abc
QUICK LINKS:

Looking Death In The Eye: Caskets In Your Home

Updated: 03/31/2014 1:15 PM
Created: 11/13/2012 4:21 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling

Caskets take on a new function in Duluth and Grand Marais. The Duluth Casket Shop sells eco-friendly caskets made with wood from area sawmills, but owner Jude Collins said a new design is expanding the use of a casket.

Collins was approached by a friend, Father William Graham, about making a casket that can be used as a bookcase until it's put in the ground. Graham works at St. Scholastica and said he wanted the "casket-turned-bookcase" to remind him of death in his daily life.

"Saint Benedict, and his rule for monastery, has 73 instruments of good work," Graham said. "Number 47 is 'keep death daily before your eyes'. So, this is a reminder that we will all die."

Graham said death should not be feared, but at the forefront of your mind. He said this mentality may change how you conduct yourself in daily life.

"It lets us know that we have limited number of days," Graham said. "These days are precious and there are things to do: work to do, prays to say, hymns to sing."

While Graham has come to terms with death, some might think using a casket for a bookshelf is eerie. Graham and Collins disagree.

"It doesn't scare me," Graham said. "You're going to be in one too. It's a good thing for us to consider that because it helps us live better day to day a think."

"I haven't met anybody whose gotten out alive yet," Collins said. "Sometimes, in life, we just have to take the bull by the horns and do it."

Up in Grand Marais, a group takes a more hands-on approach to this idea. The North House Folk School holds a casket-building class.

"It's a course we like to joke about," Director Greg Wright said. "Everybody does. Build your own casket; bury yourself in your work."

During the class, they teach people how to build a basic casket that can be used earlier in life as a coffee table or bookshelf.

"There is a lot of people who are rather inquisitive about it," Instructor Randy Schnobrich said. "(They say) what's it like? Doesn't it sound kind of morbid?"

While Schnobrich knows it may seem odd to many people, he has had wonderful experiences teaching the class. Both Schnobrich and Wright agreed people could learn a lot from death.

"If we all lived that way a little bit more with that clarity, as soon as we can see, you're going to live a lot better life," Schnobrich said. "(Rather) than denying it the whole time, and then get to the end and find out I wish I did a lot of other stuff."

"One could pretty easily argue that the world would be a better place if we all stopped and got to build our own casket," Wright said. "It would challenge us to think a little bit about, what am I here for? How do I want to touch this world?"

The North House Folk School offers many different classes in Nordic craft. For more information, click here.

Front Page

  • Thousands Flock for Two Harbors Beargrease Marathon Start

    About 45 teams of mushers and dogs took off on the John Beargrease Marathon trail in Two Harbors Sunday afternoon to cheers from thousands of spectators, despite a departure from the traditional race start at Duluth East High School...

  • Wisconsin Lawmaker Hopes to End 'Vaping' Indoors

    Lawmakers are set to reignite conversations this week about whether vaping - using electronic cigarettes and other vapor smoking devices - should be included in Wisconsin's smoking ban. The ban took effect in 2010. It outlaws smoking in all public indoor locations, including restaurants and bars.

  • Campground Fees Rise this Year at Michigan State Parks

    Fees at state-operated campgrounds in Michigan are going up this year to cover higher costs and pay for maintenance projects. Parks and recreation chief Ron Olson of the Department of Natural Resources says the amount of the increase at a particular site depends on its popularity.

  • Minnesota Guard Not Going to Liberia After All

    Members of the Minnesota National Guard have learned they won't be going to Liberia to help the U.S. military's response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Soldiers from the Rosemount-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division were supposed to go to Liberia this year in support of Operation United Assistance.

  • One Man Dead After Car Accident in Aitkin County

    A 47-year-old man died after his vehicle was broadsided in east-central Minnesota on Saturday night. The incident happened at the intersection of Highway 18 and Highway 65 in Aitkin County at 9:35 p.m.

 
Advertisement