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 a center of excellence for the Doula profession.
Since the pandemic, I have been called to create more space for grief. I have started an initiative with the gifted Willow Meili, called The Grief Well where we aim to normalize what it means to be human by increasing grief literacy and providing opportunities to share grief in community through art, gatherings, and ritual.
I am fuelled by increasing comfort in the end of life journey through considering new narratives around death, narratives that involve presence, meaning and connection and love. Most of all, love.
being a mom
be ready for anything
keep my sense of humor
end of life doula course
follow the lead of the dying
be compassionately present with others
be with each moment
practice sacred listening
have confidence and trust in the dying process
hospice, oncology & palliative course
let go of my own fears around dying