Honoring our Dead: A fundraiser

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We look forward to this event all year. With Autumn in the air, the leaves changing to red and gold and the nights turning cold, it’s finally time.  We are hosting a tribute to the ways we honor our beloved dead with an event packed evening focusing on an Irish Wake & the Mexican Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos. It will be held on Friday Nov 4th as part of Downtown Bellingham Art Walk Night, from  5-9:30pm. The event will be at 1511 Cornwall Ave, across from Terra, the Public Market, in the old United Way offices. This space was generously donated for our use to hold this event.  

Join us as we celebrate the Allhallowtide (which includes: All Saint’s Eve, Hollowmas, All Saint’s Day, All Souls Day, Day of the Dead, Samhain and Halloween) in Honoring our Beloved Ancestors as  A Fundraiser for a Sacred Passing: Death Midwifery Service.

There will be information about our:
Community Outreach Program,
Our Community Hardship Fund,
Training Opportunities,
Services available,
and Earth Womb Shrouds

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Art Show  
Interactive Art Works
Silent Auction   
A Memorial Tree
Door Prizes    
Face Painting for Day of the Dead
Music by: Celtic Roots, Mariachi, and dancing with Blues Fuse blues band
Wine, Beer & tasty treats
Cross-Cultural examples of Honoring the Dead

Admission by Donation
Non-profit 501(c)3  tax exempt organization

So, raise a glass
Offer a cheer,
Light a candle
For the loved ones
so dear.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/294475540937699/?active_tab=posts

 

 

Screening of: In the Parlor: The Final Goodbye, a documentary

We are happy to be hosting this screening at our office on Friday May 27. We will begin with an introduction of the film at 6:00pm by director Heidi Boucher with the film to follow and a question and answer directly following the film. The screening will be free and open to the public and any donations received will go directly to the film makers. I hope you will join us.

In the Parlor

“Rejecting the mainstream tradition of hiring funeral professionals to care for the deceased, families in search of a more personal and fulfilling way to say goodbye are taking an active role in caring for relatives who have died.

Both a critical look at the American relationship with death and an inquiry into the home death care movement, In The Parlor: The Final Goodbye takes viewers on a journey where very few have gone, and challenges us to reflect on this uncomfortable subject, which so often is hidden away and ignored.”

Documentary by Heidi Boucher;   http://intheparlordoc.com/

Screening Sponsored by A Sacred Passing: Death Midwifery Services

New Office Open House!

Join us for our Open House on Friday April 1, 2016 between 5pm and 9pm to celebrate our new Bellingham Office. A Sacred Passing has a new office space and we want to share it with you. Our Death Midwifery Service is taking off in the Northwest and our business is growing far beyond Bellingham, but we still hold Bellingham dear to our heart and consider it home. We provide public education, as well as private consultations as we work towards our mission to bring a more conscious dying experience into our community. Come join us and see what’s happening. There is going to be complimentary wine and refreshments, along with door prizes including a free massage and a free Death Plan Consultation. There will be entertainment provided by local musicians, and heart-warming conversation. Come mingle with our crew and hear about our upcoming community offerings. Throughout the evening we will also be screening A Family Undertaking, a film that explores the home funeral movement and how families are reclaiming their end of life. Bring your friends, family, and coworkers. This is a free event and all ages are welcome. A Sacred Passing is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and donations are always welcome and greatly appreciated. We couldn’t do what we do without the support of community members like you. We look forward to seeing you there.

4200 Meridian Street, Suite 105 Bellingham, WA 98226 (360)927-5040

www.asacredpassing.com info@asacredpassing.com

Transitions: My Autumn to Winter

“Oh, Great Maple, a year of brilliant sunrises and enchanted starry nights are painted in the poetry of your Autumnal leaves. Here is Nature’s way to have the End match the whole. ”

Autumn is my favorite season. The richness, the bounty, the beauty, the slowing down, the bundling up and the ever present feeling of gratitude that permeates the air. It leaves me taking deep breaths and in a place of internal contemplation.

We can take a lesson from Mother Nature. What would our End need to look like to match and to contain the essence of the whole of our lives? How do we stay in integrity with the life we have lived if our End is some distant, removed, sterilized, isolated, unattended, unimagined point?

