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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.

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

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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.
We met at Linda Bergh’s house. Thanks as always to Linda for being such a gracious hostess. 16 people were in attendance.
We watched Carolyn Laine’s excellent PowerPoint presentation on home funerals and green disposition. The presentation included an excerpt from Nancy Jewel Poer’s documentary The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack Heckelman. A lively discussion followed, touching on steps that MTN, as individual members and as a group, may want to take to ensure that funeral directors and others who deal with end-of-life issues professionally know the law and give accurate information to funeral consumers.
Perhaps the most important take-away from Carolyn’s presentation is this:
“For a body to be embalmed, the family must agree to relinquish their legal right to natural death care. It is the family’s right by law to be in control of the care of their loved one.
What a wonderful and empowering message!
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, January 13, 2015.
Happy whatever-you-celebrate, and a joyous New Year!

Twenty people attended the all-day “Caring for Our Own” workshop on November 22, taught by three Minnesota Threshold Network home funeral guides. In MTN’s six years of offering after-death care workshops, this was the largest!

After check-ins, the morning began with guided rememberings of death in our lives, as children and as adults. Anne Murphy presented a brief history of after-death care in the US. Linda Bergh guided the group in becoming more aware of the specialness of this sacred time in the hours and days after a beloved has died. Kyoko Katayama shared the poignant story of her husband’s death, care, and home vigil. 

Anne led the afternoon session by demonstrating step-by-step practical care of the body, with Linda and Kyoko adding stories to illustrate the uniqueness of each experience, as well as the unifying theme of bringing comfort and meaning to families.  Many connections were made as the participants opened to this powerful topic and became a community for the day.

Workshop participants prepare a gracious volunteer “corpse” for disposition. Beautiful cloths and flowers offer one last chance to show love and care for our beloved dead.

It was a day of soul care as well as body care. As one person wrote on the evaluation, “I got a great sense of what after-death body care really is.”  Another participant commented, “The stories made the day’s experience so authentic.”  Another said, “I’m going home and writing out what I would like done for me when I die.”
 
Several people have asked when MTN will offer another workshop. Fortunately the presenters enjoyed working together and found it a good mix of backgrounds, experience, and interest. It’s likely they’ll be doing another workshop. The topics most requested on the evaluation forms were:

  • Green burials
  • Being with the dying
  • Minnesota laws (Come to the Dec. 9 MTN meeting for this!)
  • Facing our mortality
  • Home vigils
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