June 9th event: Virtual Memorial Service, Graveside Service, Green Burial

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.
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Join Zoom Meeting TUESDAY JUNE 9
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7649075003
Meeting ID: 764 907 5003
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REVISED MAY EVENT: Living in the Time of a Pandemic: An Open Conversation

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

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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.

________________

Meeting info:

TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2020, 7:00 p.m. (Eastern)

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7649075003

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)

+1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

+1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)

+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

Meeting ID: 764 907 5003

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbEkmdwMlZ

Reflections from Reader’s Theater

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 (Lindas 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.

MTN Readers Theater
Readers and attendees of the reader’s theater event

REFLECTIONS

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.

Other comments

“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 others 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 Ninas 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 Ninas 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.

Plan Ahead!

To help us look ahead, here’s the schedule of MTN Twin Cities events for the rest of the programming year. Each event will get its own post closer to the date, as details become known.

    • calendar
      Photo by Manasvita S on Unsplash

       

  • March 9, 2020, 7pm. A Spontaneous Death-Care Community that Emerged after the Tragic Deaths of Two Teenagers: A Reader’s Theater with the Girls’ Parents.  Location TBD
  • POSTPONED. Holding Space for Loving, Dying, and Letting Go (Amy Wright Glenn’s work).   Location TBD
  • TBD. How MTN volunteers support people without supportive family or community who want home after-death care. Location TBD
  • TBD. Death-Care Planning, Advance Directives, Talking to Your Family & Friends.  Location TBD

 

February Event: Amy’s Story: Life, Love, Loss–Documentary and Discussion

The February MTN Twin Cities meeting will take place:

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
7:00-9:00 PM
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.

Amy close up in chair

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.
Transit and parking info for this meeting:
  • MTN encourages carpooling whenever possible. Here’s the RickyRides carpooling page: http://www.rickyrides.com/mtn-twin-cities-february-meeting
  • SpringHouse Ministry Center is served by several major bus lines. MetroTransit Trip Planner: https://www.metrotransit.org/
  • 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.

Local Event: End of Life: Live and Unscripted!

Information on a local, non-MTN event:

End of Life: Live and Unscripted! 
Feb 19, 2020, 7:00PM to 9:00PM
University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center
1890 Buford Avenue (click for map)
St. Paul, MN, 55108

Continue reading “Local Event: End of Life: Live and Unscripted!”

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.

Regional2
Regional gathering attendees. Photo by Ellen Hufschmidt

MTN Regional Gathering Saturday, October 6

Minnesota Threshold Network is delighted to host our third regional gathering of home funeral advocates on October 6.

OPEN TO ALL – PLEASE JOIN US

We invite representation from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa to share visions, challenges, and plans. We look forward to strengthening our regional connections and mission.

Also, the National Home Funeral Alliance is holding its national conference in Minnesota next year (Oct. 4-6, 2019), and we want the Midwest to be a strong presence there. Plans will be shared.

The gathering will be held Saturday October 6, from 10am to 3pm, at the home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave. S. Mpls. (click for map). 612 325 2775. Please bring a potluck item to share!

RSVP to Linda at hellolindabergh @ gmail.com

2016 Regional Gathering Attendees
Oct. 2016 regional gathering at Linda Bergh’s home with seventeen home funeral advocates/educators from nine towns and three states

Local Event (non-MTN): Walking with Death

Upcoming local event hosted by Deva Nation and Conscious Dying Institute:

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
COST: $35

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.

For more information, visit DevaNation.com

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 info@consciousdyinginstitute.com.

Walking With Death

 

June Forum: Dying to Know: conversations about the end of life

The Minnesota Threshold Network invites you to our annual June Forum

Dying to Know: Conversations about Choices at the End-of-Life

open to friends, families, groups of all ages to explore together the choices around end-of-life
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The Concept:

Participate in lively conversations about death and after death arrangements for yourself and/or loved ones.

Questions such as “What would your ideal death look like?” “Who would be there?” “How would I like to be honored after I die” and many more… Have the conversation you have wanted to have around death and dying

St. Clements Episcopal Church, Parish Hall

901 Portland Avenue

Saint Paul, MN 55104

Tuesday, June 5th

7-8:30pm

Free and open to all. Donation of the heart are welcomed

Interested? RSVP to Ellen Hufschmidt at ritesofchange@gmail.com