Thursday, 2 May 2019

losing your love: thoughts from a widow & widower

The Death Dialogues podcast gives us the opportunity to hear people's tender tales that they are willing to share to the world.

Our last two episodes consist of interviews with a widow and then a widower.

Heike Mertin has written a book Grieving is . . . thoughts on loss, struggle and new beginnings .

Heike's brother died of cancer and then her husband was diagnosed with brain cancer. After his death her ailing parents both died as well. Heike's book shares short snippets from three phases of her grief. It's lovely in that you can pick up her book and briefly engage in a reading that will resonate and support you.

Heike opens her heart to us in episode number 22. 

You can join us for that podcast episode here:

Our most recent podcast episode is titled The Accidental Episode. It is a step into the world of a recently bereaved partner and a sacred telling of their home death and vigil experience with candid sharing of emotion.

This episode came about when Dan Rundleman agreed to have a conversation surrounding the death of his wife, but as you hear, he initially felt that emotions may be a bit too raw so instead we just stayed on our pre-episode chat. However, at the end of that he decided we could use it for an episode. 

This episode is unlike any other and we so appreciate Dan's candid sharing of his family's story. You can listen here (actually number 23):




The Death Dialogues Project is a grassroots movement looking at the intersection of the arts, issues surrounding death and the community and we receive no funding.

Please help by subscribing and sharing our podcast and following us on FB and Instagram. 

Our payment is increasing the number of folks who witness our work and proclaim that they have been changed for the better. 

Until next time . . . 

Sunday, 21 April 2019

a life in thirds

Today is my birthday.

The lead up was exciting as this heart centred work we are doing with the project was given to the community last week to very sweet feedback.

This morning I wake up and the first thing I read is this gorgeous poem that resonated so: 

THE HOUSE OF BELONGING
I awoke
this morning
in the gold light 
turning this way 

and that

thinking for
a moment
it was one
day
like any other.
But
the veil had gone
from my
darkened heart
and
I thought
it must have been the quiet
candlelight
that filled my room,
it must have been
the first
easy rhythm
with which I breathed
myself to sleep,
it must have been
the prayer I said
speaking to the otherness
of the night.
And
I thought
this is the good day
you could
meet your love,
this is the gray day
someone close
to you could die.
This is the day
you realize
how easily the thread
is broken
between this world
and the next
and I found myself
sitting up
in the quiet pathway
of light,
the tawny close
grained cedar
burning round
me like fire
and all the angels
of this housely
heaven ascending
through the first
roof of light
the sun had made.
This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.
This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.
There is no house
like the house of belonging.
'The House of Belonging'
From The House of Belonging
Poems by David Whyte
©David Whyte and Many Rivers Press

I then look out my bedroom to my favourite morning views-- when the mist hangs low in the valleys.

As I then sat outside listening to some zen tunes that were new to me and doing a little yoga practice, the thought came to me.

My life in thirds.

Turning 58 today-- you could reckon that if I don't exit prematurely I could have now ticked off the first two thirds of my life.

A large part of the first third of my life rested in trauma. Thankfully throughout that childhood and other traumas that would visit, I had a discernment. Enough of one to keep me from totally going down the rabbit hole of hopelessness. I could see people and situations for what they were and I didn't own them. I still suffered because of them but thankfully I didn't go to the place of such difficult return: blaming myself. 

That first third then saw me through intense studies while giving birth to and nursing my three wee soul mates. And proceeding with the struggle we all have– negotiating that terrain in a way that we hope upon hope  won't cause harm to our children. It wasn't an easy dance.

In the middle third, which one could argue I might not be quite out of, I've found myself doing much exploration and attempting to follow the map of "right for me and mine." Arguably that required a huge amount of time in my head going over the checklists of "right." 

All the while I've attempted to keep my focus on my connection to the divine and open to magic. But it isn't always easy when we are working on being a parent-bee, partner-bee and worker-bee. When do we get to just Be? Sometimes during those first two thirds of our lives it seems that the time for ourselves is fleeting.

Last week I went to a medium with one of the cast and she would only see one of us and my friend pushed me in. This isn't something I have considered all throughout time. I lie. I've considered it plenty, but haven't invested in it much.

The reading was simply magical. Like major details of my life and loves verbatim. And within that was the confirmation that I'm in the right place– physically and metaphysically and geographically and a affirming message regarding the lives of all of our kids. And how personally things will open further to me.

And I've been realising for quite sometime-- this third of life that I'm on the precipice of is one of immense opening for me. There's more time. There's more space. My head-space is letting go of the mothers-list that clung so tightly to my brain. It will always be there to an extent, but it has served its purpose and may now resign to the background. 