It requires you to look at your upcoming End, to look at Death. This End point must be looked at in order to reach it in the way you desire. As you know, your life will end with or without your consent. So, as with any other major decision, change, transition in your life, you should really be the one orchestrating it. No one knows you or your life better than you. Nobody knows what you want and don’t want better than you.

As we begin to explore the re-development of our Transitions, I bring you a question. Do you know what your choices are? You can’t paint a very interesting painting if you believe your only tool is an orange crayon. What if you had an entire art room full of options to choose from? Your End is like that. Begin by looking at the image you have in your mind now of what you think your End of Life might look like. Now, craft an image that matches the fullness of your life. In this column we will begin to explore some of those options.  Paint the mastery of your own existence into your End of life.  

Planning for the End no more ensures that it will come faster than planning to win the lottery.

Planning for your End of Life is more than writing an Advanced Directive (formerly called a Living Will).  Though an Advanced Directive is part of the process, did you know that it should cover more than whether you want CPR or not? It should allow much more flexibility and creativity into your options. Not simply yes or no answers.  Like staying on artificial breathing for a week then allowing it to be turned off. Did you know that you can have massage and acupuncture for pain management as well as morphine?  . I encourage you to write a Death Plan. Like a Birth Plan (the first Transition you went through), you should pick the kind of care you need to be fully supported medically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It fills the gaps between the Advanced Care Directive and funeral plan. Get specific. Pick the colors, the scents, the fabrics, the whole nine yards. Craft the mastery of your own existence into your End of life.  

Written by Ashley T Benem, Death Midwife, LMP, Minister. 

 

Class perspective

Death Doula Training Blog 11-24-15

        As we all set into our borrowed space, we curiously pondered what the next two days would bring.  Many of us were strangers, brought together by the subtle whisperings of death’s song.  Our facilitator called in all the elements, to remind our awareness of our deep connection to them.  An unfamiliar anticipation weighed heavy on my senses.  I struggled to identify its central source, at this point only making a hazy note of its existence.  We moved gracefully through our day, sharing our own experiences, practicing how to steady our minds and be present with one another, and learning to be comfortable in the silence and appreciate the power of vulnerability.  We learned of all the ways we’ve developed our language so that under no circumstance, we have to actually say the words death and dying.  Instead we say things like, “they just lost the race,” or “they are roadkill,” because those are much better.  Our day was full of knowledge and logistics, some aspects more practical than others.  Some though, some insight was like a gray shadowy hand that reached deep down to the core of my malleable being, and rested itself there, tapping its long, thin fingers to the beat of my human heart.  I went home, instantly bombarded by the infinite scroll in my societal world of things to get done.  Although, to my surprise, the fire element had other plans.  It mysteriously played with my awareness until it funneled in my attention, leading to the message, the message that has transformed my once desperate, untamed glow into a focused, undeniable guiding light.  “Fire is the Element responsible for passionate resonance when you are following your life’s calling.”

        We all gathered back in our space we had sat in the day before, sharing our own experiences of what the prior night had delivered to us.  To my pleasant surprise, each and every single piece of every person there had been annihilated by their exposure to so much truth.  No words could justly elaborate on the overwhelmingly profound evolution we had all witnessed.  Instead, we acknowledged its presence, and moved on to the sacredness of ceremony and vigils.  We learned of the beauty found in weaving the stories and experiences of one’s life together at their death, through spiritual and cultural means.  As well as all of the healing that takes place with each motion a grieving person moves through.  For me, the person I was at the end of the Death Doula training, was not the person I was when I began.  For me, my eyes were now slightly more open than they were before.  Open to the gratitude that exists in grief.  Open to the foundation of fear that lays within so many.  Open to the reality of how far we have wandered from what death is, and how it should be.  Open to begin the process of how to let death in, and through this, how to live.  And now, I can share all of this, with you.  I cannot guarantee your experience would be as mine was.  I went in searching for this transcendence.  I would say though, if you ever plan on a loved one dying, or if you ever plan on dying yourself, this a class for you; and if neither of these apply to you, well then you need a different class entirely.  I can say with confidence, if you enter this class with the intention of acceptance and embracing your humanness, you will find yourself beautifully reconfigured on the other side.

