Beholding the Threshold

Creating a New Culture around the
Sacred Threshold of Death

Thursdays, February 28, March 7, and March 14,
6:30 to 9:00pm


Session 1 - February 28: Music, Readings, and Conversation
The parents of a teenage girl killed with her best friend in a car accident in 1996 share the journey of spiritually-conscious loss and grief through written and musical expression. Gain a new perspective on the sacred threshold of death through the story of the destiny connection of these two young women and their continuing presence in the lives of their parents. Marianne will read from her 2010 memoir, Laughing in a Waterfall, A Mother’s Memoir, interspersed with soulful music by Marianne and Dennis on the piano and saxophone.

Participants will have an opportunity to share their own experiences and insights, and discover new feelings and questions around death, dying, and bereavement.

Session 2 - March 7: Caring for Our Own Deceased
How can we be present to self and others at the moment of death and in the hours and days following? Marianne and Dennis will tell stories from their experience of caring for their daughter at home after her accidental death, and of other community “home funerals.” They will present legal, practical, and spiritual considerations for holding a wake or vigil in one’s own home or other private setting. Hands-on training will provide the basics of after-death body care.

Sharing in small groups will help participants clarify wishes for their own death. Lyre music, singing, and poetry will accompany these tender considerations and provide resources for using in sacred rituals.

Session 3 - March 14: Bereavement and Staying Connected to Those Across the Threshold
How can we let go of loved ones who have died, while staying connected with them? Marianne and Dennis will share their perspective on grief as they have experienced it on the physical, soul, and spiritual levels over sixteen years. Their differences along male/female lines will be explored, as well as their shared practice of continuing the relationship with the person who has died as a spiritual being. Working to keep this connection can be a source of comfort, vitality, and ultimately, an enhancement of the experience of our true humanity.

“Marianne’s story weaves together the impermanent nature of life, with its worldly joys and sorrows, with that which is beyond and transcendental. It ultimately challenges the reader to feel and experience life more deeply, to be open to its tears, losses, revelations and laughter!”  - Pat Hogan, author of Allison’s Gift: The Song of a Thousand
Hearts Opening

Participants will explore their own sense of connection to deceased loved ones and learn proactive ways to create a living connection. The series will be concluded with a ritual to remember and honor those across the threshold.

Marianne Dietzel was a Waldorf early childhood educator before her daughter’s death in a car accident in 1996. Since then she has become a hospice bereavement coordinator, a certified thanatologist, and, as a certified music practitioner, plays music for healing and transition on the lyre. She also educates families in caring for their own deceased and is a founding member of the Minnesota Threshold Network, a meeting place for all who are interested in death, home funerals, and green burials. In June of 2010, Marianne published Laughing in a Waterfall: A Mother’s Memoir. Learn more or buy the book at

Dennis Dietzel is a computer programmer by day. By night he plays the saxophone and is an urban biodynamic gardener and beekeeper. He is a member of the Central Regional Council and the General Council of the Anthroposophical Society in America.

WHEN: Thursdays, February 28, March 7, March 14, 6:30-9:00 pm

$30 for session 1 (February 28)
$65.00 for the series of three
Session 1 is a prerequisite for sessions 2 and 3.