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.
Correction 5/8/15: our table was staffed by Anne Murphy and Heather Ferguson! Thanks, Heather.
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:
- Green burials
- Being with the dying
- Minnesota laws (Come to the Dec. 9 MTN meeting for this!)
- Facing our mortality
- Home vigils
Minnesota is hosting the 2014 Funeral Consumers Alliance Conference
When: Thursday, June 5-7th
Where: Park Plaza Hotel, 4460 W 78th St Cir, Bloomington, MN 55435
For more information: www.funerals.org/conference
Minnesota is host to the 2014 Funeral Consumers Alliance national conference. This is a fantastic opportunity to get to know your rights as a consumer and meet the people who are challenging and changing the way we view death and funerals in the US.
Among many presentations, Josh Slocum, author of Final Rights and executive director of the FCA will be speaking, as well as Caitlin Doughty, a Los Angeles-based mortician, death theorist, and the founder of The Order of the Good Death. A panel discussion on fighting unfair funeral regulations, with Minnesota State Representative Carolyn Laine, Verlin and Lisa Stoll of Crescent Tide Funeral and Cremation Services in St. Paul, and Katelynn McBride of Institute for Justice.