Friends of the St. Paul Public Library series: (New Ways of) Thinking About Dying

MTN Twin Cities members Anne Murphy, Anne Archbold, and Marilaurice Hemlock will presenters in the St. Paul Public Library’s upcoming discussion series “(New Ways of) Thinking About Dying.”

Presented by The Friends and Health Advocates—a Saint Paul-based public health consulting group which promotes communication that bridges differences in culture, language, and class.

From ‘conscious dying’ at home, to family-designed home vigils, to green burials, dying people and those who care for them are rediscovering and redefining what happens before, during and after death. Continue reading “Friends of the St. Paul Public Library series: (New Ways of) Thinking About Dying”

MTN at MNHP conference

The Minnesota Threshold Network was a presence at the Minnesota Hospice and Palliative Care conference, April 19-21 in Bloomington. MTN shared an exhibitor table with the Funeral Consumers’ Alliance of Minnesota, with Anne Murphy and Heather Ferguson volunteer staffing for MTN and Jody Bystrum for FCA. Anne, Heather, and Jody spoke with many nurses, social workers, and volunteers and encouraged them to get to know utilize our organizations as a resource.  Anne reports that it was a very receptive crowd, and many of them commented that they are noticing that people are wanting to find ways to honor and celebrate life in new ways.

Our thanks to Anne and Heather for staffing the table, to FCA for the table-sharing arrangement, and to everyone who stopped by to talk about this important work.

 

partnering to share knowledge and resources!
Jody Bystrum and Anne Murphy at the MNHP conference.

Correction 5/8/15: our table was staffed by Anne Murphy and Heather Ferguson! Thanks, Heather.

MTN “Caring for Our Own” workshop largest ever

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.

Workshop participants prepare a gracious volunteer “corpse” for disposition. Beautiful cloths and flowers offer one last chance to show love and care for our beloved dead.

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:

  • Green burials
  • Being with the dying
  • Minnesota laws (Come to the Dec. 9 MTN meeting for this!)
  • Facing our mortality
  • Home vigils