And that's all I really wanted to say. Yep. I get it. I might be hit by a bus tomorrow. I know one can't predict the dimensions of ones' life and death. However, developmentally, this vibe that I've written feels right for me. And I look forward to being conscious of this final third and working hard at hearing my own voice and following my divine direction.

And I wish you peace in following yours . . . 

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Reimagining Death

When Lucinda Herring's publicist contacted me about Lucinda being on our podcast, I had no idea who she was or what her book was about.

As I began reading her book I was absolutely blown away by the commonality I felt with her views and her history and her stories. 

Lucinda's writing is delightful as she dances with Death in a variety of manners from the personal to the practical. 

This book comes highly recommended as does this podcast episode. Give it a listen-- I think you will also find her history with death and her stories fascinating.

You can listen here:



LUCINDA HERRING has worked at the cutting edge of the green funeral movement for more than twenty years, beginning with others in the 1990s to quietly care for loved ones after death. Today she is one of the leading voices for more healing and ecological ways to care for our dead. Her book, Reimagining Death: Stories and Practical Wisdom for Home Funerals and Green Burials, has just been published by North Atlantic Books, and is available at your local independent bookstore or online.  Herring is a home funeral/green disposition consultant and guide, an interfaith minister, and a licensed funeral director in the state of Washington. She speaks regularly about her work, and through her company Limina LLC--Thresholds Consulting and Ministry, she offers Advance After-Death Care planning, home funeral/green disposition education and trainings, and celebrant/ministerial services for families and communities who are reclaiming their innate right to care for each other and the earth at the end of life. Lucinda is also a storyteller and festival maker, committed to bringing art, beauty, ritual and celebration to all of life's thresholds. She lives on an island in the Puget Sound, amongst people who love exploring and creating new paradigms and ways of being that can be of service to all. 


Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Where Death has Taken Me


I am so hoping you have the opportunity to listen to Jane Cunningham's interview on The Death Dialogues Project Podcast. You can find the direct link at the end of this post or see all of the available podcast platforms on your right.

When I arrived in Whangarei eight years ago, I was daunted by leaving my friends and family, but felt that, for wellness reasons, it was the appropriate decision.

By attending a workshop Jane conducted I linked into a world I had always wanted and that has continued to grow during my time in Aotearoa. 

Women/people gathering and connecting on a soul level and engaging in creative process was a sacred balm I had craved throughout my lifetime and has been healing and nourishing. 

Now I call Jane a friend and one of "my people"-- the kind of friend that I know could be by my side when The Hard comes to visit.

Give this podcast a listen and you will see a bit more deeply into one of the Northland of New Zealand's gems and her perspective on why having Death out of the closet is so very important.


How Jane describes herself:


I am a woman who is a deep believer in the Numinous –the presence of the Divine.  The Numinous shows up in synchronicity, Love, beauty, kindness and ordinary life in ways that we are not taught to perceive and I want to build that practise in the world.  I understand that the world is hungry for a return to Spirit.  Humans and the land and the waters and all the creatures are literally sick from disconnection and I believe in our obligation to do the work of realigning with the Divine as part of our truth.  So I paint, pray, play and tend to my soul and the souls around me knowing that the Numinous is present everywhere and comes alive each time we tend to it.  I don’t have all the questions let alone all the answers and I skin my knees from stumbling, but I keep turning up to it all as best I can. I am a woman of Pictish/Celtic lineage deeply connected to the land of Aotearoa, New Zealand in which I live. I am a mother of two beautiful girls and live with my family and working one on one and in person using Creativity as a way of exploring the inner landscape.  I look forward to seeing your Numinous soul shine. Jane's resource for planning surrounding death can be seen here: Gentle Conversations. Her website can be found HERE. You can find her on FaceBook and Instagram by searching Numinous Jane.
You can listen to Jane's episode here: 

Thursday, 28 February 2019

lessons on dying: from cardiologist to caregiver

Below you will find a link to a very special podcast with a member of The Death Dialogues Project Podcast team– Stephen Jennison.

Stephen interfaced with death professionally in his work as a cardiologist specialising in congestive heart failure and was very open with his patients around death.

When the word patients changed a few letters and became P A R E N T S, his entire relationship with death changed.

Stephen has gone from not wanting a funeral at all for himself to asking, if possible, for a home death and vigil and service like we provided for his mother-in-law.

Indeed Death changes us. 

You'll enjoy hearing his unique perspective on Death.

As always, thanks for listening!