Spirit of Resh Foundation: Enhancing Life by Embracing Death
























510.390.1098   or   541.708.1383



Spirit of Resh Foundation is dedicated to Lois Joy Myers and David Lynn Akard.  Their lives and deaths inspired these principles, by which we serve:   Love is the connective tissue between all life.    Life is precious. This moment is all we have.    Respect for all life creates vital, healthy communities.    The purpose of human life is to love, learn, grow and serve.    Honesty, expressed with compassion, builds intimacy and trust.    Forgiveness is a path to healing.    It is up to each of us to make the most of the circumstances we are given by life.    Trusting in the connection between that which is seen and unseen transforms fear into love.

Spirit of Resh Foundation is dedicated to Lois Joy Myers and David Lynn Akard.

Their lives and deaths inspired these principles, by which we serve:

Love is the connective tissue between all life.

Life is precious. This moment is all we have.

Respect for all life creates vital, healthy communities.

The purpose of human life is to love, learn, grow and serve.

Honesty, expressed with compassion, builds intimacy and trust.

Forgiveness is a path to healing.

It is up to each of us to make the most of the circumstances we are given by life.

Trusting in the connection between that which is seen and unseen transforms fear into love.


Spirit of Resh Board of Directors...

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Lily Myers Kaplan, Founder & Director

With a Master's degree in Culture & Spirituality, and thirty years as an ordained non-denominational minister, Lily has made a career of guiding people to build meaning and purpose from the most challenging of life circumstances. Lily has been a hospice volunteer manager, the program director of a modern day mystery-school, and executive director of a non-profit family camp. She says, "I am so proud to be the Director of Spirit of Resh Foundation, dedicated to the memory of my sister, Lois and brother in law, Dave." Using story as a force for healing in her southern Oregon community through Resh, and in her work as a soul-guide for clients at her Sanctuary in Applegate, is how Lily keeps Lois and Dave's spirits alive, and ensures that her own heart is continually re-invigorated.


Sally Long, Co-Founder & Chair

For Sally, the Spirit of Resh Foundation is a living memorial to the legacy of love left by Lois and David. As Lois and Lily’s elder sister, she was both distraught and inspired by Lois and Dave’s extended cancer journey and untimely deaths. Fueled by the two emotions, she imagined a world where renewed life purpose could spring from honoring death. Her knowledge as a long-time educator combined with her non-profit board experience led to co-founding Spirit of Resh with Lily. From the beginning Sally cheered from the background as the emerging Foundation took shape. Now, retired from her multi-faceted career in higher education, she continues to be a creative champion of Resh and is proud to serve as the current Board Chair.

Marnie Olena, Secretary/Treasurer

It is a deep privilege to serve as Treasurer of Spirit of Resh Foundation. Through my service, I know that I am supporting others as they walk the path of grief and begin to translate their loss into legacy. I know firsthand the value that our programs bring to those in the midst of grief, having experienced losses of close friends and family. I’ve worked in the financial industry for nearly 25 years, and bringing my business skills, as a source of fiscal support to the Spirit of Resh Foundation is a pleasure. Our values, in particular, honesty, love and respect, are core beliefs for me and I am honored to be part of the work that is Resh.


Megan Farnsworth, Director

Megan is an Associate Professor of Special Education at Southern Oregon University, and a holistic educator who uses story and breath to explore the human condition. Her son, Keita, died in 2012 from complications due to Bipolar Disorder. This loss has deeply affected her personal and public identities, leading Megan into research on how grief affects teaching and learning. With a PhD in Multicultural Special Education, Megan's 17 years of teaching in private and public schools is a solid foundation to her emerging emphasis on using story for re-writing grief-stories. Megan says that, "The Spirit of Resh Foundation's premise of trusting in the connection between that which is seen and unseen underlies how the magic of story—and creatively exploring my son’s death—has helped me transform fear into love and discover healing within my own mourning journey."

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Mary Ann Perry, Director

Mary Ann loves living in and being of service to the Rogue Valley community. With a background in education, youth mentoring, and facilitation, she brings a grounded, calming presence that helps others feel safe and supported. In service as a Certified Home Funeral Guide, hospice respite volunteer, and Spirit of Resh board member, Mary Ann is passionate about the cultural shift that is happening around living and dying. Mary Ann says, "I envision acommunity where we all know what to do for each other around death and dying, and I am honored to be part of creating that in the Rogue Valley." As often as possible, you will find this woman out exploring wilderness areas with her husband David and their pooch Cody.

