October 27, First Unitarian Universalist Church, 603 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg, Manitoba. https://www.uuwinnipeg.mb.ca/
When Taras picked me up from my office and asked me if I would like to attend a Death Cafe I was super stoked. Due to the fact that it was so close to Halloween, I thought it would be a spooky cafe with blood punch. I turned out that it was in a Unitarian Universalist Church and it was a fair honouring death week! There were vendors who were in the death industry, will makers, funeral homes, and, much to my delight, there were two death doulas. I consider myself to be a spiritual death doula. I help people cross over once they have settled all of their fears and concerns and say their last goodbyes to their family. My mom encouraged me to being doing this with her friends and our family. I would usually do it once the person was on their deathbed an no longer communicating. I would communicate with them telepathically in the spiritual or astral plane. At first, I must admit, I felt unsure if I was doing the right thing. I wondered if I was an agent of the Grim Reaper!
Everyone I have told about this work has said the same thing “how beautiful, you're resolving people’s fears, so they can die in peace.” I have come to terms with this being part of my work and have grown to really love talking to people as they pass. It has made me think and feel very differently about death. I am no longer afraid of my own mortality and know that I will have a beautiful journey when its my time to leave. Taras and I had some really beautiful conversations with the vendors and I felt really charged and happy at the end of the day.
We had such a great time at the Death Cafe that we decided to attend church the following day.
When we entered the church, I could feel the energy was very accepting. I felt the veil of nonjudgement cast over the congregation and the canopy of the Shekhina or the womb of the Holy Spirit. Whenever I am in this sacred dome, I start crying.
The service was lovely. There were mobiles hanging on the altar made of ribbons with gem stones tied on them. I felt that these were created with an intention to bring people closer to self acceptance. At the end of the service, Rev. Meghan made mention of the fact that the mobiles were created in a water communion. The knot on the ribbon signified struggles and the crystal signified the beauty of life. She invited the congregation to stand under them and look up at them. I did so at the end of the service and they looked magical. The light shone through them and they reminded me of stars in the sky. In Hinduism, and in some First Nations traditions, there is a belief that stars are perfected souls looking down on earth and blessing us. I felt the blessing when I stood under these mobililes. There is always a beautiful lesson at the end of any struggle that even makes the struggle look beautiful once the lesson is realized.
When Rev. Meghan lit the chalice and candles at the harvest, small, blur, angel type beings appeared. I’m not familiar with this type of angel. They were a foot tall and were bluish gold. Most of the ten of them were holding trumpets.
There was a lovely choir called the “Singing You Home Choir.” They do bedside service for those at the end of life. They sang beautiful Celtic blessings that made me cry. I cried during the entire service. The presence of Spirit was so deeply moving and healing.
Throughout the service, I felt an odd sense of nostalgia. The celebration was in honour of Samhain and the feel of it was very Celtic. I found out a couple of years ago that my biological father is Irish and I thought that perhaps my ancestors were reaching out to me through the songs and traditions.
We were invited to a sharing circle after the service to discuss how we felt about death and loss of loved ones and how the service impacted us. It was so interesting to hear the different viewpoints of all of the attendees. I really enjoyed the intentional inclusiveness held in this faith tradition. This is one of the only Christian denominations we have visited that believes that all people are loved equally by God. They deny original sin and eternal damnation. All things that I have seen to be true in my work.
In all, I’d say that I really enjoyed the array of experiences I had at this church. It was very welcoming and appealing to people of all ages.