Due to snow storms, the Feb. 12, 2017, End-of-Life Doula presentation has been moved to Tuesday, March 5 from 7:00 to 9:00pm, 7801 E Bush Lake Road, Bloomington, MN
Mary Ann Boe, Jane Whitlock and Christy Moe Marek are end of Life Doulas providing companioning, resources, and support at the end of life. Stories from the field and information about the role of an End of Life Doula, along with time for Q&A.
For a fabulous November 2018 TEDx talk on end of life doulas by Jane Whitlock, see www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ-LI68xS8g
The documentary “In The Parlor: The Final Good-Bye,” written by Heidi Boucher and directed by Heidi Boucher and Ruby Sketchley, is an intimate portrait of three families opting to care for their loved ones after death.
Watch the trailer here: http://intheparlordoc.com/trailer/
MTN Twin Cities invites you to a showing of “In the Parlor”
Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 7:00-9:00 pm
Falcon Heights Church, United Church of Christ
1795 Holton St, St Paul, MN 55113 (click for map)
MTN events are free and open to the public. Donations of the heart accepted.
A new play titled Stay With Me Awhile, by Mary E. Johnson and Barbara Means Fraser had its world premiere at the Rochester Civic Theatre in February of this year. The play focuses on the stories told by family and friends as they face the approaching death of their loved ones.
Vignettes from Stay With Me Awhile will be presented in Reader’s Theatre format at the next meeting of
Minnesota Threshold Network
Tuesday, December 11, 7-9:00 pm
Spirit of St. Stephen’s
2201 1st Ave S, Minneapolis 55404
(Entrance is on the corner of 1st Ave and 22nd St
street parking and a small lot for St Stephen’s is adjacent)
Following the readings there will be time for group discussion. Please join us as we hear the compelling stories of people leaving this life.
Minnesota Threshold Network meetings are free and open to the public. Donations of the heart accepted.
On Saturday, October 6, 2018, the MTN Twin Cities hosted our third regional gathering. The event brought together people from throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin to discuss what’s going on in our communities around conscious dying, family-directed after-death care, and green burial. The meeting was held at the home of Linda Bergh. Nineteen people attended.
In the morning, each group checked into to tell us all about what they’ve been up to. Here are some general notes from those reports, although no notes can ever capture the true richness of experience represented in that room.
Southeast Minnesota Threshold Network (Rochester area; Deah reporting)
- Feeling of dwindling. Would like thoughts on how to grow the network and do work in the community.
- Series of meetings to get to know each other by talking about what each person wants for their own death.
- Decorated a “coffin” and had each person lie in it. Others talked about what they would miss about the “dead” person
- Trainings in body-washing and supporting grieving families
- Sunday, November 4: death open mic in Rochester
- Elephant in the Room is a local collaboration of hospice, library, medical society, SE MTN, & many others who have worked together for several years. They’re planning a month of death-related events in November called Community Reflections of Living & Dying. Kickoff on Thursday, November 1.
- Question: how can groups support each other?
- Facebook: SE Minnesota Threshold Network, Elephant In the Room Network – end of life planning
Threshold Care Circle (Viroqua, WI; Liz reporting)
- Groups size has ebbed and flowed. In a “small” phase right now.
- No green cemetery in the area; in Vernon county, people can bury on their own land.
- People are now contacting them for help with both personal and policy questions. Helping get laws changed/helping people understand the law in their area
- Group has diversified, which has allowed them to offer different kinds of workshops
- It may seem like not much is happening, but you never know what the impact has been and how far the ripples have gone out
- Question: when we have materials, how do we most effectively get them where they need to be?
- Facebook: Threshold Care Circle
Tabooyah (Menomonie, WI; Terri reporting)
- Small core group
- See themselves as a resource group
- Name comes from “taboo” + “booyah” (how cool is that?)