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Elizabeth Johnson,

Bend Representative

Elizabeth’s profound confrontation with loss opened her genuine curiosity around the metamorphic power of death and sorrow in individual lives. Her Master's degree in Community Planning and Not-for-Profit Management has taken her around the globe. Spending extended time in places like India, Guatemala and the South American continent, she's become fascinated in how cultural and social contexts serve to shape understanding of the mysteries of life and death. She’s passionate about the integration of death literacy initiatives in local communities for encouraging honest dialogue around the complexities of the dying process, and draws upon her experience of managing Global Learning Service programs for an east coast university in facilitating those conversations. She currently lives in Bend, OR with her partner, David, and their dog, Pai.


Since ancient times people have gathered around a central hearth to listen as stories are told, revealing where we come from and how we are bound to one another. Every culture or community and every family or group of friends has its unique stories, told over and over with laughter and tears. These stories form the very foundation of our being, helping us discover, ever more deeply who we are.

At Resh we experience, time and time again, the power of storytelling to heal. The audio stories found in Passing the Torch: Stories of Wisdom and Legacy and the videos of Lily reading stories from Two Rare Birds: A Legacy of Love honor ancestors and reveal a path to transforming loss into legacy. We invite you to listen and watch some of our favorite stories, below..

Passing the Torch: Stories of Wisdom & Legacy airs monthly on KSKQ, Ashland, Oregon's community run radio. These stories come in the form of conversations that offer inspiration for building a relationship with death that informs life. Tune in on the first Friday of every month at 89.5 in Ashland or 91.4 in Medford on the FM dial. If you aren’t local you can STREAM HERE.

The following videos of Lily reading from Two Rare Birds: A Legacy of Love, and radio interviews with Spirit of Resh founder, Lily Myers Kaplan offer stories that touch the heart, break taboos around death and dying, and show how living fully springs from encounters with death...

Dancing with Death: A story of choosing hospice over "living just to stay alive"...

Tribe of Ancestors: A story of honoring an ancestral lineage

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Two Rare Birds:A Legacy of Love

Two Rare Birds serves as a beacon of hope for the grieving heart. It is breathtaking to discover how much inner strength and peace can be found while facing difficulty and death. Two Rare Birds is Spirit of Resh founder Lily Myers Kaplan's story of wandering through the shadow-lands of grief toward a restored sense of purpose. Follow Lily's path in Two Rare Birds as she discovers the profound power of love and the beauty in all cycles of life.

Reviews of Two Rare Birds:

Lily Myers Kaplan's memoir, written with an unsentimental devotion to truth, is a guide through the underworld of loss and into the chamber of renewal. It is a testament to love and an enduring statement of fidelity to what matters most in life. By leading us through the great hall of sorrows Lily enables us to find the courage to discover who we really are, where we belong, and what is sacred. This book is a lantern in the dark. Read it and find heart.

Francis Weller; Author of The Wild Edge of Sorrow & Rituals of Renewal

Two Rare Birds is an enchanting story of love, grief and wisdom that deeply moves the heart in unexpected ways. The spirtual transformation that is potential in the journey with cancer and the encounter with death is illuminated in these pages. Let Lily Myers Kaplan's words inspire you to realize the compassion that you are.

Dale Borglum; Executive Director of The Living/Dying Project

"...a refreshingly honest examination of death and of our culture's treatment of it...when the memoir narrows its focus to the interwoven forces of love and death, it offers readers a powerfully hopeful perspective."

Kirkus Reviews

Loss To Legacy

The upcoming book, Loss to Legacy: A stepping-stone journey of healing and transformation is underway. We are aiming for publication in 2019 and we'll let you know when it is available for purchase! The book combines personal stories with a step-by-step workbook—a path for conscious mourning. Using the symbolic Greek myth of two goddesses, Persephone and Demeter, as a guidepost, author Lily Myers Kaplan maps the territory of a descent into grief and a re-emergence into new life.

As Goddess of the Grain, Demeter’s grief, when her maiden-daughter is abducted into the underworld, is so all consuming she withdraws completely. Winter falls upon the land. As Demeter slowly finds her way to healing, Persephone, while hidden from sight in the underworld, matures from Maiden to Queen. With newfound wisdom Persephone emerges, Demeter celebrates, and Spring burgeons upon the earth. Thus the two Goddesses become keepers of Earth-cycles and and teachers of the Mysteries of life, death, and rebirth. They are guides to the arduous task of healing and transformation.

Woven throughout Loss to Legacy are are tales of transformation—Lily’s, and those of others—the many clients and students of Resh’s Loss to Legacy courses and Story Circles.

Loss to Legacy Story Circles are offered locally and nationally wherever people want to transform loss to legacy.

Contact us for more information: 510.390.1098

The Tree Of Living & Dying: A Ceremony of Remembrance

The Tree of Living & Dying Ceremony of Remembrance is held annually in Ashland, Oregon at the midpoint between Halloween (All Hallows Eve) and Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) when the veil between worlds is said to thin. It is a good time for connection, healing, and for honoring Ancestors.

