In Loving Hands Workshop

in loving hands

I had the honor of attending an all day workshop yesterday at the serene and beautiful Center at Westwoods.  This workshop focused on the art of green, family-led deathcare.

I was looking forward to listening to some wonderful leaders in the family led death-care movement. There are a few people who I found via the internet or personal recommendation early on in my death care training.  I can’t tell you how cool it was to have them all together in the same room for a day!   Heather Massey is a licensed massage therapist and family led death-care educator.  I love the energy and enthusiasm that Heather brings to EVERYTHING and couldn’t wait to listen to her.

Ruth Faas owns Mourning Dove Studio and is one of the first people I started to communicate with when I was still studying to be an End of Life Consultant and knew we’d be moving to Massachusetts.  Ruth sells eco-funeral supplies, but that is only the beginning.  Ruth has a heart open wide and holds loving space for those that are navigating the death journey either personally or as a loved one.  She beautifully weaves art expression into her connection with people and allows a special type of healing to take place.

Last but certainly not least, I had been looking forward to meeting Karen Van Vurren for quite some time.  Karen  is the founder of the educational non-profit magazine Natural Transitions.

To be with these gifted and loving women was a real honor.  We also had a very educational talk by Ashlie Taylor.  Ashlie is the incoming president of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts and was incredibly helpful to us as she explained some of the new protocols in MA for death certificates.   I was pleased to hear more about Mount Auburn Cemetery from Candace Currie.  As wonderful as it was to learn more about their green options, I was thrilled to know that there are other cemeteries throughout MA that will allow green burials.  For more information about what green burial even is, feel free to drop me an email.

I hope we have many more of these in months and years to come.  I’d love to see more people who just want to take ownership of their own death management and those of their loved ones attend these workshops.

Healing begins when we do something.  Lovingly caring for the body after death aids immensely in beginning the grief process.  Like everything else in life, it should be all about what you are comfortable with, and what will serve you.  You may want to simply bathe and dress your loved one before calling the funeral home or you may want to hold the entire funeral process in your home.  The choices are yours to make and the most vibrant experiences happen when there as been as much pre-planning as possible.  To learn more about options and even the step by step processes, set up a complementary meeting to get started.  I look forward to hearing from you!

 

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Comfort All Around Us

 

cardinal-red-bird

I love this guy.  Cardinals have held a special place in my heart since I was just a young girl living in Ohio.

We had moved back to the Midwest from Maine and it really wasn’t a happy time for me.

I longed for the ocean, seaside forests, fog and beach combing.  My most beloved moments were climbing the rocks, searching for ocean life and beach glass.  I loved Maine more than I could articulate even as a youngster, it was literally woven into my soul’s fabric.  Having to leave what felt like my true home was filled with emotions that seemed bigger than life.  Of course, as children, everything in our little worlds feels HUGE.

It only took a few years to know that it was just a phase of life, and that phase would then eventually become another phase.


 

Our house back in Ohio was a great house for a nature lover.  We had some farm animals, a small orchard, beautiful fields and lots of woods with a creek.  The expansive yard was a true bird haven.  There would be times when I’d count 30 or even more pairs of cardinals in the bushes.


 

The irony was not lost on me that after moving back to Maine a number of years later, it was rare to ever see a cardinal!

During the last few days of my Dad’s life, I checked out of my normal routine (job included) and moved into Dad’s room at the nursing home.  It was a time that I was honored beyond description to be present for.  It was also a time of deep despair and sadness.  Suddenly time was speeding up and as much as I did want my Dad to be done with his suffering,  it was breaking my heart to come ever closer to the final good bye.

Early in the morning hours, just barely after dawn, I had moved off the side of Dad’s bed to a chair by the window to stretch my back and try to coax my spine into some semblance of normal posture.  Just outside his window at the base of a small tree in the courtyard landed a beautiful scarlet male cardinal who looked directly into the window as if to say, “I’m here.  I’m here for you, to bring you comfort and I’m here for your Dad and Mother too.”  I felt time briefly stand still until he finally decided to seek some food in the grass.  He graced us with his presence or a few hours and then flew away.  

I looked for him each morning at dawn and again at dusk, but he did not return.   Then not long after my dear Father left his earthly body, the cardinal flashed brilliant red by the window as he landed under the tree.  There he stayed for quite some time, quietly comforting us as only an animal can do.  


 

There is comfort everywhere.  When you open yourself to nature, to beauty, to our fellow human beings, there is comfort all around us.  We just have to look.


 

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