Experience

In the early 1990’s I hesitantly took a volunteer position with Lions Gate Hospital Auxiliary in Palliative Care.

 

My job was simply to enter patients rooms and change the water in the flower vases. I was in my early twenties and the thought of seeing the very sick and dying was terrifying, as I, like most people in my generation, had been sheltered from death. Instead, the deep peace and love I witnessed in many of those hospital rooms unexpectedly left me changed.

 

I saw first hand what a good death could look like.

 

While at university I worked for my dad, a GP on the North Shore.

He was a true healer.  In his office I observed the benefits of a palliative, or whole-person, approach to care.  Care considering the physical, emotional and spiritual well being of a person.  After graduation I worked in Continuing Health Education, creating and executing Continuing Medical Education Programs for physicians in B.C.

In 2004, I put my career on hold to be a mom. My three boys are older now, freeing up time for me to work outside the home.

In 2013, I took the Hospice, Oncology and Palliative training course at Lions Gate Hospital. Since then I have volunteered in the Oncology Department at Lions Gate Hospital and at North Shore Hospice. I also volunteer my time to sit vigil with people who are actively dying in care homes. In addition, I act as a mentor, guiding new volunteers at North Shore Hospice.

 

In 2017, I took the End of Life Doula Course at Douglas College.

 

I am a founding board member of the End Of Life Doula Care Association of Canada, where I currently serve as Vice President

I delight in inspiring and empowering others to companion the dying and grieving making my role as facilitator of the End of Life Doula Certificate program at Douglas College something I am deeply enjoy.

 

Since the pandemic, I have been called to create more space for grief.  It is an honour to be facilitating an online grief circle and book study based on Francis Weller's book "The Wild Edge of Sorrow," where we explore the use of ritual and community to expand and witness grief, in ourselves and each other.  

Most recently, I have partnered with Megan Sheldon and Kate Love of Seeking Ceremony to offer ritual training for end of life care providers

I am fuelled by doing what I can to change the narrative around death from something to be solved for or avoided to something natural and full of opportunities.  In my experience with companioning the dying,  the most striking thing that I witness at end of life is the outpouring of love.

continuing education

taught me

spend my time in service

doing something meaningful to me

mentor at hospice

taught me

be humble

society

brought me

a growing community of people wanting to help others die well

& support each other

getting older

taught me

be myself

being a mom

taught me

expect nothing

be ready for anything

keep my sense of humor

end of life doula course

taught me

follow the lead of the dying

oncology

taught me

be compassionately present with others

vigil

taught me

be with each moment

hospice

taught me

practice sacred listening

have confidence and trust in the dying process

hospice, oncology & palliative course

taught me

let go of my own fears around dying

a place for more things to come...

Tracy L. Chalmers

End of Life Doula

Servicing North Vancouver and West Vancouver

Professional Affiliations: North Shore Hospice, Douglas College, End of Life Doula Care Association of Canada