Heather Halen made presentations at the annual state conference of the Funeral Consumer’s Alliance and at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville. She also did an interview with the U of M radio station. Linda Bergh made a presentation to Spirit United Church in Minneapolis. The new Minnesota Public Radio website video about a home vigil featuring MTN members, Linda Bergh and Marianne Dietzel, was played. It can be seen here.
We passed around a sample of Techni-Ice reusable dry ice/gel-packs, which can cool a body for 4 to 8 hours. Heather and Marianne keep Techni-Ice in their freezers. For more information about this technology, see techniiceusa.com/english. We also passed around a polymer blanket from Gorder Mortuary Supply with pockets that hold pieces of dry ice to cool a body.
The MN Department of Health Choices site has a change. The link to download a death certificate is no longer available to the public, who must get the form by mail.
Heather reminded us of the importance of naming someone to control our body after we die, since the authority of an advanced care directive agent ends at death. The Honoring Choices healthcare directive has a section, “Other Wishes/Instructions,” where this wish can be stated. You can download the form here.
Natural or “green” burials encompass a range of options, including no toxic embalming fluids, no metal or hardwood coffins, no burial vaults/grave liners, and no monuments. Natural burials are more environmentally friendly than cremation because they do not use fossil fuel or release greenhouse gases and other toxins into the air. A good resource is The Green Burial Council.
The three main types of cemeteries that offer green…or greenish…burials where unembalmed bodies may be buried:
- Hybrid–both traditional and green burials provided. Oak Hills in Minneapolis and Mound Cemetery in Brooklyn Center fall into this category.
- Natural burial–burials are green, but can have markers. Prairie Oaks in Inver Grove Heights falls into this category.
- Conservancy–more like a park where everything is left in its natural state. Minnesota has no conservancy cemetery yet.
One member contacted Lakewood Cemetery. They have no green burial option, and said that no one has expressed interest in that.
In Stillwater, Bradshaw Funeral Home is now offering “flameless cremation,” also known as alkaline hydrolysis, water cremation, or resomation. Alkaline chemicals, water, and heat are used to dissolve the body. While this method uses fuel, its carbon footprint is significantly less than flame cremation. Bradshaw is charging the same price for alkaline hydrolysis as for conventional cremation.
After-death-care practical training will be offered again in early 2013.
The group decided to have “movie nights” on alternate months starting Dec. 17 with the BBC documentary, A Family Undertaking. The movie will be at Julie Tinberg’s home, 6801 W. 83rd Street Terrace, Bloomington, MN 55438. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The next general meeting will be January 21 at Audrey Murray’s home at 1320 – 44th Avenue N.E., Columbia Heights. Her phone is 763.781.7819. The topic is Home Funerals 101: The Vigil.
The Feb. 18 meeting will be a movie night. Details will be announced.
Marianne and Dennis Dietzel will be offering a three-session class at Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality at the Carondelet Center in St. Paul. It will be held on Thursday evenings, February 28, March 7, and March 14. The title is Beholding the Threshold: Creating a New Culture around the Sacred Threshold of Death. One session will focus on caring for our own deceased. Contact Marianne at email@example.com for more information.