When someone dies after an extended illness, caregivers must cope not only with the death of a loved one but with the loss of the role and life focus they may have had for weeks, months, or years.

Lois, Karly, and Gregg Swope

Lois, Karly, and Gregg Swope

Lois Swope will share the story of being a caregiver to her daughter Karly, who lived for 27 years with Rett Syndrome, a rare disorder that required around-the-clock care. Despite physical limitations, including her inability to speak, Karly communicated intellect, talents, and wisdom. This mother and daughter, whose lives were woven together, were separated by Karly’s death in 2012. Lois and her husband Gregg continue their heart-journey by sharing Karly’s story.

For Karly’s blog, which she typed on a keyboard (see photo above) during the final 4 years of her life, visit https://spiritdances.Wordpress.com

The meeting will be held Tuesday, April 14, 2015, from 7-9 p.m. at the home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave., Minneapolis. MTN meetings are free and open to all. 

Link Roundup

1. From earthporm.com: “Bye-Bye Coffins, These Organic Burial Pods Turn Your Loved Ones Into Trees”

Based in Italy, the Capsula Mundi project created an organic, biodegradable burial pod that literally turns a person’s remains into nutrients for a beautiful tree growing directly up above. Unfortunately, these burial pods are only a concept idea for now.

Unfortunately, Italian law is keeping this at the concept stage for now.


2. A Soft Goodbye is the beautifully story of how a Canadian home funeral guide helped the author and her family grieve the loss of a cherished relative. “No one called 911 or a funeral home. Instead, Richard’s family rang their death midwife.”

3. “What to Do With Our Bodies After We Die”: The Urban Death Project is developing a new option which may appeal to those who want to minimize environmental harm and give something back to the earth when we die. It is a system designed for urban settings in which human bodies are transformed into a soil-enriching substance. This choice can provide a deeply spiritual element for those who see something sacred in the cycles of life and the processes of decomposition and regeneration.

Katrina Spode for the Urban Death Project.

Image by Katrina Spode for the Urban Death Project.

4. “The Trouble With Advance Directives”: New York Times article exploring the shortcomings of the current method of creating and maintaining advance directives in the US.

5. New video from Ask a Mortician: Everyone’s Favorite Conversation ~ Talking about Deathwith your parents.  Caitlin Doughty makes it almost fun, with some good questions at about 4 minutes in, to ask yourself first and foremost.

6. And be sure to catch Doughty’sirreverent take on traditional vs. natural/green burial.

Anyone who was unable to attend the February 10 showing of This Dewdrop World, an award-winning documentary connecting planetary with personal loss, can see the full 38-minute movie at http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi4026574361/ or http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/50188/This-Dewdrop-World


March 10, 2015, 7-9 p.m., at the home of Nancy Manahan and Becky Bohan, 21 East Rustic Lodge Ave, Minneapolis

Nancy & Diane, a month before Diane's death. Photo by Becky.

A helpful new tool, the Personal Self-Assessment Scale (PSAS), will be available at the meeting. This simple one-page chart can 1) clarify your wishes, 2) guide your choice of a health care agent (not necessarily your spouse or child), and 3) provide an easy opening for The Conversation with loved ones. It also can help you be more prepared and competent when someone you love is dying.

Although we can fill out an advanced directive by ourselves, MTN members find that working in community allows us to hear other points of view and find more clarity for our own questions.

A free Personal Self-Assessment Scale, created by emergency room physician Monica Williams-Murphy, M.D., author of It’s Ok to Die, is available at the It’s OK to Die website.

For short videos of people making end-of-life decisions and having thoughtful conversations with their loved ones, visit Honoring Choices Minnesota.

February 10, 2015, 7-9 pm Movie Night: This Dewdrop World, an award-winning documentary that interweaves two unfolding stories: climate chaos and a filmmaker shocked by her mother’s ALS diagnosis. The planetary story mirrors the personal journey of learning how best to respond to rapid, catastrophic change.
Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church, 1895 Laurel, Saint Paul. For more information, contact Anne Murphy at annievmurph @ gmail.com or 651-964-9128. Free and open to all.

“This precious jewel of a film opens us to inner resources for accepting and responding to the inevitability of climate change. It accomplishes this with heart-wrenching beauty, by interweaving two stories: that of the filmmaker’s mother facing her death by ALS, and that of . . . the realities of climate chaos. Each story brings exquisite teachings about how to tolerate impermanence . . . . I want everyone I know and do not know to be refreshed, nourished and emboldened by This Dewdrop World.”  

– Joanna Macy, author of Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy

​For a trailer of This Dewdrop World, click here.


On January 6th, 2015, the documentary about a man’s search for a natural burial will be released on DVD and online.

Will for the Woods


tastier than death!

Photo by Kimberly Vardeman via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license.

Often MTN meetings are educational, focusing on legal and practical aspects of home after-death care and natural burials. January’s meeting will be an opportunity to reflect more personally on death and share our diverse experiences. MTN welcomes people from a variety of backgrounds and philosophical understandings. Come with your thoughts and questions.
Cookies will be provided, but feel free to bring treats to share.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 7-9pm, at the home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave. S., Minneapolis. Meetings are free and open to all.

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