Diane Banner, Kathy Neidert, Kathy Doerfer, Susan Nesbit, and Charlene Elderkin continued to meet regularly. We collaborated with Sharon Lukert, a former hospice chaplain and bereavement counselor to bring more information on grief and loss to our community. Our educational activities and press coverage included:
- At Home Funerals Presentation at McIntosh Memorial Library on Feb 17
- Article Saying Goodbye Kickapoo Style by Anne O’Connor appears in the March issue of the Kickapoo Free Press
- In March TCC joins Facebook (with over 100 friends currently)
- On March 13 Sharon Lukert, bereavement counselor, facilitated a workshop “When Someone Grieves” at Maplewood Terrace in Viroqua
- On June 7 – Charlene Elderkin gave a presentation on Home Funerals to the Wisconsin Medical Examiner and Coroner’s Conference
- In August Marianne Deitzel & Linda Bergh gave spiritually-oriented readings from their books Laughing in a Waterfall: A Mother’s Memoir and She Would Draw Flowers at the Turning Place in Viroqua. Susan Nesbit and Diane Banner arranged for an evening conversation about loss at The Turning Place between Sharon Lukert and local teenagers.
- In September Karen Dahl interviewed Susan Nesbit and Charlene Elderkin on her radio show and Susan Nesbit’s SUTRA Sale raised $500 for TCC.
- The September Series, four classes on Home Funerals on Thursday nights in September was well attended. Classes were held at the Turning Place in Viroqua.
- In October Susan Nesbit & Charlene Elderkin attend the National Home Funeral Alliance Conference in Boulder, Colorado. Sharon Lukert gave a Pathways to Wellness presentation on Death, Dying and End of Life Care.
- November 13-14 Sharon Lukert presented “Walking the Path of Grief and Loss” at the Turning Place.
- In December Kathy Doerfer gave a presentation on Home Funerals to the confirmation class at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
- In January Charlene Elderkin’s article The Call appeared in the Winter issue of Lilipoh magazine, which had a conscious dying/home & green funeral focus.
- On January 23 Joe Orso wrote Midwifing Death at Home for his weekly LaCrosse Tribune column.
TCC directly assisted five families who chose some form of after-death home care. We know there were others that were able to figure out what to do from our website, which has instructions on the paperwork involved, and a page on care of the body.
Our small but steady presence through the last four years reached a tipping point by the end of 2010. The increased awareness the Driftless community has of deathcare choices is having an impact on our young organization. Up until now, we have operated on a volunteer basis, out of our homes. We can see that this is not sustainable and are envisioning some changes.
One thing that needs to change is our location, or lack of one. We do need an office where we can house our small resource library, store our deathcare supplies (including a coffin or two), a place where people can come to get information and supplies when needed. Death does not give us advanced warning, and having TCC’s belongings divided among five households puts on extra pressure when those items are needed and people are away at work or on vacation.
Is there a landlord who has office space available in Viroqua and is willing to donate part or all of the rent to TCC? If so, contact Susan Nesbit at email@example.com
Another way to support the work of TCC is to develop relationships with our legislators and keep an eye on any legislation that affects our deathcare choices. We do have need of a change in a specific law that effects people who want to appoint an agent to handle their final disposition rather than leaving it up to next of kin. Right now the agent can make the decisions but is not authorized to sign the paperwork that a family member would be able to sign. The end result is that if you appoint an agent that is not next of kin, you will have to use a funeral director to file the necessary paperwork.
Anyone interested in developing relationships with legislators on behalf of home funeral rights (maybe you already have these relationships due to other issues) please let us know.
Our goal for this year is to continue to build relationships in our community. If circumstances (funding) permit, we hope to have an office and an outreach person in place to facilitate training programs for churches and faith communities interested in assisting their members with home funerals.
Thank you for your continued interest and support,
Charlene Elderkin, Susan Nesbit, Kathy Doerfer, Kathy Neidert and Diane Banner