Dragonfly Collective
Death Midwifery



Skillfully assisting people to talk about what matters and clarify needs at the end of life.

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Death Midwife: Death Midwife in Toronto 1
Hands cradling flowers


Death Midwives Help Families cope with End-of-Life Care


‘It was a remarkable opportunity to say goodbye at our leisure, so there was nothing left unsaid.’


Gloria Christianson remembers vividly the moment her son Scott passed away.

“Somebody came out and called me back into the room and said, ‘It’s time.’ I sat down, they passed him into my arms and he took his last breath and he died,” said Christianson.

Scott was blind, had a hearing impairment and other disabilities.

“Medicalizing him was the story of his life,” said Christianson, adding that emergency care could be very confusing and upsetting for him. “He’d had enough of that during his fragile life.”

Despite his complex needs, as Scott’s death grew imminent, many of the fears Christianson felt were universal. She worried that he would be alone, or that he would be interfered with by a medical crisis. She worried that people would restart his heart or try to resuscitate him.

To help navigate all this Christianson turned to Judith McGill who became the family’s death midwife.



I am a Death Midwife in Toronto and the founder of Dragonfly Collective, an organization dedicated to offering tailor-made, person and family-directed support to people at end of life.

As a Death Midwife, I assist people to talk about what matters and clarify what they want and need at the end of life and help them to figure out how they can achieve their goals.

The pace and direction of any of the steps taken at the end of life are defined by the person and their family and/or loved ones. As a Death Midwife I am there to offer practical assistance and guidance to the person and their family and/or loved ones in making plans and carrying them out.

My practice is committed to fostering the resilience of people’s family and/or loved ones throughout the journey. I support them to not only find ways to address the needs of the dying person but also to take loving care of themselves throughout the dying process and beyond.

Dragonfly Collective


Online Support for
End of Life

My Role in supporting you through key decision making and navigating the system


  • To assist the person to the extent possible, and for as long as possible, to be in charge of key decision-making related to his/her care and treatment while in the process of dying.
  • To assist the person to meaningfully engage others in the process of supportive decision-making at end-of-life so that his/her family and/or loved ones feel connected to the process to the extent possible and are strengthened and made more resilient by the process.
  • To assist the person to keep everyone abreast of his/her wishes, vision and treatment preferences as well as the implications and expected consequences of particular decisions. This happens in a number of ways including more formal Family meetings.
  • To help the person to understand what decisions are within or outside of his/her purview and to cope with and accept those things that as part of the “system” are outside his/her power to change.
  • To help the person to clarify care options and navigate the system. To help by working as part of the overall interdisciplinary “care team” however that appears throughout the process. i.e Palliative team, Longterm Care team, Hospice Team.
  • To assist the person to speak about what matters to them so that they can be heard by loved ones and so that they can clarify and resolve that which is getting in the way of relationships and making good decisions.
  • To assist family and/or loved ones consider what is required of them as caregivers in each phase of the death process and how to take care of themselves.
  • Helping to mediate difficult conversations between the person, their family, friends and/or loved ones when invited to do so.
  • To assist the person to envision and plan alongside family and/or loved ones in a meaningful way, to create a lasting legacy for him/herself. Including: living wills, letters, artwork, ethical wills and gifts.
  • To work constructively and consciously with the fear felt by all those involved, including the person, by addressing, uncovering, and making space for the fear to be surfaced, spoken and acknowledged.

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Support to family and friends when a loved one dies

Grief and Bereavement Support

After losing a loved one, I can offer support to help you further explore your experience of loss and grief and assist you as you move through your re-imagining of what this means in the here and now.

These sessions can also involve other family members if you believe it would be beneficial.

My Role in supporting you in designing and holding a Funeral Ceremony or Celebration of Life Ceremony

Assisting the family and/or loved ones:

  • to consider in advance of death or upon death what they want to create in terms of some kind of ceremony or ritual that they would find meaningful and satisfying.

  • to research and negotiate relevant services. Including helping them at death or in advance of death to negotiate with clergy, funeral homes, crematoriums, shroud makers, green burial sites and cemeteries, or funeral venues where necessary

  • to design and lead the ceremony and help to carry the various rituals and memorial activities.

  • To find ways in advance to help the person who is dying to share their vision for the ceremony and/or prepare something if they wish through writing, creating videos or suggesting readings.

Death Midwife Toronto - Cat and Child

When loved ones are family pets

I offer support to families in home when their beloved pet is actively dying to support the process and help them create meaningful rituals for marking their life and saying goodbye.

Read this story of love and loss from The Guardian…“Why Dead Pets Matter”.

Taking Care of your Loved ones at Home

As an experienced Home Funeral Guide, I am committed to working with families who wish to keep their loved ones at home while they are dying and even after their death.

I work alongside community in-home Palliative care teams and other professionals.

I assist families to carry out a home vigil that involves after death body care (cleansing and dressing) and helping to create a sacred space for holding visitation of family and friends.

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About Judith

I have been practising as a Death Midwife and Educator in Toronto and the GTA since 2007. I am the founder of Dragonfly Collective for Death Midwifery, and the proud mother of two adult daughters.

I have taken training at the Institute of Traditional Medicine-in Contemplative End of Life Care in Toronto, courses with Jerrigrace Lyons as a Home Funeral Guide. I have also taken the International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA) course. As an Adult Educator, I have taught courses on Planning in Advance of Death and offered several retreats on contemplating your own death and the death of loved ones. I have been engaged meaningfully with Community Deathcare Ontario and Community Deathcare Canada, for several years.

My background includes extensive work over the past thirty years with families who have a loved one with a disability. Working with these families I have learned how to help them talk about what truly matters to them during complex life transitions, so that they can take concerted action and create a richer, more meaningful life together.

I am currently the Executive Director and co-founder of Families for a Secure Future, that has been in existence for 20 years.  This is a multi-region, Independent Facilitation and Planning organization, serving persons who have a developmental disability and their families, to facilitate change and re-imagine their lives. I have offered coaching conversations with a biographical and narrative focus to parents and people working in the field for many years.

I have a Masters degree in Social Policy and Environmental Studies from York University and a Certificate in Mindfulness from University of Toronto.

Get In Touch

I would love to speak with you. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.