April 9 Film on Death with Dignity

How to Die in Oregon
If you were terminally ill, would you want the right to choose? The award-winning documentary film How to Die in Oregon follows 52-year-old Cody Curtis, grappling with end-stage of liver cancer, as she decides to utilize Oregon’s Death with Dignity law.
Join Dr. Rebecca Thoman and Rev. Harlan Limpert for a discussion following the film. Rebecca Thoman, M.D., is a manager of Compassion & Choices’ Doctors for Dignity initiative. Harlan Limpert, retired COO of the Unitarian Universalist Association, leads the Minnesota Interfaith Clergy for End-of-Life Options.
Tuesday April 9, 7 to 9:30pm at the home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave. South, Minneapolis. Look for the Earth Flag flying.
On March 7, 2019, the End-of-Life Option Act, House File 2152, was introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives:30 by Rep. Mike Freiberg. The bill would authorize medical aid in dying in Minnesota.
Compassion & Choices envisions a society that affirms life and accepts the inevitability of death, embraces expanded options for compassionate dying, and empowers everyone to choose end-of-life care that reflects their values, priorities and beliefs.

March 5, 2019: End-of-Life Doulas

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

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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

January Gathering: Showing of “In the Parlor: The Final Goodbye”

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/

from intheparlordoc.com

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.

December Gathering: Stay With Me Awhile

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.

StayWithMe

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
at
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.

Notes from the Regional Gathering

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Regional gathering attendees. Photo by Linda Bergh

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: tabooyahwi@gmail.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)

 

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

 

General Thoughts

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.

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Regional gathering attendees. Photo by Ellen Hufschmidt

November Meeting: The Art of Natural Death Care

MN Threshold Network invites you to attend:

THE ART OF NATURAL DEATH CARE: a movie, discussion, and demonstration

art of natural dying
Cover Image from Katelyn LaGrega’s “The Art of Natural Death Care”

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!)
TIME: 7-8:30pm
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.***

2018 Book List

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!

Books about death: they're made of dead trees!

Children’s Books

Death Practices

  • 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.

Fiction

  • 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

Lessons for Caregivers and Other Beloveds

Memoirs and Personal Accounts

Metaphysical

Poetry

Uncategorized

Podcasts

  • 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