Shrouding Sisters Blog

Coronavirus Information:

For the past few weeks, my posse of Piedmont death care professionals has worked diligently on getting this document ready for the public eye.  

We hope the day never comes when you actually find yourself having to use it.  But if you do, know that you have it within yourself to do the needful.  And this guide will help you every step of the way.

May we all be given strength while finding ways to endure these unprecedented times.

Download PDF: Care for Those Who Die at Home in Pandemic Times

One morning earlier this year I received a phone call from a woman named Alisa.  Less than two minutes in to the conversation I knew this was the person associated with the Abundance Community in Pittsboro.  She and her husband had managed to get Stephen Jenkinson to come down for a public speaking event.  I remember nearly passing out in the bakery when I espied the poster for this event, thinking THE Stephen Jenkinson??? In a little church in PITTSBORO???  As I had just finished reading Jenkinson's "Die Wise," I was eager to hear him in person.

The Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC) hosted their "Wild Ideas for Getting Outside" Expo on March 9.  Jenny and I were invited to have a table at this event. Over 200 guests from all over the Research Triangle showed up to learn about innovative ideas for safeguarding clean water, protecting natural habitats, supporting local farms and food, and connecting people with nature.  I would be hard pressed to think of a more beautiful way to connect with nature than to "go green" at death!

Whew!  Who could imagine that North Carolina would be such a hotbed of activity where consumer funeral rights are concerned??!!  While I can't say my phone has been ringing off the hook, I have had a fair share of phone calls related to these issues.  Two came within a week of each other, prompting me to contact both the National Home Funeral Alliance (NHFA) AND Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) headquarters.  Both concerned a daughter or son's rights to their mother's bodies at death.  

I am so inspired by Anne Weston, a recent acquaintance, who is hell-bent on establishing a green cemetery in this part of the state!  A few weeks ago she had reached out to Jenny, my dear friend and home funeral guide mentor, to see if they could meet for lunch to discuss said green cemetery. Jenny then phoned me to ask if I could join them.  Guess you figured out the answer to THAT question....  We had a very lively discussion for two hours, Anne all the while flipping through her 3-ring notebook where every sub-topic imaginable having to do with green burial was neatly arranged.

Thanks to Hannah Shapiro, Intern with the Triangle Land Conservancy (TLC), for this interview! This is from the TLC Blog, THE DIRT. 

I recently read a blog post where the author opined that all the death and dying conferences she was attending were being held purposely to coincide with Halloween! Oh my, I thought.

I recently presented a program at my local hospice about home funerals and green burial. The folks in attendance were extremely attentive and shared fascinating stories of their own.  As you can imagine, when you are working with death and dying on a daily basis, you quickly build a repertoire of stories.  No one decried anything I said; rather, they were eager to keep the conversation going about all aspects of both home funerals and green burial.  I was on a roll!

I suppose we have come a long way since Marconi's first public radio transmission in 1896!  And in our fast-paced world of lightning-quick communications with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and email, it is hard to believe that there are still lots of folks who listen to talk shows on the radio. On AM stations.  In counties where there are lots of small towns and cities.

I am grateful to Elizabeth for giving me permission to share this story.  It is a powerful teaching gift as we remember how important home funerals and their healing rituals are—for both the living and the dead.  All names have been changed by request.

It was a perfectly ordinary Tuesday in late autumn, when I heard the doorbell ring.  On the porch stood a wild-eyed woman, a casual acquaintance, who was shouting something.   Over the din of two barking dogs, I could just make out, “I-want-you-to-make-me-a-burial-shroud!”


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