MN THRESHOLD NETWORK PRESENTS OPEN FORUM on DEATH AND DYING Bring Your Questions and Experiences MARCH 16, 2021, 7-8:30 PM Central Time Zoom invitation at end of post
To folks from all communities. We’re ready to discuss whatever you want to share. For example, how can I honor COVID deaths, cope with loved ones dying alone or talk about my final wishes? Bring wonderings or stories about making the dying process more comfortable and meaningful, death rituals more personal, and burials more natural. We will explore together.
Ellen Hufschmidt, MA, end-of-life guide, grief counselor, hospice chaplain, MTN leader, and author of With Our Own Hands: A Guidebook to Ritual Blessings of the Dead will host the evening along with other MTN leaders.
Meeting ID: 764 907 5003 One tap mobile+13126266799,,7649075003# US (Chicago) +19292056099,,7649075003# US (New York)
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Please join us on Tuesday, June 9, 7-9 p.m. (Central Time), as MTN members Anne Archbold, Marilaurice Hemlock, and Karen Greer share their experiences with creating and facilitating memorial services during the complicated coronavirus time.
Even though we at MTN view funeral possibilities in a much broader context than many, this pandemic has gotten us to stretch even further – to Zoom!
Zoom helps us be a part of a memorable funeral from our living room or office.
It can be a smaller group setting where you share with others in an informal way rather than a formal setting.
Families can tell stories and show memorabilia that was left behind by the deceased.
Zoom can save us from flying across the country to attend a relative or friend’s funeral.
Meeting ID: 764 907 5003
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,7649075003# US (Chicago)
+19294362866,,7649075003# US (New York)
Dial by your location
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
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+1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
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Meeting ID: 764 907 5003
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbEkmdwMlZ
In light of the current pandemic, we want to provide a place to share our experience of living in this challenging time. We will return to the original topic of this May meeting at a later time.
If you need assistance, call the MN End-of-Life Doula hotline: 1-888-351-8999
A quote on solitude and community by Parker Palmer:
Solitude does not necessarily mean living apart from others; rather, it means never living apart from one’s self. It is not about the absence of other people—it is about being fully present to ourselves, whether or not we are with others. Community does not necessarily mean living face-to-face with others; rather, it means never losing the awareness that we are connected to each other. It is not about the presence of other people—it is about being fully open to the reality of relationship, whether or not we are alone.
Reflections on Minnesota Threshold Network Meeting of March 9, 2020,
Reader’s Theater of A Death Caring Community…
Over 65 people and 18 readers filled the space at Falcon Heights United Church of Christ. The Reader’s Theater of A Death Caring Community was a response to the accidental deaths of two teens. Created for a national conference in 2019, this was the first presentation in Minnesota.
BACKGROUND for those not at the meeting:
Dennis Dietzel: “When Nina (our daughter) and Kirsten (Linda’s daughter) were killed in an automobile accident and Linda was severely injured, we were so fortunate that the community where the accident occurred had experience with a home vigil. When that was offered as a possibility, we knew immediately it was the right thing. For us and so many others it provided a beginning to our grief journey that was surrounded by love and beauty, and provided a touchstone which has allowed us to give back to others over the years. Just as for birth, the time of death is too precious to give over to others if it is possible for us to claim it for ourselves and our loved ones who have crossed the threshold.”
Linda Bergh: When Marianne and Dennis and I were asked to share our experience for a national conference, we contacted people in NY (and family from Minnesota) and asked them to write their story. Then we created a script and shared it, with people reading their own parts. It was presented at Sacred Gateway Conference on Conscious Dying and After Death Care, and the Journey Beyond in May 2019 for 150 people in Harlemville, NY, where the accident happened in 1996.
This year MTN supported us in sharing this same script – but with readers from Minnesota. All of the readers knew the Dietzel and Bergh families at the time of the accident.
From Ann, attendee: I could see through the story that Kirsten and Nina had laid a foundation, scattered seeds, and ignited love in the community that then became shelter for their passing and solace for their MN families. . . . . I could feel that love when one reader described the dark road and four broken-hearted travelers, coming upon the house with lights, filled with love and a safe place to weep and be with Nina and Kirsten in death.
From Karen, MTN member/leader: I saw Monday evening as a great undertaking and a Celebration of the Story of 1996 for the three of you parents, your daughters and sons and your communities. Thanks so much for your “eloquent authenticity” in sharing the pain and the joy and connectedness that you all experienced. I loved the music as a beautiful expression of the “pauses” that we all need to take in life. You did a wonderful job on the saxophone, piano and lyre.
“Community building in action.”
“I do hope you’ll be able to share your story at other places in the future.”
