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.
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.
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:
Being with the dying
Minnesota laws (Come to the Dec. 9 MTN meeting for this!)