Cassandra lives with her partner, 3 children and lots of animals (including horses, goats, rabbits, chickens, pigs, ducks, cats and dogs) in the forested highlands of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia at North River where they are developing a self sufficient homestead using timber framing and cordwood building techniques.

    She has a masters degree in architecture which was preceded by a BA in gerontology and sociology. After living in downtown Toronto, Ontario for several years following graduation Cassandra sought a more remote and environmentally conscious lifestyle since (as the daughter of a veterinarian) it was important for her to reconnect with animals and nature in the wilderness.

    In 2002 Cassandra returned to school to study grief and bereavement with The University of Western Ontario’s thanatology department and also became certified as an animal assisted therapist, hypnotherapist and lay horse trainer. Recognizing therapeutic potential in the homesteading paradigm, Cassandra’s family moved to Cape Breton in 2006 where she intended to seek work as a rural bereavement coordinator while establishing a retreat for grieving families.

    The unexpected death and resultant home based post death care of a close friend and neighbour precipitated a deepening of Cassandra’s consciousness in the field of dying and deathcare, and she became a home funeral guide in 2009 while she was working as a research assistant with Dalhousie Family Medicine conducting telephone surveys for an After-Death Bereaved Family Member Interview.

    Always an active volunteer, Cassandra has served on boards and been involved with the Victoria County Hospice Society, Community Health Board, the National Home Funeral Alliance, Grief Nova Scotia, Beyond My Will, The Order of a Good Death, One Washcloth and the Canadian Community for Death Midwifery.

    Cassandra administrates a large facebook group called Death Midwifery in Canada and maintains a private practice called BEyond Yonder Death Midwifery (http://www.deathmidwifery.ca) through which she offers public and private education, home funeral guidance and bereavement support. She is often busy in the social media sharing and writing articles about alternative deathcare and preparing for interviews and presentations. In 2015 she is preparing to launch a virtual school for death midwifery.

    Cassandra’s long term vision is to live closely with death in a self reliant way at Beyond Yonder Homestead, which she hopes may become some kind of interpretive centre for death and dying and disposition alternatives such as green burial.

    Completed coursework:

  • Survey of Thanatology
  • Principles of Palliative Care
  • Bereavement and Grief; Overview and Interventions
  • Practicum in Thanatology
  • Children and Death; Theory and Interventions
  • Personal and Professional Issues in Palliative Care and Bereavement
  • Crisis Response
  • Loss Across the Life Span
  • Communication with Dying and Bereaved
  • Grief Counseling; Practice and Theory