Upcoming Events and Press

The Canadian Initiative for Elder Planning Studies Annual Conference:

“Changing Times…Changing Processes”  

“Funeral Alternatives – Bringing after-death care back home” presented by Rochelle Martin RN, BScN, MDiv, CPMHN(C)

Niagara Falls, ON
Monday June 4, 2018

Leading the Way Back

In Memory of Purification Dorado Pisano, February 2, 1942 – February 7, 2018

February 12, 2018  by Rochelle Martin, Community Deathcare Canada

This past week, my friends Steve and Emma led the way, back to more responsible and compassionate care of our dead. They did something that was simultaneously very brave, and also no big deal, as they cared for Emma’s mom after her death, at home. They asked me to tell their story, wanting others to hear about what’s possible – and I’m glad they did, because it would have been hard not to share!

Calling Out Being “Called”

Jan. 23, 2018  by Rochelle Martin, Community Deathcare Canada

I hear a lot of references these days to “being called” to work with the dying and dead – we use it in our conversations with each other online, in death doula training course outlines, in media interviews.  I think there are two ways in which the term “called” is often used re. deathcare work and I think both need reconsideration…

In denial about death: Our aversion to the inevitable will only prolong our pain

Jan. 18, 2018 by Emma Reilly, Hamilton Spectator

“Martin, who lives in downtown Hamilton with her family, helps families with what she calls “home-based death-care.” She advises families who wish to have a home funeral about the practicalities of washing, dressing, and laying out the body of the person who has died…”

Hamilton resident pushes for green burials: The practice is gaining popularity across Ontario

Jan. 5, 2018    by Emma ReillyHamilton Spectator

“Green burial is the lowest carbon footprint disposition option that we have,” said Martin…

Family Access to Certificates of Cremation Reinstated in Ontario

by Rochelle Martin, Community Deathcare Canada

Aug. 20, 2017

We’re thrilled that we were able to reclaim families’ rights in this regard, and believe that this sets a good precedent for contesting any future intentional or inadvertent governmental limitations to direct, at-cost access to obligatory death-related paperwork, for families who wish to care for their own…

Rochelle Martin discusses deathcare with Steve Paikin on The Agenda.
Midwives and doulas are generally associated with new life, but more Canadians are asking for help with end-of-life transitions. Death midwifery is a growing social movement for those who want to bring simplicity, spirituality, traditional rites and a bit of comfort and control to their last days. From counselling in palliative care to guiding families in the hours after the death of a loved one, thanadoulas are changing the way people die.

Free Public Lecture and Workshop
Sunday April 17, 2016


Mills Hardware95 King Street East
Hamilton, ON, L8N 1A9

Caring for a loved one after death can be environmentally sustainable, inexpensive, meaningful, and community-building!

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 home-based after death care.


The Handling and Transfer of the Deceased in Ontario

by Rochelle Martin, Community Deathcare Canada

March 27, 2016

Recently a Toronto coroner’s office refused to release the body of a deceased son to his parents, insisting that a funeral director had to pick up the body.  The family, forced to hire a funeral director in order to claim their son’s body, had to wait to bring his body home until a willing funeral home reopened after the weekend…

Toronto Sun: Dying in a digital world 



Let’s Talk About Death | Rochelle Martin | TEDxKingStWomen

Recorded Friday, May 29, 2015 in Hamilton, Ontario

There is a ‘Momentum’ going on for all of us: with every breath, with every heart beat, we are moving closer to our end.  But better is possible.  We can die and care for our dead *better.*

 Discover #HamOnt Podcast

Episode 026: Rochelle Martin, Funeral Alternatives

Funeral Alternatives is a project led by Rochelle Martin, providing advice and education on the options available to care for loved ones before and after death. Learn more about the alternatives that are available and some of the ways we used to fulfill our obligations only a couple generations ago, and what natural options areas like the UK are using in order to benefit generations to come.

Canada’s own Virtual School for Death Midwifery!

Rochelle Martin will be teaching the “Funeral Alternatives” module of the program, in the company of an amazing crew of leaders in Canada’s growing community deathcare movement!  Check it out!


