Midwifing the Dying

There has been a great outpouring of love and support this past week for Nora Cedarwind Young on Facebook and elsewhere, and for me, as I share my experience of her journey.

There has also been a surge of interest in the work of the death midwife. This is Nora’s life work, and I can think of no better place to send people for resources than to her own site: Ceremonies for Life’s Thresholds.

As of this writing, Nora is comfortable at home with her beloved husband. We don’t know how long she’ll be with us; we are hoping for weeks, maybe months. And when we wake each morning, we wonder what the day will bring.

Last Wednesday, on Spring Equinox (and again on Friday), some of Nora’s friends gathered to decorate the box that will eventually hold her for cremation. Nora herself taught us in her workshops how to do this, so while it may seem strange and unusual to some, it is a great act of love. I finally started weeping uncontrollably as I painted the mermaid on the lid, so now salt water tears are in the mix.

I am in no hurry to finish the mermaid painting.

Each day is a gift of grace.

7 thoughts on “Midwifing the Dying

  1. Hi Beautiful Joanna! I have an interest in this as well and will visit Nora’s site right after this note. My feisty and independent 90-year-old aunt has just been moved to a nursing home. While she has no terminal illness right now, at 90 one does wonder how much time is left. Also, with dementia, precious memories are receding. I too want to read as much as I can on this, and visit and sit with my aunt. Thank you for this resource, and love to Nora and you.

  2. Joanna,
    Many, many blessings to Nora and to all of her wonderful friends who are gathered round her. Her box will be beautiful! I think it’s a testament to an amazing life of giving and love that, at this her transition time, she is receiving it all back many, many times over. A life well lived. I hope we can all say that when our time of transition comes as well. Love & hugs & prayers to all of you.

  3. Reading what you are doing for Nora is beautiful. It is a way of both saying goodbye and showing your love for her while she is still alive.

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