August 2017

Greetings friends,

The words Threshold Care Circle evoke a very clear image of a group of people gathering around to support members of our community in caring for our loved ones after death. And yet, for me, these words have begun to evoke a different image, one that represents the current culture around death: a broken circle that needs mending. It’s the work of the Threshold Care Circle to step into the breach.

One of the activities we have begun this year is an informal book study as a way to support our own development and growth in this work. We’ve been reading Suzanne Kelly’s Greening Death, and are finding it rich in metaphor and explanations for the break in this natural circle of life and death. Kelly’s book explores the path our death-care practices have taken, the natural world that has been side-lined and dismissed by the industrialization of these practices, and even the patriarchal need to control the “chaos of the flesh” – the notably messy, natural (and as such, traditionally feminine) world that includes death itself. Our work is to transform this relatively new and pervasive view of death as failure, as an offense to a highly structured and controlled world-view that sees endless growth as an actual possibility. It is time to fuse death back into the life circle, instead of wrenching it away in a strange distortion.  In ways similar to what happened when we brought birth back home from the hospital, we are hoping to bring death back into the circle of the family too.

We’re about halfway through this book this month and are having some really deep and moving discussions that bolster our dedication to this work. 

Here’s a further update on what else we’ve been doing, and a request for your support:

Moved into our new shared space with Christopherus Homeschool Resources on Main Street in Viroqua;
Held a DIY Home Funeral workshop in February for nine participants, from Viroqua, Madison, Decorah,
Eau Claire, and Minneapolis;
Gave presentations and interviews about death and dying to local classes and organizations.
Three of our members became certified facilitators in the Respecting Choices First Steps Advance Care Planning program (a nationally recognized end-of-life advanced care planning program).
Two members are completing their practicum to become Certified Music Practitioners through the Music for Healing and Transition Program.
Sponsored county-level legislation making it now legal to bury on your own land. There are a few minor and logical conditions, and a form and fee to be submitted to the Vernon County Register of Deeds. But it’s very straightforward, and a huge boon for those of us who want to make our own death something greener, and ultimately give ourselves back to the earth.
That last item is a fine example of what a forward-thinking community we live in. We continue to meet reasonable and cooperative advocates at every level, and we know how much harder our work would be without them.

We are seeking $5000 in financial support for three projects in particular:

Update and redesign our website. Designed in 2012, in tech years (like dog years!) our website’s functional age seems to be about 94, and to top that off it has recently been hacked. We have received estimates of $3000 to improve its layout and responsiveness and make it mobile-friendly.
Increase available scholarship funds for our workshops. We would like to continue to offer our workshops to those who need a reduced rate.
Begin selling My Final Wishes, our original planning booklet, as a Print on Demand publication which will enable our booklet to reach a wider market.
Are you able to help us? If so, you may make a non-tax-deductible donation directly to us by sending a check to our mailing address, or through the PayPal button below. 

If you would like a tax deduction instead, please write a check to:

       Kickapoo Cultural Exchange
       PO Box 284
       Gays Mills, WI 54631
       Please add the following note in the memo: Threshold Care Circle.

We won’t stop doing this work, for we each consider it a great privilege. But your gift will help us do it better. 

We are so grateful to each of you.

Kelly Whited-Ford

Tracy Mangold

Adrienne Fox

Liz Franklin

Charlene Elderkin

Share this post:

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.