December 22, 2008
In this Newsletter ~
• Turning to Wintertide…
• Gift Preparation!
• Traveling with an Urn?
• Seeking creative solutions for what to do with your beloveds’ cremains?
• January is official for website overhaul!
•Tidbit / FYI
• Wise Woman’s Ways ~ Nora's Work
Turning to Wintertide…
The final notes of the harvest season have been sung as we move into winter’s cold yet recharging embrace. We are feeling a “big hug of welcome with snow, ice and frigid temperatures!” Gathering, feasting, singing and sharing sacred moments with family and friends is right up there with my view of life’s greatest pleasures. I hope you each have had time with those you love and will embraced the gift of sharing gratitude with each of them on a regular basis. As we move into the dark winter months ahead, we can snuggle up with some good books and get caught up on those projects we just didn’t make time for during the long days of spring, summer and fall. To those of you that completed or reviewed your six essential documents…HOORAY! See, it wasn’t that bad was it? For those of you that don’t know why these documents are essential for everyone, see my previous newsletter.
The various holidays of Yuletide are a great time to talk about gifts we can give to those we love, and perhaps those we will never know. Being prepared with your “household paperwork” AKA “six essential documents or end-of-life paperwork” is the other best gift on my list! Organ donation is another life affirming form of giving, and offers monumental impact for those on the receiving end. Please consider organ donation, however great or small. Have you completed/made your will yet? Consider these things ~ Do you have children? Own property? Vehicles? A Business? A retirement fund? Family heirlooms? Do you have a specific non-profit or group or activity you would appreciate being supported in your honor and memory when you die? If you don’t deal with these things, the courts will, and if you think waiting for Christmas takes a long time…Gift your loved ones some of your time and complete your will. Start with the simplest form, a basic will. Then you can build from there.
Traveling with an Urn?
Transportation Security Administration (or TSA) advise all urns be hand carried on to the cabin of a commercial aircraft and it must first be x-rayed by security screeners. If security screeners are unable to view the contents during the x-ray process, they will insist that the urn be checked and transported as checked baggage. To help avoid any uncomfortable situations, solutions vary from varieties of non-metal urns, ranging from ceramic, paper mache, cornstarch, wood, and wood chip products to name a few. Almost any non metal urn should clearly allow security screeners to view the contents of the urn thereby allowing the urn to be carried on board the aircraft. More info can be found here.
Some airlines do not allow cremated remains as checked baggage so please check with your air carrier before attempting to transport a crematory container in checked baggage.
Seeking creative solutions for what to do with your beloveds’ cremains?
There are numerous creative ways of disposing of cremains. Launched by a rocket into space or fired in a spectacular fireworks display, creating a personal diamond, or the hands-on experience of blending cremains with concrete to make your own ‘reef ball’ that will be dropped to the ocean floor, which is designed to recreate and replenish dying ocean reefs (successfully, I might add). There are beautiful hand made prayer wheels worth looking at if you are interested in supporting an artist.
For those of us that need a urn to hold our cremains until we are ready for them to be released or placed in honor, you have lots of choice. Check out this site which features beautiful and eco friendly containers . I really like the paper shells that melt in water. My personal urn is a cookie jar that came from Costco. Original cost was $9 and it was full of biscotti! The ceramic vines and leaves are just beautiful. Imagine our joy a year later when my husband and I found the same jar at a garage sale for only 25 cents! Both sit in our kitchen and are used for storing whatever until we are ready to use them for us.
January is official for website overhaul!
You have been very, very patient! My tired website is getting a overhaul and will have some fresh resources, forms and more links, including more information about home funerals and lots of new pictures and updates from workshops, presentations and movement in the green burial and home funeral movements. I will send out notification when it is done. Please remember, we never, ever share your contact information with anyone, ever.
If 10,000 people in New York choose eco-burial over cremation, we'll save enough energy to drive from New York City to San Francisco and back more than 8,000 times! Like this little bit? Ideal Bite is a daily green living eco tidbit. You can even get them specific to the region where you live. Go to www.idealbite.com
No one has died of ‘old age’ in the United States since 1951 because that year, the government removed the "old age" category option from death certificates.
Washington State Voters Approve Choice for Terminal End-of-Life!
Strongly supported Initiative 1000 (Washington’s Death with Dignity Initiative) easily passed to champion dignity and choice at end-of-life for terminally ill state residents. Opposition poured large dollar amounts against I-1000; ultimately, our people now have the same respect and consideration we have given pets near death and experiencing incredible pain since I can remember.
In the Wise Woman Tradition ~ Nora’s Work
The universal economic downturn is affecting everyone, including some teaching venues, so thank you for being patient. By next month I should be able to let you know if I will be coming to your neighborhood in 2009. Several new states are on the list and that is good news, so stay tuned! These economic changes we are facing can be a blessed gift for others to embrace reduction in unnecessary use of resources. This is our time in Green Burial to shine and put our messages out there
In the next issue: New Website!! Workshops, training dates and speaking engagements.
In the remaining days of December, I hope all of you find time to reflect on events of the past year. More important, I hope you take time to renew your spirit by spending time with family and loved ones. The activities that traditionally accompany the end of the year remind us of the importance of family, home and community. Starting on December 21st Winter Solstice brings the balance of the shortest day and longest night, as well as the rebirth of the sun! Also on December 21st is Hanukkah, which brings the festival of lights to the season. Next week comes the Christmas holiday and the many traditions that accompany this special time. Kwanzaa begins December 26th with its celebration of family, community and culture. The Islamic New Year is December 29th which launches a number of important observances. Let these many traditions remind us of our shared humanity and let each of us take the goodwill in our hearts out the world around us.
I am always open to hearing about your cultural traditions and chosen traditions! Let me hear what is new with you! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nora Cedarwind Young, Certified Death Midwife
Proudly reclaiming family directed choice at end-of-life.
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