Mourning Dove Studio Blog

Planning Ahead: Death Cafes and more

Maybe you have ideas or questions related to death that you haven’t had a chance to explore out loud. Maybe you’re not sure how to voice these thoughts or would like to hear the thoughts and questions that others have for themselves. It’s generally noted that we have a death-denying culture here in the US and that this is true for many other countries, too. Enter  The Death Cafe– started by Jon Underwood and Sue Barsky Reid in London in September 2011. “At a Death Cafe, people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death… Our objective is ‘to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives’’” They’ve estimated that 6,289 Death Cafes have been held in 56 countries – approximately 63,110 people talking! “A Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or [link to read more…]

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Planning Ahead: funeral poems, quotes and truth-telling

Although I initially thought I had no preferences or quotes/poems, etc, to record for my funeral, over time some have come to mind. I think I became more attentive when I had a place to write them down. Now I’m happy to have some beautiful quotes that express my loving goodbyes in ways I like. (Some who are dear to me will read this post so by sharing the quotes here I’m also expressing my love to them while I’m alive, but that’s not so bad, either!) “Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure” – Oliver Sacks “My glory was I had such friends” – W.B. Yeats “It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love” – Stephen Hawking Maya Angelou’s gorgeous poem, When [link to read more…]

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Planning Ahead: Home Funerals

What is a home funeral? We can think of it as “a home vigil immediately after the death, when friends and family would come to help, visit and share” This is often for 2 or 3 days, and it can be as private or public as you like. Why choose a home funeral rather than a conventional funeral? “We are seeking the kinship and meaning that doing these simple, mindful things brings us. And the home funeral experience is, first and foremost, mindful. Instead of handing off the inconvenient responsibilities and uncomfortable details, we immerse ourselves in them—we want to be fully present with and for our loved ones, living and dead; we choose deliberately to not let this tender time speed by at a distance, in a blur.” Both of these quotes are from the nonprofit organization called the National Home Funeral Alliance  (NHFA). This website is just the start of the [link to read more…]

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Planning Ahead: Natural Burial

Recognizing the importance of natural burial, the National Funeral Directors Association has a green burial certification program.   However, the Green Burial Council is the non-profit organization that sets the standards for natural burial (certifying cemeteries, products and home funeral guides as well as funeral directors) and also provides information for all of us. The website of the Green Burial Council has more articulate and thorough information than I could possibly cover here, including a description, responses to questions responses to questions, and a short planning guide. Grave Matters, by Mark Harris, is the book that brought natural burial to the attention of many people. You can read thorough and interesting descriptions of U.S. natural burial cemeteries in Natural Burial Cemetery Guide, a book by Ann Hoffner, as well as a range of topics in her blog, such as stories about her visits to cemeteries, delving into relevant science, and reporting on natural burial events. Hoffner’s [link to read more…]

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