- Rochelle Martin TED Talk, “Let’s Talk About Death“
- Had a table at local farmer’s market to Tell your Story on end of life
- Investigated and learned that residents of their county have a choice to be buried on homestead property. Easements may be required if the land is subsequently sold.
- A lot of personal growth and commitment to the work
- This work happens all the time. People die whenever they do; they don’t wait for a convenient time
- Want to do more work in their community. Want to get ideas and energy around what they’re doing.
- Question: how can groups offer each other energy and support?
- Email address: email@example.com
Duluth, MN (Dana reporting)
- Dana is new to this and very excited.
Mankato, MN (Mary Ann reporting)
- Deva Nation. Nonprofit linked to an international movement of compassionate communities. A public health movement.
- US is the only country with a for-profit healthcare system, which is why we don’t have any compassionate communities for end-of-life.
- Public Health Palliative Care International
- Want to create a compassionate town council. Each sector comes forward with policies to create a town charter that will be reviewed each year.
- One Bright Star: nonprofit for families who have had a child die.
- The vision: when anyone in the community is dying, caring, or grieving, we will all know what to do.
- Question: how do we get Mary Ann some more people?!?
- Birth, Breath, and Death, Amy Wright Glenn
Mind-Body Solutions (Minnetonka; Catherine reporting)
- Adaptive yoga for people at end of life
- Amy Samson Burke
MTN Twin Cities (Linda, Karen, and others reporting)
- Stay With Me Awhile, Mary Johnson and Barbara Means Frasier. New thirty-minute version on December 11 at Spirit of St. Stephen’s Catholic Community
- Opening up the leadership team, restructuring the leadership team, reconsidering the mission
- Question: how does leadership move into this new time with authenticity? How to do organization differently?
- Question: how to bring younger people into this conversation?
- Question: how to balance people who do this as a side passion with people who are doing it as a job and need to make money from it?
- Started a mentoring framework: one person who’s been doing this for a while partners with one new person for each meeting
- Living While Dying – documentary
- Many millennials don’t see themselves living much past 60
- All Catholic cemeteries in the Twin Cities now have green burial option
- Sarah Campbell at Mayflower Church could be a partner
After lunch, attendees held a planning discussion regarding the National Home Funeral Alliance 2019 national conference, which will be held in Chaska, Minnesota from October 4-6, 2019. Anyone who’s interested in helping plan and/or volunteer during this event is asked to contact Mary Ann Boe at maryann @ devanation . com
We are grateful to everyone who made the trek to this gathering, and to Linda for hosting. Let’s keep the ideas and enthusiasm flowing between us.
MN Threshold Network invites you to attend:
THE ART OF NATURAL DEATH CARE: a movie, discussion, and demonstration
The movie is Katelyn LaGrega’s documentary about loving, heart-felt, sacred, and compelling stories of how we can care for our own loved ones after death.
LEARN ABOUT NATURAL DEATH CARE:
•Options that exist no matter where someone dies for grief vigils and funerals
•Facts about legality and lowered costs
•Ways that open the heart when it hurts the most
•Demo on blessing or washing a loved one’s body
DATE: Wednesday, Nov. 7th (please VOTE on Tuesday the 6th!)
LOCATION: Nokomis Square Senior Coop
5015 35th Ave. So., Minneapolis, MN 55417
Community Room (parking and entrances in front and back of building).
FREE OF CHARGE. Treats welcome. Tea will be available. Donations of the heart accepted.
***Invite your own family members, such as adult children and grandchildren, and close friends (in other words, your “peeps”). It’s a great opportunity to have a the discussion that isn’t easy, but you may secretly want to have. Face the elephant in the room with support from this program.***
We had a wonderful gathering at Anne’s home on September 12. Seventeen people were present to share a heckuva lot of death- and grief-related books that have touched their lives and hearts. I’ve made an attempt to sort them into categories this year. Not sure how well I did, though. Enjoy!
- I Remember Papa, Karen Dare and CA Nobens. Sammy Squirrelmunk grieves his grandfather’s death.
