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”

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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

TEDx Video on VSED: “Not Here By Choice”

Alan Shacter made several unusual end of life decisions and is a model of dying more consciously. He asked his wife to share his story and his message. In this 17-minute TEDx video, Phyllis Shacter talks compellingly about her husband’s decision to voluntarily stop eating and drinking (VSED) to avoid living in the late stages of Alzheimer’s.

Phyllis Shacter

Upcoming event: Ars Moriendi, the art of dying well, April 5

You are warmly invited to ARS MORIENDE, a day of reflection: The Art of Dying (Well) Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. Contact Bonnie Steele at 763 400 7209 or bsteele@sjtw.net.

Cost: $20 includes lunch

A chance to learn about Conscious Dying, Family-Directed After-Death Care, and many other topics.  MTN members Carolyn Laine and  Kyoko Katayama will be presenting.
St Joseph the Worker Catholic Church
7180 Hemlock Ln N,
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Upcoming Event: Ars Moriendi : Day of Reflection on the Art of Dying Well

Ars Moriendi : Day of Reflection on the Art of Dying Well
Saturday, January 11th, 2014.  8 AM- 3 PM
St. Joseph the Worker
7180 Hemlock Ln N, Maple Grove, MN 55369
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
COST:  $20 for day,includes lunch
Contact Bonnie Steele at 763-400-7209 or bsteele@sjtw.net with questions or to register!
Workshops will include: exploring end of life medical interventions, caring for your loved one after death, home visitations, natural burials & cremation, palliative care, financial planning, how to choose a health care agent, creating an ethical will, and hospice care.
MTN members Carolyn Laine and Linda Bergh will be presenting a workshop on Home Funerals and Green Burials.

You are invited to come and learn about how to plan for your loved or for yourself!

MTN Movie Night: The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack Heckelman

The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack HeckelmanThe Minnesota Threshold Network is hosting a screening of The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack Heckelman on Monday, August 5, 2013, at 7:00 p.m.

This documentary of what Jack called “my last great adventure” shows footage of community and family support including his casket being made by a niece, family and friends gathering to say farewell, and care for him after death in a three-day home vigil.

It was Jack’s wish that this film be his legacy of hope and encouragement for all people, to empower them with choices for their own dying.

The event will be held at the home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave South Minneapolis 55410. An open discussion will follow. The event is open to the public. An RSVP is helpful, but anyone welcome without notice.

FFI, contact Linda Bergh at hellolindabergh @ gmail . com or 612-927-0894

The New School’s End of Life Conversations Series

Commonweal is a nonprofit center dedicated to healing, learning, the environment, and justice. Founded in 1976 in Bolinas, California, Commonweal conducts programs that contribute to human and ecosystem health—to a safer world for people and for all life. Through the New School, Commonweal is engaging the conversation around death and dying in American culture.

End of Life Conversations Series:

Despite all of the recent attention to death and the process of dying in America, direct and heart-centered conversations about death are still rare—and patients and families frequently have unmet needs. As part of our work at Commonweal, we have listened deeply to people talking about these issues for decades. Our vision for this series is to contribute to a growing conversation about death in America. We’d like to create a public space where questions of death and dying can be explored in safety and without judgment. The following conversations are part of this growing series.

For links to all conversations in this series, see The New School’s website.