This Reader’s Theater has been edited for the Minnesota Threshold Network after its debut in NY as a part of a national conference. Come hear how individual community members reflect on their part in the holding of the two teenagers, Nina and Kirsten, and their families in 1996 in Harlemville, NY – both the time leading up to the car accident and throughout the home vigil and the following days. The girls’ parents, Linda Bergh, Marianne and Dennis Dietzel will be present and read their parts. Linda and Marianne are founding members of MTN.
All MTN events are free and open to the public. Donations from the heart are always welcome and help pay for brochure printing and venue rental.
Accessibility and Parking at the Falcon Heights Church:
The meeting is on the main floor, with the entrance to building accessible via sidewalk from the curb.
One gender-neutral/accessible bathroom and two single-gender bathrooms available on main floor.
There is ample parking in lot across the street, including disability spots.
Eli here, thanking you again, on behalf of myself and my co-workshoppers Shannon and Root, for making it out to our “Working Respectfully with Trans and Nonbinary Communities” meeting earlier this month. Attached are the materials from the meeting: a PDF of the slideshow we used, as well as the resource list we mentioned.
And remember: we just barely scratched the surface of what’s out there in the trans and/or nonbinary world. If this topic piques your interest, we encourage you to keep exploring.
Drop me a line if you have questions: eli.effinger.weintraub at gmail dot com
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.
The next Minnesota Threshold Network Twin Cities meeting, “Working Respectfully with Trans and Nonbinary Communities,” will take place on:
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 7-9 PM St. Peder’s Lutheran Church 4600 E 42nd St Minneapolis, MN 55406
(click link for map)
Transgender and nonbinary people have existed for as long as human cultures have been creating genders, but some of our language and concepts may be new to you. Transgender and nonbinary individuals and communities may have different needs and face different challenges around end of life and after-death care than our cisgender peers. Join Minnesota Threshold Network on a journey through the wonderful world of trans and nonbinary terminology, current concerns, and what we in the deathcare field can do to ensure that our work respects this diverse and vibrant community.
Our guides on this exploration are:
Root Holden (he/they), transgender podcaster and death educator
MTN facilitators: Eli Effinger-Weintraub and Anne Murphy
All Minnesota Threshold Network meetings are free and open to the public. Donations from the heart for space rental and printing materials are gladly accepted.
Building is ADA compliant. There is no curb cut on the east side of the building (where we will be entering), but the entrance is accessible from the sidewalk. We will update later once we understand how to best access the sidewalk that leads to the door.
Building has an all-gender restroom.
Lights are either on/off, not dimmable.
There is a furnace that occasionally will make one loud-ish hissing sound. It is unpredictable.
Scented cleaning products are sometimes used in the space. Please limit your use perfumes, lotions, or other scented products as much as possible before the event.
We are grateful to Ellen Hufschmidt and Kyoko Katayama, who facilitated last night’s wonderful meeting on facing the holidays after the death of a loved one, for sharing these Ten Tips for Grievers, adapted from the writings of Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
Know that each person’s grieving process is unique. Trust and follow your own intuition in concert with the council of supportive friends and guides as the best way for you to grieve.
Talk about your grief. It is very important to the healing process. Seek out others that can be good listeners and will allow you to talk, without needing to give you advice. Avoid the thinking that nobody wants to hear your pain or your story. It’s also OK to be silent when it’s what you need to do at a given moment.
Allow yourself to feel a wide range of fluctuating emotions. These feelings will include sadness, fear, anger, guilt, confusion, disorientation, and even relief. These are normal and reasonable responses to grief. Find listeners that will be free of judgements and can accept all your feelings.
Be accepting and tolerant of your limits. Feeling and processing your own grief is hard work and can leave you tired and exhausted. This is normal. It is common to need more rest. It’s important to eat a balanced diet even though that may be hard to do. Stay close to your own sense of what activities fit and which may seem too much to take on at a given time. Remain open and willing to try new things.
Be gentle and forgiving with yourself when you have emotional outbursts of tears when they are least expected. When this happens, it can feel a bit frightening and out of control. Being overwhelmed by feelings is common. It’s much healthier to have the experience than to suppress that energy by keeping it in your body to fester. It’s helpful to find people you can talk to that know from their own experience the awkward feelings that arise when this happens.