By Ashlee Sperry

Trip to Enso House

The Leadership Board for A Sacred Passing just returned from a wonderful afternoon spent at the Enso House on Whidbey Island. The Enso House is a Hospice House near Freeland. This lovely home rests on 20 acres of beautiful farmland next to the Tahoma One Drop Zen Monastery. It is a serene setting that offers a quiet and reflective space for people who are in their final stages of their Hospice journey. It is staffed by skilled caregivers 24 hours a day and offers a variety of extremely affordable  payment options. Thought the Hospice house shares some staff with the monastery, it is not otherwise associated with it and welcomes residents of all faith and spiritual practices.  We enjoyed our visit with the staff at Enso completely and look forward to a creative and supportive relationship with them.  ensohouse.org.  written by Ashley T Benem.

What is a Death Midwife?

A Death Midwife is a trained professional with expertise and skills in supporting the dying person and their support network of family, loved ones and friends, to maintain the highest quality of life during the end-of-life process. Death Midwives are often called Home Funeral Guides in some areas. Death Midwives provide the dying person with individualized care uniquely suited to their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs. They are a non-medical supportive companion and guide to assist the dying person toward a more conscious dying experience. A Death Midwife usually offers a variety of options and seeks to minimize unnecessary interventions at the end of life.  This philosophy is represented by the Death Midwives Model of Care.

“A Death Midwife is a person who is trained and experienced in death who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the dying person and their support network before, during and just after death.”

A Death Midwife:

  • Believes that death and dying are a normal life process.
  • Recognizes death as a key life experience that the support network of the dying person will remember all their lives.
  • Understands the physiology of death and the emotional needs of the dying.
  • Assists the dying person and their support network in preparing for and carrying out the death plan.
  • Stays by the side of the dying person throughout the dying process.
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance to the dying person in getting the information they need to make good decisions.
  • Facilitates communication between the dying person, their support network and the medical providers.
  • Perceives their role as one who nurtures and protects the dying person’s experience.
  • They often help the dying to leave the body in the most graceful, supported manner possible.
  • Can offer spiritual support as appropriate for the dying person and supports.
  • Empowers families to reclaim the healing ritual of a home vigil or wake and the possibility of a funeral at home.
  • Assists family with planning and carrying out after-death ceremonies or rituals (possibly laying out the deceased and home visitation of the body or wake).
  • Preparing the body for burial or cremation.
  • Filling out the death-related paperwork such as death certificate or transportation permit.
  • Can help facilitate the transportation of the body.
  • Can help facilitate the final disposition.

The acceptance of Death Midwifes in end-of-life care is growing rapidly with the recognition of their important contribution to the improved outcomes and emotional well-being of the dying person and their support network.

What is a Death Doula?

The word ‘doula’ comes from ancient Greek and is now often used to refer to a woman who helps other women. It has been applied to childbirth to refer to “a woman experienced in childbirth who provided continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.” The meaning is easily transferred for use in death and dying.

“A Death Doula is a person who is experienced in death who provided continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the dying person before, during and just after death.”

A Death Doula :

  • Recognizes death as a key life experience that the dying person and their support network will remember all their lives.
  • Understands the physiology of death and the emotional needs of the dying.
  • Assists the dying person and their support network in preparing for and carrying out the death plan.
  • Stays by the side of the dying person throughout the dying process.
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint and assistance to the dying person in getting the information they need to make good decisions.
  • Facilitates communication between the dying person, their support network and the medical providers.
  • Perceives their role as one who nurtures and protects the dying persons experience.

The acceptance of Death Doulas in end-of-life care is growing rapidly with the recognition of their important contribution to the improved outcomes and emotional well-being of the dying person and their support network.

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As a Non-profit Corporation 501c3, your tax deductible donation can help provide end-of-life care options for folks with limited funding, as well as fund our continued efforts to bring free public education about end of life options to the community.

 

We are grateful to receive any donation you may feel inspired to offer and are happy to send you a receipt for your taxes.