TedXw poster

TED Women 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015, 10am to 6pm

Park St. Gasworks, 141 Park St. Hamilton, Ontario


Tickets $50 – Includes lunch & wine reception

Local Speakers & Performers:


Live-streaming International Speakers from TED WOMEN 2015:



Maclean’s Magazine: The Rise of the Death Doula – March 15, 2015

 featuring Sarah Kerr, Cassandra Yonder, and Rochelle Martin

Do-It-Ourselves After-Death Care – Public Workshop

St. Thomas Public Library

St. Thomas, Ontario

Wed. April 15, 2015 at 7pm

Safe, legal, ecological, and inexpensive, home funeral care allows families and communities to come together in meaningful ways, to honour the deceased.

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.

 Rochelle will be telling a story about her work in nursing and death midwifery, at a Raconteurs storytelling event.

Wed. Feb. 18, 2015 at 7pm

Mills Hardware, Hamilton, Ontario

Tickets — $10 in advance, $12 at the dooryjhqo0T

 CBC Ideas “Death Becomes Us, Part 3” 

February 5, 2015

Featuring Rochelle Martin in conversation with Gary and Joy Warner, re. planning for family-directed after-death care, and natural burial.

ideas top

Burying the dead can be hazardous to our health. Every year, across North America, enough embalming fluid is used to fill a swimming pool, and enough metal to build another Golden Gate Bridge. Cremation can be toxic too, creating vapours from mercury fillings and hip implants. Against this backdrop, IDEAS producer Mary O’Connell concludes her three-part series with a look at the burgeoning green burial movement and its message of de-corporatizing death.

Participants in the program:

Stephen Cave, philosopher, author of Immortality, The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization, Berlin.

Josh Slocum, executive director of Funeral Consumers Alliance, South Burlington, Vermont, co-author of Final Rights.

Rochelle Martin, home funeral guide, Hamilton, Ontario.

Gary and Joy Warner, exploring the home funeral, Hamilton, Ontario.

Jusuf and Jody Warner, waiting to discuss their parents’ death plans, Toronto, Ontario.

Hannah Rumble, Department of Anthropology, University of Exeter, England, co-author of Natural Burial: Traditional-Secular Spiritualities and Funeral Innovation.

Mark Harris, green burial proponent, author of Grave Matters, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

End of Life University presents:

One Washcloth: Sudden, Unexpected Death in the ER, with Rochelle Martin, RN

Listen herehttps://soundcloud.com/funeralalternatives/end-of-life-university-rochelle-martin-rn-one-washcloth-in-er

November 6, 2014  10 am Pacific/1 pm Eastern

Join Dr. Karen Wyatt and her guest Rochelle Martin RN, death midwife and emergency room nurse. Rochelle and Dr. Wyatt will discuss the One Washcloth Initiative, which Rochelle co-founded to offer compassion and support to families who have suffered an unexpected loss of a loved one in the emergency room. They will talk about the challenges for both staff and family members of coping with death in the ER setting.

In this interview you will learn:

  • how the One Washcloth Initiative hopes to help families say goodbye to loved ones who have died in healthcare settings
  • about the challenges facing ER staff as they deal with traumatic deaths
  • what changes are needed in the medical system to improve the care offered to dying patients and their families in the ER and hospital
Rochelle Martin is a Registered Nurse 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.  Recently certified as an End-of-Life and Home Funeral-Care Guide (Beyond Hospice, 2012), most of the families Rochelle supports are saying goodbye to loved ones immediately following unexpected, often traumatic deaths in ER. She considers it a great privilege to be with families in these raw, intense moments, when there is little to offer but compassionate presence.  Currently collaborating on a number of death midwifery-related projects, Rochelle is working to establish a Canadian national community of practice, has co-founded the One Washcloth initiative, and serves on the Education Committee of the National Home Funeral Alliance. Her local efforts include leading after-death care workshops for healthcare, religious, and community groups, and exploring a conservation burial partnership in Hamilton, Ontario.
Rochelle Martin, RN, BScN, MDiv, CPMHN(C)
FuneralAlternatives Website: https://funeralalternatives.wordpress.com/
Email: funeralalternatives@gmail.com
Phone: 905-746-3074
Related links:
Conservation Burial Hamilton: conservationburialhamilton@gmail.com
National Home Funeral Alliance: www.homefuneralalliance.org

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, 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, will lead a two hour workshop introducing the how-to’s of home-based after-death care.

Steel City Stories: How I Became a Death Midwife

Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/funeralalternatives/steel-city-stories-rochelle-martin-death-midwife

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 shares a childhood experience – watching a boy die on the streets of inner city Chicago, cared for by his friends – that has shaped her interest in death and community-building.”

Next Page: Resources


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