Caring for our Own: After Death Care Workshop

caring-for-our-own2

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October Meeting: Regional Threshold Conversation; Saturday, October 15

In place of a regular Tuesday or Wednesday night meeting, we will have a regional gathering of advocates for home funerals and green burials. Home funeral activists from the Twin Cities, Rochester, Northfield, Brainerd, and Wisconsin will share visions, challenges, and plans. All are welcome.

Date: Saturday, October 15, at 10amPotluck lunch to follow.
Place: home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave. S. Minneapolis 55410 (follow link for map). Phone: 612-325-2775.

gettin' stuff done
Photo from the MTN 2015 summer planning meeting. Probably taken by Becky Bohan

Twin Cities December Meeting: Bringing Art into the Conversation about Death

Please join us on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 for an evening of heart-centered sharing about death and dying through poetry, music, and expressive exercises.
art and death
“In taking from us a being we have loved and venerated, death does not wound us without, at the same time, lifting us toward a more perfect understanding of this being and of ourselves.” —Rilke
Linda Bergh and Kyoko Katayama, MTN members, will guide this evening in exploring and sharing each others’ hopes and fears. We invite you to share a poem or image that has moved you.
Gathering will begin at 7pm at the home of Kyoko Katayama, 1474 Branston St., St. Paul, MN 55108 (Como Ave. Exit off 280, then off Como Ave – up the hill on Hendon near Luther Seminary) Phone: 651 485 7557.
MTN meetings are free and open to all.

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

January 2014 meeting: Funeral home price lists.

The next Minnesota Threshold Network meeting will be Monday, January 13, 7:00 pm, at the home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave. Minneapolis. 612-927-0894. Funeral Consumer’s Alliance of Minnesota board members will share their recent price survey of 80 Twin Cities Funeral homes and discuss common interests, including asking funeral homes to post prices on their websites. On January 1, 2013, California became the first state to enact this requirement.

MTN Movie Night: Passing Through Our Hands

We will have movie night on Monday, October 21, 2013, 7 pm, at the home of Linda Bergh, 4315 Xerxes Ave, Minneapolis, 612-927-0894. We will be screening Passing Through Our Hands: Home Funeral Care Guide, a documentary on after-death care of the body. Most of us have few opportunities to learn how to care for a body; this short film gives step-by-step instructions on how to do that in a simple, dignified, and loving way.

“Passing Through Our Hands” starts when the person dies and covers how to wash the body, dress and lay out the body, hold a vigil, and move the body into a coffin. It includes a link to guidelines and written instructions in addition to the video training.

If you would like a copy, visit Passing Through Our Hands. Cost is $15.