“I came away with one sentence: “Love is greater than loss.”
From Linda Bergh: What a remarkable evening, I am grateful for this conscious dying work and a community open to experiencing our learnings about how love is always here, even in the most challenging moments. After the reading last night, we talked about community, and I realized this morning that the event itself was an expression of community. Having the courage to be present to each other’s stories builds connection, so that we can listen when our own lives ask us to step up.
With the music of the saxophone and piano still ringing deep inside, I want to thank those who read, those who came, and those who were with us in spirit.
Here is a segment from Kirsten and Nina’s dear friend who was 15 when the accident happened:
Hours and hours of travel – Warm welcoming arms of comfort. The hospital bed with Linda curled up in shock Then – Arriving where I did not want to be ……
A living room I had been in just a few weeks earlier when I had visited Kirsten before I left for school in France. I was afraid to go in. Yet in all the awfulness of the moment of seeing Kirsten and Nina’s bodies, what I found was a welcoming warm space. Grief and shock were everywhere in the room, but it was not a scary place. This community of people I hardly knew had created a space where I felt welcomed and simply allowed to be with my friends’bodies with no expectations. I felt so grateful. Food, candles, gentle quiet, music, warm hugs, crying together.
With the sudden nature of these deaths, the vigil gave me the space and time to say good-bye and be with Kirsten and Nina’s spirits. I spent hours just being there next to the wooden coffins in the middle of the living room. I stroked their hair, sang to them, talked to them. I was made to feel that this was normal and okay, that grieving and death can be part of community life. I believe my grief process was greatly impacted by the way this community held space for the deaths of my dear friends.
The February MTN Twin Cities meeting will take place:
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Springhouse Ministry Center 610 W 28th St (click for map) Minneapolis, MN 55408
Join us for a the first public showing of Amy’s Story, a documentary about the life of Amy Van Meter–a powerful activist, mediator and listener-of-the-heart–who lived with MS and chose her own death. This film explores the interweaving of love and loss, power and the painful grappling with deciding how and when to die. Filled with heart-breaking choices and deep love and honesty, the film raises faithful questions that invite us all into a conversation about what it means to live life to the fullest, when to choose death and how to do it with love and honor.
This event is co-sponsored by MTN and The Center for Sustainable Justice and will include a viewing of the film, a discussion with Amy’s family and members of her chosen family and time for refreshments and conversation.
Deepest gratitude go to Angela Jimenez Photography and Melinda Bekker for the creation of this extraordinary film.
Venue accessibility information:
The event will be in the Garden Sanctuary. There are both stairs and an elevator. The elevator is about 6-10 feet from the door and then the Garden Sanctuary is about 20 feet from the elevator.
SpringHouse has one all-gender/accessible restroom next to the Garden Sanctuary and 2 single-gender restrooms with several stalls (one of which is accessible with a grab bar– men’s has a grab bar on the right, women’s on the left). There are also 2 more all-gender restrooms upstairs.
Some of the lights in the space are adjustable, and some are on-off.
Traffic noises are not audible in the space. There is a blower for the furnace but it isn’t loud.
Scented candles are sometimes used in the space. SpringHouse can remove any scented candles but there may have been some in the past.
Parking at the venue: SpringHouse Ministry Center has about 15 spaces in the parking lot that is shared with World Street Kitchen (accessed off of Lyndale or 28th Street) folks should park in spaces labeled for SpringHouse parking (there are some spaces that are for the Greenleaf apartment residents only or World Street Kitchen only). Also, there is street parking on 28th Street and Garfield Ave.
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.
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.
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.
Walking with Death: Conscious Dying Practices for Compassion & Transformation
Friday, July 13, 2018, 6:00PM – 9:00PM…
Center for Intuitive Living
5356 Chicago Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55417-1734
Join us for an evening with Echo Bodine & Tarron Estes, founder of Conscious Dying Institute. This evening event introduces us to Conscious Dying’s sacred, healing practices for the caring of self and others during the end of life journey, and to Echo Bodine’s exploration of the soul’s perspective on consciousness that can be accessed before, during, and after death.
This event below features an intro to Conscious Dying Institute’s 3-day Conscious Dying Training in Mankato, September 6-8 at Sibley Park Pavilion. This Conscious Dying Training In Mankato will also double as Phase I of the Sacred Passage End of Life Doula Certificate. Phase II of the EOL Doula Certificate will be offered November 27-Dec 2 at a Buddhist Retreat Center on a lake north of Mankato. CDI is planning to run these to two events every year; the 3-day community event in the Spring (as a stand-alone or as a prerequisite to EOL doula certification) and the 5-day doula certification in late summer. For more information on this training, call 303-440-8018 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.