Winter 2014 Update from CINDEA

In this issue

Report on 2014 Pan-Death Symposium

Report on Victoria-area Seniors' Expo



Links to CINDEA on Other Sites

Non-CINDEA Information



As a new non-profit society (as of November 2012), CINDEA had its first AGM on February 1, 2014.   The AGM reviewed our accomplishments of the past 15 months and confirmed the direction CINDEA has been moving.




The annual North American Baptist Peace conference (this year focused on ‘environmental justice’ and held in Ontario) approached both CINDEA and Journeying Beyond to provide a presenter on ‘Death Midwifery and Green Burials’.   

As we were not able to do it, we connected them to a colleague in Ontario who would make a great presenter on the subject.  It is exciting to see such a variety of people interested in alternative death-care/options, and to be able to extend the working network of those of us in this field.
CINDEA recently received its first ‘in memory of’ donation — via the website, from someone we had never had contact with before.   We are delighted at this recognition that the website is being appreciated; and hope that our use of the donation will honour their memory.


Links on Other Sites

Further links to CINDEA:

Bereaved Families of Canada — Kingston branch — Resources (Canada and USA).   This branch provides one of the few online resources for bereaved teenagers.   After talking at length with them about this project, the CINDEA Post-death page has added listings “Specially for grieving teenagers” — as well as  “Specifically for the deaths prenatal, stillborn, infants or children” —  to the ‘Grief and Bereavement section.

CINDEA is now linked on all the pages of Beyond Hospice on Donna Belk’s “Links you should know about”.   Donna has also graciously added the CINDEA  ‘Post-death Care at Home’ videos to her post-death care page.

Non-CINDEA Information

How We Buried Our Dead — an interesting article from 1890, copied from Cape Breton’s Magazine, page 32 (article continues on page 33 of the magazine)

In the Parlor: The Final Goodbye is a (not yet finished) documentary film examining the ever-growing trend of families taking a more active role in caring for their own dead.   The film shares intimate insights and experiences of three families who chose this for their loved ones after death.  

Heidi Boucher is a Home Death Guide and a filmmaker working with Tiny Octopus Productions to complete the documentary of her experiences as a Home Death Guide.   The trailer (now available) is itself very poignant.
Most of CINDEA’s recent energy has gone into the pan-death symposium (report below).    We are now following up on various projects that had to be laid aside to work on the symposium.


Report on 2014 Pan-Death Symposium

“A New Approach to Death in the 21st Century”
— a pan-death symposium
CINDEA and Journeying Beyond co-sponsored the first pan-death (before, during and after death) symposium in Victoria, BC, Canada, on February 22, 2014.   Over 60 people gathered for the full-day event — most from Victoria, but including others from Alberta and California.
The presenters — many of them Canadian innovators in their field — spoke with a deep passion for the service that they offer.   The participants were very engaged by both the various kinds of support available, and how one could augment another; and there were several requests that the symposium become an annual event.
The ten presenters described the leading edges in modern death-care (both new, and reclaiming ancient practices).   They focused on the developing support systems for people who wish to die at home, want a more person-centred style of care (pre- and post-death), and/or desire a greener approach to their final disposition.

Part of the intention was to give the participants a clear sense of the ‘pan-death continuum’ — that is, the potentially-linked networks of support that can help them move though all the stages of a death in the most significant and healthy way.   Therefore, the presentations were arranged chronologically — according to the order that families might best access them.


Morning session:
Guided meditation on living in the critical and pivotal point — between old traditions, and possible future ones — in how we approach death and death-care
Advance-care Planning — developing comprehensive Advance Directives
Death Cafes — their growth in Canada and across the world
Family Caregiving — new support systems, including teleseminars/webinars for family/friend caregivers (frequently offered by the Victoria caregivers society, but available Canada-wide)
Hospice and Palliative care — expanding to include all kinds of ‘life-limiting’ illnesses, and encouraging palliative services to be offered at a much earlier stage
24/7 home-care support — unfunded provincial policies to provide this service for those who wish to die at home, but don’t have family caregivers
‘Right to Die’ — unfortunately, the local community could not provide a speaker; but it will definitely be included in any further pan-death symposiums.

Afternoon session:
‘Songs for the dying’ — 8 songs/chants that can be helpful in the death journey (called ‘Bedside Singing’)
Death Midwifery and Home Funerals — a review of what both are; and their value in the death-journey experience for both the Death Journeyer and their families, as well as in shifting our cultural approach to death
Funeral Celebrants — how a funeral or memorial service can be developed to be intimately meaningful to the family/friends, and add to a healthy grieving process
Green Burials — an overview of what they are, and the ecological and emotional value of choosing one
‘Re-honouring our dead’ — a slideshow of participatory and artistic events held in cemeteries (on Day of the Dead and All Souls’ Week, So(u)lstice on Midsummer’s day, and the Equinox Vigil), providing evocative and meaningful ways for family/friends to remember and honour their dead
Grief/bereavement — a new approach to grieving that focuses on not just living with the loss, but ‘transforming one’s world’ to include the spirit or memory of the deceased in a new way.

CINDEA is happy to provide information on how this pan-death symposium was developed to any organization who would like to organize one for their own local area.   Please contact us, or phone Pashta MaryMoon at (250) 383-4065.


Report on Victoria-area
Seniors' Expo

CINDEA and Journeying Beyond co-ran a booth at the Victoria Seniors’ Expo (reportedly the largest in Canada) on March 11, 2014; but didn’t feel that it was a very successful venture.   About 10 people stopped to talk to us about Death Midwifery and Home Funerals, and were supportive; but most people’s faces crinkled up while reading the CINDEA banner, and then they quickly walked away.

It was clear that we did not present the booth and our service as well as we could have — for example, we are fairly sure that no one recognized that the hand-painted cardboard casket (standing upright) was, in fact, a casket, rather than simply a large decorated box.   We had hoped that showing post-death care videos (CINDEA's and others) might draw people in — but no one stopped to look at them; and the hall was so noisy they would not have been able to hear the narration in any case, even with earphones. 
A dear friend reminded us that “it takes 7 times of exposure to a new idea before people are likely to engage with it”; and so perhaps, we should do the Seniors Expo a few more times before deciding if it was worth the money and the time/energy.   On the other hand, with ‘death itself’ still being a taboo subject, the Expo was not the best place to discuss options on death-care.   Between there being no partitions between booths, loud miked performances from the stage most of the time, and dense crowds of people moving through the aisles, there was no way of having any intimacy for discussion.
If others have had experience with Seniors Expos or similar events, and have advice on how to best present Death Midwifery and Home Funeral options in this venue, we would welcome your wisdom.

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