Birth, Life, and Death at Twin Oaks

by Keenan Dakota

After a long decline,  Coyote, a member of Twin Oaks died last Thursday with friends next to his bed.  He had been declining for months, or, actually, years.  In that time dozens of people were part of his care, helping lift, move, and clean him, but also just sitting with him, or reading to him, or singing to him. The day Coyote died, I was part of a group of people who gathered in Coyote’s room.  We gently placed our hands on him, held his hand, and sang to him.

Coyote

Less than a year ago, my father died of covid in an elder care facility.  Of course, we family couldn’t visit him in the months before he died, or sit with him when we knew that he only had a few days to live. After my father passed, the memorial service, as so many people have experienced in the past year, was held on Zoom.

We were all relieved that Coyote had not died the day before when there had been a birthday celebration for a child turning twelve. Everyone wanted to attend the party.  The birthday party had live music, including several songs that were written and performed by the birthday boy.  Probably about forty people were in attendance. Twin Oaks has maintained a strict lockdown protocol, so there has been no covid here, but we have been able to include neighboring communities in our “bubble.”

Someone from another community had brought some larping paraphernalia to the party  (shields and padded sticks that posed as swords).  Kids and adults had a great time running around whacking and chasing each other while the music was playing.  I noticed that one of the adults running around was a member who had given birth less than a month ago. Various people at the party were taking turns holding the baby.

Xena, the newest Twin Oaks member

The birth had been here at Twin Oaks, with friends in attendance, singing and holding the mother’s hand.  Even the day of the birth, the mother managed to walk, but she was clearly fully recovered if she could run around with a padded sword, being chased by kids.

The bedside vigil, the birthday concert, the home birth–none of these events are unusual or remarkable here at Twin Oaks.  Or weren’t.  In this time of global pandemic it seems that everyone is longing for a return to being able to gather together with other people, no matter the reason. What so many people everywhere have been discovering is that what we all need more of in our lives is to be with other people to just do stuff together—in a word: community.

Birth, Life, and Death at Twin Oaks

One thought on “Birth, Life, and Death at Twin Oaks

  1. […] Coyote, a long time Twin Oaks member, died a couple of weeks ago. It’s far from the first death there. When you’ve been a community for well over fifty years, you will will see a lot of deaths (and a lot of births). How does a commune deal with death? Twin Oaks documented Coyote’s funeral and I put it on our Facebook page. Here’s what we published: […]

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