May 2019

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Holding Space

for Living and Dying

Our Mission

"Improve the quality of life
and death
for those with a terminal illness
and their caregivers,
by offering support
to meet basic needs,
connect to community,
and create meaning."

Yvette's son Anthony stayed with us for a visit during Mother's Day weekend. Her brother and sister-in-law were also in town for the weekend to laugh, reminisce, and spend time with family. 

May Potluck 

Celebrate one year of community potlucks! Since our first potluck in May 2018, we have been intentional about opening our home to encourage and form connections within and among different communities. Please join us on Wednesday, May 15th, from 6-9pm at our home at 34 Blue Ridge Avenue, Asheville. Bring a dish, a guest, but please leave pets at home. We are neighbors, friends, people interested in or involved with end of life work, and colleagues coming together to share a meal and strengthen connections.

Eve and Yvette's dear friend Kip stayed with us for a long weekend this month. The fun-filled weekend included a homemade coconut cream cake per Yvette's request...
...a karaoke party at home with the housemates and neighbors...
...a trip downtown to raid candy barrels and visit an art gallery...
...and a trip to the nature center. 
Erik got help to move the pillars and fountain from the original front of the house to the driveway entrance and back yard, respectively.  


Food for thought: the evolution of an idea

Living with someone faced with serious illness and a terminal diagnosis doesn't have to occur in any particular place. Just because we personally are doing it in our home doesn't mean that this singular place is the solution to an ever growing need. People rely on a family caregiver or move into care homes or nursing homes every day. Holding Space considers expanding this idea. Community can come together in anyone's home to provide care. The solution will come from the community. 

The barriers to care at home are often not medical. Sometimes, it can be the fear of having someone very ill and eventually passing away in the home. Perhaps there is something prohibitive about the space itself that makes it unsafe or inaccessible. Other times, changing physical needs can become more than can be provided by a single caregiver, especially if that person is working full-time or required to leave their job to become a full-time caregiver. And sometimes the resources available for a single person or family to help keep a loved one at home just aren't enough. 

We believe that a community coming together to support one of its members does not have to be expensive. Nor does it have to completely deplete a single person emotionally, financially, or physically.

Independence and interactions based on transactions are the current standard, rather than interdependence and connections based on relationships. As a result, the typical "home," (facility, care home, unlicensed "community homes") can become an institution, invested in self-preservation and serving a perpetually dependent "customer" base, instead of addressing and eliminating the underlying cause of that need. But the solution doesn't have to be a new building, and it doesn't have to be limited to a single space‚ÄĒalternatives can exist.

There must be a balance between government, business/non-profit, and grassroots. How much can we ask or demand from a government that is supposed to be by and for the people and the health care services that we as a society collectively decide to provide?

How do we hold accountable businesses, both for- and not-for-profit, that capitalize on people trying to get their needs met?

What is the role of third parties that act as intermediaries that then take a financial cut themselves, such as foundations and crowd-funding websites?

And among our own neighbors and friends, what are we able to provide in our immediate circles?

Almost 80% of US Americans say they wish to die at home, yet only 20% have the resources set up to actually achieve it (Stanford University School of Medicine, 2018, Aging Options, 2019).

Can we empower and liberate our community to take care of its own in its own way?

One model is offered through the book and organization Share the Care. By being organized and committed, even a small group of people from a community can come together in a time of need. One day, it may just become the norm. 

Ruffle some feathers? Stay in touch. Come to the potluck. Let's keep the conversation going. 
 
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