“The care you bring to the living and the dead is such a tremendous offering to all who know you and even to those you don’t know, like my dad. I can’t thank you all enough for what you did for him and for me.”
~Gail Rapson, home vigil Twin Cities, 2011
I am available for you and your family as you face this threshold. A number of families in the Twin Cities have been served in this way, before, during, and after death of a loved one. This is a volunteer service.
- phone consultation
- visits with family members
- planning for after death care and vigil
- supporting the family through all phases of a home funeral including the body care during the vigil
In addition, trained members the Minnesota Threshold Network are available to assist. minnesotathresholdnetwork.org
EXAMPLE: Video of daughter’s thoughts about mother’s home vigil
PERIODIC HOST of the viewing of The Most Excellent Dying of Jack Heckelman: Conscious Dying and Home Death Care in the home of Linda Bergh or public venue
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.
“Inspiring!” “He wasn’t afraid to die.” “The home vigil was beautiful, intimate, and sacred. This should be in every hospice in the country.”
I have been speaking and teaching classes in end of life education since 2005 and am passionate about opening this threshold to people so they have choices and are empowered to follow their hearts at this time. Co-teachers have included Marianne Dietzel and Kyoko Katayama.
~Conscious Dying: Advanced directives, caregiver support, and ways of opening to conscious dying to support the wishes of the dying person and meet the needs of the family.
~After Death Care and Home Vigil: Care of our own after death : all aspects of care of body and the three day vigil including practical, legal, family support, final disposition, and soul/spiritual understandings
~Conscious Bereavement: Conscious Grieving and Connection to our Loved ones: special focus: transformation from grief to grace special groups: teenagers widows/widowers
~Homily Spirit United: Twin Cities 2012 Finding a pathway: This time of year (day of the dead) is held in many traditions as a thinning of the veil between the worlds. It serves for us as a reminder and opportunity to stay connected to those we love who have crossed the threshold. We will explore the journey from loss to connection through story, meditation, and sharing.
~Conscious Living and Dying Workshop 2009 Twin Cities : Taught through Novalis Institute with co-teacher Marianne Dietzel
How can we prepare ourselves to meet the transition of death – whether it is our own or that of a loved one? Our presenters will share insights and experiences around conscious dying, care of the body, a three-day vigil, and bereavement. The format includes presentations with legal information, visualizations, group sharing and discussion, hands-on training, and rituals with music and poetry. Participants will come away with a broader perspective of the choices available, more clarity for their own wishes, and an empowered sense that one can be present for self and others in this threshold experience.
Classes taught in Fargo, St. Cloud, Viroqua, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Sauk Center, and Twin Cities between 2005 – 2013
TESTIMONIAL FROM PARTICIPANT IN ST. LOUIS
~BEHOLDING THE THRESHOLD: A WORKSHOP ON CONSCIOUS DYING, CARING FOR OUR OWN, AND STAYING CONNECTED
“When I first heard about the seminar on “Conscious Living and Dying,” I did not know what to expect, but knew that I needed to attend. Our school community had been caught unprepared when one of our parents died in the Fall, and I hoped that we could learn to do a better job in supporting both the community and any families directly affected by future illness or death. With our school founder and class teacher Bryan Wessling very ill, we had an urgent need for this kind of seminar.
Marianne Dietzel and Linda Bergh came to our community and shared their own painful experiences of losing their daughters in a car accident. They described ways that their communities supported them, how meaningful many actions were, and the many gifts they received through loving care. Linda also talked about her experiences of losing her husbands, and how she and her community made the death of her second husband an especially beautiful experience.
During the seminar, Marianne and Linda asked each of us to start thinking about issues around illness and dying. We began writing down thoughts on various topics, breaking into smaller groups to share those thoughts with one another. We each wrote a list of things to accomplish if we only had a few months left to live, then culled that list to the top three things. It’s funny how you really pinpoint the most critical things to do when you may only choose a few things. We also worked on a list of areas where we would like help from our community, were each of us in the position of being ill or dying. We followed this up with a list of the gifts we could bring to the community to help out. We collected these lists as the starting point of a community care initiative.
The afternoon centered around very practical issues, especially around the care of a body during a three-day vigil. For example, we learned how to move a body, how to chill the body with dry ice, and what roles were needed to hold a vigil, everything from readers to hearth holders, and more. The seminar left us all with much food for thought, and I especially appreciated a forum where we could talk about the Anthroposophical background on why you might want to do things certain ways.
~Shining Rivers Waldorf School Community Member Karin Layher
“ If someone calls, I am there!”