Merdeka Van Wissekerke, Death support, Full Circle of Living and Dying Volunteer
Merdeka has lived in Nevada County for over 20 years and has been an active member of the community in various ways during this time.
She first became interested in doing "death differently" about 10 years ago after watching a video of an open- air cremation in Crestone, Colorado and how they cared for the body beforehand. She didn’t know that it could be so beautiful and sacred. The seed was planted then and lay dormant for many years.
In 2017 Merdeka learned about a woman named Zenith Virago through the documentary on her life and how Zenith became DeathWalker (someone who walks with others on their journey of dying). Inspired by the movie, Merdeka reached out to Zenith and invited her to come to California. Merdeka hosted Zenith's DeathWalker 4 day training session for Nevada County.
Merdeka is a graduate of Final Passages Home Funeral training with Jerrigrace Lyons, and attended Doorway Into Light End-of-life week-long training in Maui. She has over 20 years experience as a massage therapist and volunteered as at therapist for the Hospice of the Foothills.
Currently Merdeka is caregiver both of her parents as they are aging and becoming less able to do things on their own. She has experience as a birth and postpartum doula.
"What inspires me most about this work is showing people that death is a natural and beautiful part of life. And that we can take care of our beloveds ourselves - during the dying process as well as after they have passed. I am super interested in home funerals and educating people on how to do this themselves. I have always been drawn to helping others. It brings me great joy to know that I can bring a sense of relief to someone in this crazy world."
Merdeka Van Wissekerke