool, wash and present it for visitation.

“If you cared for a loved one before death, you can care for them after death — it’s the same thing.”

Home Funerals: Not such a huge undertaking

Ignite News, Mohawk College, Hamilton, Ontario

April 17, 2014

by Ryan Tiller


After-Death Care Workshop

Sunday April 13, 2014


Hamilton, Ontario

Homegrown Cafe, 27 King William St., Hamilton

Learn how to care for a deceased love one at home, including laws and regulations in Ontario, after-death body care techniques, and natural burial options.

Rochelle Martin, RN, MDiv, death educator and home funeral guide, will lead a two hour workshop introducing the how-to’s of home-based after death care.

Steel City Stories

“Arrivals and Departures”

Hamilton, Ontario

April 5, 2014

Steel City Stories is a way of sharing experiences, listening to voices from our community and connecting with others through the art of storytelling. Storytelling events feature Hamilton-based speakers telling true tales from their own lives, live without notes or props.

“Rochelle Martin shared a childhood experience – observing a stranger dying in the street – that has shaped her interest in death and community-building.”

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