Meet our Changemaker
Facilitator for Our Babies, Our Grief, C.A.N.D.Y. Cafe, and Parents & Guardians Death Cafe
"Carole's unwavering dedication and passion make her an invaluable asset to HHA. We are incredibly fortunate to have her as part of our team."
- Tracey Robertson, HHA CEO & Co-Founder
How did your journey with HHA start?
I began my journey with HHA after attending an inspiring presentation by Terri Viola Wilson about HHA’s C.A.N.D.Y Café (a program designed to help young people and the adults in their lives navigate challenging questions about dying, death and grief). I trained as a facilitator for the C.A.N.D.Y Café and also as an HHA Death Café facilitator. I am an End-of-Life Doula (EOLD)/Death Doula but wanted to specialize as an Infant and Pregnancy Loss Doula, so I completed the excellent training for this role with HHA and I am now a facilitator for HHA’s “Our Babies, Our Grief”. There are so many wonderful roles to explore within the HHA family and I always feel completely supported and inspired on my journey!
Tell us a bit about yourself. What's important to you and why?
I live in Ottawa, Ontario on the traditional unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin People. The Algonquin People have inhabited and cared for these lands long before today. I take this time to show my gratitude and respect to them, and to the land for all that it provides us: trees to give shade, water, and food to sustain us, and paths to connect us. I embrace the responsibility to help ensure that the next generations of land stewards are respectful and grateful for the bounty of this land on which we all live, work, play. I am committed to continuing to explore and make meaningful contributions to the Calls to Action that result from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).
As mentioned above, I am an EOLD with a speciality as an Infant & Pregnancy Loss Doula. I volunteer as a photographer’s assistant with "Now I Lay me Down to Sleep" and volunteered for many years in a Pediatric Palliative Care hospice. I provide in-home respite support and art/recreation therapy for children with life-limiting illnesses – these amazing children and their families are one of my greatest inspirations and have taught me so much. I am a dedicated artist and use this gift to create legacy art (memory boxes, paintings, etc.) for bereaved families. In my "spare time" I am a long-distance runner, yoga/meditation enthusiast and surfer – this is how I recharge and ensure that I am always 100% present for those I am so honoured to serve. I am passionate about providing compassionate, dignified and culturally sensitive care to anyone navigating the often-isolating paths of pregnancy and infant loss, life-limiting illnesses, dying, death and grief.
What impact is your work at HHA having in your community or the communities HHA serves?
Working with HHA has opened the door to so many new connections and opportunities within my community (Ottawa, Ontario). I feel that I am able to constantly "add to my toolbox" in terms of the skills, knowledge and connections I have on hand to authentically support those who need it most. Looking ahead to the future, I sincerely hope that HHA will continue to flourish, grow and be a well-known and highly respected source of education, collaboration and support that is there for individuals, families and communities. As an EOLD, it is also my sincere hope that EOLDs will become an integral part of the care team for those on their end-of-life journey. As HHA so wisely notes, “with no financial burden to the family or health care system, Death Doulas ease emotional pain and suffering."
Who inspires you, and why?
The individuals and families that I have the absolute honour to work with are my biggest inspiration. They have taught me about the beauty and fragility of life and how to live in the moment with gratitude, grit and grace despite what might seem to be insurmountable challenges. As a runner, Terry Fox is also a huge inspiration for me, and I have this quote by Terry above my desk: “It took cancer to realize that being self-centered is not the way to live. The answer is to try and help others.”
What are some things you've learned about yourself since starting at HHA?
I have volunteered with a variety of organizations over the course of my life and have learned so much and made so many new friends along the way. With HHA, I truly feel like I am part of a compassionate and dynamic family – we support and encourage each other to be the best version of ourselves and to give wholeheartedly to those who need our help the most.
"What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?"
- George Eliot Middlemarch