Make use of ritual and ceremony. It’s a way to acknowledge the loss, but also brings together the support of people that love you and share in your sadness. Today many people are foregoing gatherings such as funerals or services of remembrance. This makes the grief process more difficult. It is helpful to share in the biggest of life’s transition that we must all face at one time or another. We know that some kind of structured acknowledgement of our losses is useful. Gatherings surrounded with our loved ones and others that are feeling the pain of loss help us come to terms with our human condition, that people we love will die.
Embrace your spirituality. Finds ways that are useful to you, such as: daily readings, journaling, quiet time for silence and contemplation, or talking with those you trust from within your faith. Sometimes anger at God or our beliefs comes up. Find room to accept these emotions as part of the transformational “circle of life” path you are on. Find a spiritual teacher or elder that can listen to your hurt and sense of abandonment without judgement.
Allow yourself to feel and struggle with life’s biggest questions and desire for meaning. It’s part of the grief process to struggle with the “Why now? What’s next?” questions. You may be able to find answers for some of these but not all. This is part of the sea of confusion we pass through as we find new outlooks. Many people’s suggestions or attempts to help are not adequate, don’t fit, or aren’t helpful. Let them go and listen to your own heart and nature as you find your way to a new balance.
Treasure your memories, share them with others, and find solace in them. They will help keep your heart open. Allow all the memories to filter through you; even the challenging ones may hold some gold that can take you to a new place of understanding and even forgiveness.
Give yourself time to grieve. It takes longer than we hope or expect. Grief is a process not an event. Be as kind, patient, and as tolerant as you can with yourself. Keep company with those that let you have the time and space you need because the death of someone you loved changes you forever.
The Minnesota Threshold Network Twin Cities December meeting will take place on
Tuesday, December 10th, from 7-9 pm
Plymouth Congregational Church, Jackman Room
1919 LaSalle Ave South, Minneapolis (click for map)
(enter through Door #1 at the above address)
It’s holiday season. Loud messages of good cheer and celebration flood the shops and media airways. Holiday season can be a sacred time of deepening and solace, or it could be a time of stress and loneliness after the death of a loved one. Come join us to explore how you can make inner and outer spaces that support making room for feelings of grief and loss. We will explore how you can honor your own truth and the memory of your loved one throughout the holiday season and beyond.
MTN Facilitators: Ellen Hufschmidt, Chaplain and Grief Counselor; and Kyoto Katayama, Psychotherapist Emerita and Death Educator
The program is sponsored by Minnesota Threshold Network
and supported by Plymouth Congregational Church’s Mortality Project.
All Minnesota Threshold Network meetings are free and open to the public. Donations of the heart for space rental and printing materials are gladly accepted.
Accessibility info: We will be meeting in a lower level room, which is accessible by elevator. Some of the building’s restrooms are all-gender. Lighting levels are adjustable if needed.
Please join MTN for a recap and lively discussion on the National Home Funeral Alliance biennial national conference, which was held this October in Minnesota. Some of the conference participants and presenters will report on our experiences, including the mock vigil room, the Saturday night art share, heart connections, and more. We’ll share patterns we noticed, things we’re excited about, and actions we’re inspired to take next.
Participants may include:
St. Mary’s has both single- and all-gender restrooms and an elevator. All Minnesota Threshold Network meetings are free and open to the public; we gratefully accept donations to help pay for meeting spaces. Please feel free to contact us with questions.
On Tuesday, September 10, 2019, sixteen people attended MTN’s annual book share gathering. The following is a list of the books, magazines, and movies shared by attendees, alphabetical by title, because that’s all my computer could handle. Maybe your next read is here!
A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death, BJ Miller and Shoshana Berger
Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them): A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying, Sallie Tisdale
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande
Blue Nights and The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
Cry, Heart, But Never Break, Glenn Ringtved, illustrated by Charlotte Pardi
Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, Stephen Jenkinson
Gone From My Sight: The Dying Experience, Barbara Karnes, RN
Holding Space: On Loving, Dying, and Letting Go, Amy Wright Glenn
Reimagining Death: Stories and Practical Wisdom for Home Funerals and Green Burials, Lucinda Herring
Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss, Pat Schwiebert & Chuck DeKlyen, illustrated by Taylor Bills
The Cure for Sorrow: a Book of Blessings for Times of Grief, Jan Richardson
The Farewell (movie)
The Way to Love: The Last Meditations of Anthony de Mello, Anthony de Mello
The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief, Francis Weller
Tree: A Life Story, David Suzuki & Wayne Grady, illustrated by Robert Bateman
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death, Caitlin Doughty