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.
Katelyn LaGrega’s 2017 film, “The Art of Natural Death Care,” from the Sophia Center in North Carolina, shows families caring for their loved ones after death. The 27-minute documentary, which was presented at the 2017 National Home Funeral Alliance conference, includes clips of MTN’s Linda Bergh.
We met at Linda Bergh’s house. Thanks as always to Linda for being such a gracious hostess. 16 people were in attendance.
We watched Carolyn Laine’s excellent PowerPoint presentation on home funerals and green disposition. The presentation included an excerpt from Nancy Jewel Poer’s documentary The Most Excellent Dying of Theodore Jack Heckelman. A lively discussion followed, touching on steps that MTN, as individual members and as a group, may want to take to ensure that funeral directors and others who deal with end-of-life issues professionally know the law and give accurate information to funeral consumers.
Perhaps the most important take-away from Carolyn’s presentation is this:
“For a body to be embalmed, the family must agree to relinquish their legal right to natural death care. It is the family’s right by law to be in control of the care of their loved one.“
What a wonderful and empowering message!
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, January 13, 2015.
Happy whatever-you-celebrate, and a joyous New Year!
The House committee hearing this afternoon went REALLY well! Representative Carolyn Laine introduced the bill (HF3151) and explained the need for it. Heather Halen, a resident of Minneapolis whose husband died last fall, shared her experience of caring for his body at home. Her eloquent description of what it meant to have him nearby, to visit during sleepless nights and talk to, was riveting. She wished that more people could have been included in this profound and sacred experience, a wish that would be realized by passage of this bill which would lift restrictions on the public viewing of unembalmed bodies.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease, testified as to the safety of having the public view an unembalmed body and be involved on the care of it. He said that pathogens died quickly after the death of the body.
The committee members asked several questions and then the vote was taken. The bill passed out of committee unanimously. It will now go to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote.
Next week the Senate will take up the issue.
It was wonderful to have so many supporters attend the hearing. Please try to make it to the next hearing–and let your Representative and Senator know how you feel about this issue!
You can see media coverage by clicking on the following links: