Spirit of the Earth Carry Me Home Community Supported Eco Friendly Coffins in Times of Covid We will fill the vessel with all of the hugs we could not give, write the notes with the words we didn’t get to say, and line with their favorite blanket or sweater. Where instead of fancy flower arrangements many of us can't afford right now, we cover our departed ones with flowers, inside the coffin, from our gardens and the supermarket.
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A Proposal Spirit of the Earth Carry Me Home Community will fundraise to support low income and undocumented families in the city of Boston and provide the following:
A cardboard coffin that can be used for cremation or burial.
Art supplies, video/phone support and guidance for families to decorate the coffin.Or decoration by a community artist, with input from the family, when possible. Artists will receive a flat rate fair wage stipend for their work.
Death Midwife will provide emotional and spiritual support, consultation to guide dying person/family/loved ones through the coffin art project, facilitate communication with funeral home to arrange transport of the deceased to cemetery or crematorium.
During the time of Covid 19 and due to current limitations regarding in-person group gatherings, Death Midwife will help facilitate online, non denominational memorial services for families, if they so desire. Offerings will be updated when restrictions are lifted.
Join the Community
Your tax deductible donation makes it possible for families to bury or cremate their loved one with dignity, community love, and support.
Thank you for being the fiscal partner 501C3 One Square World. Check out the wonderful work they do! www.onesquareworld.org/
Thank you to our coffin partner Mourning Dove Studio for providing generously discounted coffins! Learn more about their offerings. mourningdovestudio.com/
A Vision The times we are in, that require us to be physically apart from each other for our survival, have also forced our separation from our hospitalized loved ones during their illness. We are not able to perform our usual rites and rituals at their death. I deeply feel the pain of Indigenous, Black, Brown, Queer, poor, disabled, and other marginalized bodies that collectively experience this ancient and novel grief. We feel it in our bodies again, on this land again, as a result of living in an inequitable system where we were not meant to survive.
I invite us to time travel to a moment where we get to tend to the vessels that will carry the bodies of our beloveds. Where we will get to decorate, bless up, grieve, and personalize the coffins that will be offered to the earth or to the fire. Where we will fill the vessel with all of the hugs we could not give, write the notes with the words we didn’t get to say, and line with their favorite blanket or sweater. Where instead of fancy flower arrangements many of us can't afford right now, we cover our departed ones with flowers, inside the coffin, from our gardens and the supermarket. Where we get to choose to include the children in this ritual, so they understand death as a part of life, and make meaning and contribute to the process with their precious hand prints or special drawings as an expression of their love. Where communities can contribute to this process for those who don’t have family. Where the artists can express their genius for those who prefer to be less hands on in the creative process, and be compensated for their labor.
Capitalism has socialized us to think that love looks like the most expensive casket, a casket that they tell you will protect them, a metal or hardwood box that will never decompose in the way things offered to the earth are supposed to. Can we imagine together, in these times, when we are discovering what is most important, another possibility? In these moments of physical isolation, and social distancing, of limited economic resources, can we imagine that we can make beauty? That we can find a way of reclaiming agency and get creative, just like our ancestors did, and temporarily adapt... or create a new normal?
This may not be for everyone, but I invite you to dream this dream with me. It is another option to show and experience love, reverence, and be held in community in the time of our deepest pain, when someone we love dies, when we feel shame and anxiety because we think we have to come up with 10-20K to give our loved one a "proper" burial or service. Let us imagine together, during this pandemic, and for our future, another way.
We have technology available to us that helps us transcend time and space through virtual parties, birthdays, weddings, and funerals. Let us connect through our hearts until we can hug each other again.
I have been trying to sort through the tangles of my grief I cry every time I think about people dying alone in hospital rooms That those that love them can’t touch them Can’t pray on them with their hands Can’t wipe their feverish forehead with a cloth Can’t rub their feet Can’t wash their body down with alcolado Can’t carry a pot of hot water into the room with a towel so they can breathe in the steam with the herbs
Can’t feed ice through dry lips with a spoon Can’t push back the little hair that flattens on the the side of their face from lying in bed so long the hair that doesn’t bother anyone that gives you some thing to do that makes you feel useful To tend An excuse to touch them To love with your hands so they feel less alone
The ancestral stories stored in my body are remembering When our bodies were property When we died alone When we were buried or burned without our rituals Without our rites Stifled sobs, stifled feelings, buried inside ourselves when we had no power or say Stories encrypted in my DNA
I bear witness and fully feel that grief That deep wail that takes my breath away I scream it into the earth I make mud with my tears I release it from my body and offer it to mother earth to compost To make nourishment for the seeds of the future