- The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, Judith Viorst. Children’s book about a child whose pet cat dies.
- From Here to Eternity, Caitlin Doughty. “World tour” of death practices. Observations of death detachment in US vs. participation in the rest of the world.
- Notes about cremation: in other cultures where cremation rates are high, families/communities are more involved. Is increasing awareness of witness cremation part of our work?
- Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Caitlin Doughty. Good introduction to the topic. Accessible.
- Being Dead, Jim Crace. Novel about murdered couple whose bodies aren’t found for over a week; weaves in updates on what’s happening with the bodies.
Lessons For the Dying
- The Grace in Dying, Kathleen Dowling Singh. Framework to help understand the constant transformations of life
- Living with Cancer: A Step-by-Step Guide for Coping Medically and Emotionally with a Serious Diagnosis, Vicki Jackson, David Ryan, & Michelle Seaton
- Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death & Dying Teach Us About the Mysteries of Life & Living, David Kessler & Elizabeth Kubler Ross. A wide array of topics in life, death, and relationships.
- The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully, Frank Ostaseski. One of the founders of the Zen hospice movement. Looks at death for all, not just the “actively” dying.
- Life After the Diagnosis: Expert Advice of Living Well with Serious Illness for Patients and Caregivers, Steven Pantilat. How to talk to doctors and ask the right questions
- Making Friends with Death: A Field Guide for Your Impending Last Breath (To Be Read, Ideally, Before It’s Imminent!), Laura Pritchett. A lighter-hearted guide to death and dying.
Lessons for Caregivers and Other Beloveds
- Caring for the Dying: The Doula Approach to a Meaningful Death, Henry Fersko-Weiss. Techniques for actively being with the dying
- Being with Dying, Joan Halifax. Short segments, good for someone who’s actively being with someone who’s dying and has short spans of time and attention. Contemplative end of life care program.
- On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss, David Kessler & Elizabeth Kubler Ross. A book about how we grieve.
- Holding Space: on loving, dying, and letting go, Amy Wright Glenn. How to be with discomfort and hold space for others’ grief.
Memoirs and Personal Accounts
- Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?Roz Chast. Sometimes painful, but incredibly honest and important, graphic memoir about Chast’s parents’ physical and mental decline and eventual deaths. Could be a manual on how not to approach death and dying.
- Laughing in a Waterfall, Marianne Dietzel. The story of her late daughter Nina’s life, including the efforts of the Waldorf community after Nina’s death
- Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home, Natalie Goldberg. Goldberg and her partner on parallel cancer journeys
- Living Consciously, Dying Gracefully – A Journey with Cancer and Beyond, Nancy Manahan and Becky Bohan. The story of their sister-in-law’s intentional journey with cancer.
- The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying, Nina Riggs. Author’s chronicle of her diagnosis and journey with breast cancer.
- Choosing to Die: A Personal Story, Phyllis Shachter. Schacter’s experience with her husband’s VSED (voluntary stopping eating drinking) at end of life
- Caravan of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation, Mirabai Starr. Author’s personal journey through grief
- Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms: Who and What You See Before You Die, David Kessler. A collection of first-hand accounts from those who have sat with the dying, sharing what the dying say and see at end of life.
- Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian Weiss. Stories of reincarnation
- Dog Songs: Poems, Mary Oliver. Elegaic poetry about dogs that have been in Oliver’s life
- Wings Above the Sea: A story and images of loss and transformation, Kyoko Katayama. Gorgeous prose poems and paintings about Katayama’s grieving process before and after her husband’s death.
- Waiting for the Last Bus: Reflections on Life and Death, Richard Holloway. The emotional and cultural toll of prolonged lifespans.
- Stephen Levine’s books on death
- To Bless the Space Between Us, John O’Donoghue
- Death, et seq.Interviews about all aspects of death in US culture
- GeriPal: Geriatric palliative care physicians
- Kaddish: Rituals for death from around the world