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. She currently works as a mental health RN at a correctional facility. Rochelle received a certificate from the Beyond Hospice program (2012) in End-of-Life and Home Funeral-Care guiding, and in her spare time, educates individuals and community groups regarding death-related care.
In our death-denying culture, we are not used to seeing, let alone “touching” death. Many of the families Rochelle supported in her work as a crisis-care RN had just experienced the sudden death of a loved one in the emergency room. Even in these traumatic situations, families courageously chose to hold, sit with, cry over, and care for the body of a loved one who had died. This presence after death, though initially daunting for some, is often surprisingly “doable” and ends up coming naturally. After the fact, families describe these moments or days of after-death care as an invaluable final expression of love, imperative in their process of saying good-bye.
Currently collaborating on a number of deathcare-related projects, Rochelle helped to establish the national organization Community Deathcare Canada and serves as chair of its legislative committee, co-founded the One Washcloth initiative, and has served on the Education Committee of the National Home Funeral Alliance. Rochelle’s local efforts include individual consultations re. dying and deathcare, leading deathcare workshops for healthcare, religious, and community groups, and bringing natural burial to Hamilton, Ontario.