Rochelle Martin is an RN with specialty certification in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Toronto, and has experience in emergency and acute psychiatry, palliative care, and spiritual care. Rochelle received a certificate from the Beyond Hospice program (2012) in End-of-Life and Home Funeral-Care guiding. She educates individuals and community groups regarding death-related care, and supports dying persons and their families before, during, and after death.
In our death-denying culture, we are not used to seeing, let alone “touching” death. Many of the families Rochelle supports in her work as a crisis-care RN have just experienced the sudden death of a loved one in the emergency room. Even in these traumatic situations, families courageously choose to hold, sit with, cry over, and care for the body of a loved one who has died. This presence after death, though initially daunting for some, is often surprisingly “doable” and ends up coming naturally. After the fact, families will describe these moments or days of after-death care as an invaluable final expression of love, imperative in their process of saying good-bye.
Rochelle considers it a great privilege to support individuals facing the reality of death, and their family and friends in saying good-bye, in whatever ways they find most meaningful. Her professional practice is characterized by openness, respect, compassion, and strength. She believes that where profound realities such as death are concerned, there is no one “right way” to do or be.
Currently collaborating on a number of death midwifery-related projects, Rochelle is helping to establish a national Canadian Community for Death Midwifery, has co-founded the One Washcloth initiative, and served on the Education Committee of the National Home Funeral Alliance. She enjoys teaching the Funeral Alternatives module of the BEyond Yonder Virtual School for Death Midwifery program. Rochelle’s local efforts include leading deathcare workshops for healthcare, religious, and community groups, and exploring a conservation burial partnership in Hamilton, Ontario.