Together we feed the Mystery by placing on an altar the names of ancestors and photos or mementos to honor those who have died. All who are contemplating what it means to be born, live a life, and die into the mystery of whatever lies beyond will find a space where storytelling and witnessing guides us toward a deepened acceptance of death as part of life.

All who are contemplating what it means to be born, live a life, and die into the mystery of whatever lies beyond will find a space where story and witnessing lead toward a deepened acceptance of death as part of life. Loss, grief, wonder, questioning, or all-out confusion are welcome entry points for joining the ceremony where participants share a collective experience of non-verbal, embodied story and have a chance to speak-story, too.

Call to schedule a Tree of Living & Dying Ceremony of Remembrance for your community.

510.390.1098 or 541.708.1383

The 2018 Tree of Living & Dying Ceremony was held November 1.

The next one will be posted here in late summer, 2019.

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Celebration of Life Ceremonies

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Creating a meaningful celebration of the life of your loved one is an honor Spirit of Resh takes very seriously. Whether you lean toward the traditional or the alternative, in-the-home or in-a-chapel, at the cemetery or in the great outdoors, we will accommodate your wishes. 

Having officiated as a non-denominational minister at all manner of memorials and life-cycle celebrations for the past thirty years, our founder, Lily Myers Kaplan, gives her full attention to eliciting stories which most truly honor your loved one. Understanding that each human being is unique, Lily creates services which honors that individuality and helps you find meaning and healing in the process.

Lily led a beautifully healing memorial service to honor my mother. By celebrating my mom’s unique heritage, Lily gave my mother's story a voice and that comforted me, my family and all who knew and loved her. With Lily’s gift for healing she also captured the love within the complicated journey we’d had as mother and daughter, helping me re-define my relationship with my mother in a deeply healing way. (G. David)


510.390.1098 or 541.708.1383

Thank you for helping make our Mom’s funeral service so special. You helped us put together a service that was beautiful and thoughtful. It was perfect, we couldn’t have done it without you, and we really appreciate all you did for us. (L. Shiner)

The Book Of Life & Legacy: Honoring The Ancestors

Dedicated to stories of loved ones, The Books of Life and Legacy are virtual memorials filled with stories and images that honor ancestors of all shapes, sizes, cultures and histories, connecting us in a shared experience of love and loss. They remind us that by every choice we make, and every action we take, we are passing on what matters to us, thus creating our own story and our own legacy every day of our lives. May each story help you to remember the oneness that underlies our shared humanity. We invite you to open the book as if gathered around a virtual hearth.

Add your loved one to a book of life and legacy today.

It's easy to do; just call us to schedule a story interview.

510.390.1098 or 541.708.1383

Compassionate Community Project

We are a proud partner and co-founder of this project, advocating for a death-literate community that lives well, dies well, and grieves well. Along with our partners, Mary Ann Perry and Laurel Miller we envision individuals learning and serving together through the experiences of aging, illness, death, and bereavement.


The Compassionate Community Summary:

Death, dying, illness, or loss can visit any of us, at any time, and a Compassionate Community is one that recognizes and addresses this fact.

We advocate for this kind of compassionate community, one that is more than a place to work and access services, but also a place to enjoy the support, safety and comfort of each other’s company to the very end of our days.

With a collaborative approach designed to enlist all sectors of our community, we intend to build a system in which all of us are able to both give and receive through supportive networks on the entire journey of life and death.


Who Is the Compassionate Community?

Our intention is to engage our whole community to think about how to address the layers of personal and inter-personal care needed for people who are ill or dying—going far beyond what hospitals and hospice can provide.

We believe that caring for one another at times of health crises or personal loss is everyone’s responsibility...and we want to live in a world where every person, every family and every community knows what to do when someone is ill, dying or grieving.

We commit to building the possibility that all of us are members of a Compassionate Community, where everyone contributes to caring for others and all of us are cared for.

our vision of a Compassionate Community Here in the Rogue Valley includes:

A Network Hub(Offering education, resources, and providing a platform for community participation and agency collaboration); A Caring Neighbors Program (individuals-in-service to others); and Companion Training (community-wide groups being present and in service to those around them).


The Compassionate Community Purpose:

To strengthen the community's capacity to respond to aging, illness, death, and bereavement.

To reduce the negative impacts of loneliness and social isolation and mitigate medical costs incurred during the final years and months of life.

To enhance our community’s capacity to create and sustain supportive social networks around living well, dying well, and grieving well.

The Compassionate Community Objective:

Create a collective, community approach to end of life, through resource development, community training, and agency collaboration which amplifies existing services, empowers everyday citizens to action, and transforms the end of life experience for individuals and their loved ones.

Contact Us


510.390.1098   or    541.708.1383


PO Box 1119
Jacksonville, OR 97530



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