Home Funerals allow more time to say goodbye, create a spirit of community, honor a significant rite of passage, promote healing and closure, and in some cases, lessen the financial impact of death care. Center for End of Life Transitions offers:
- Home Funeral & Death Care Midwife Training for those wishing to provide this care for their loved one.
- Home Funeral Guidance to families/friends who wish to care for their loved one after death by performing a home funeral and need assistance from an experienced guide.
What is a Home Funeral?
Today, home-based funerals are becoming a part of the American experience again. A growing grassroots movement to renew family-directed funerals brings compassion, value, and trust into end of life transitions. Home funerals reintroduce a culture of ritual and serve to dispel the fear and strangeness that often accompany institutionalized modern funerals. A home-based funeral is legal, diminishes the role of a professional funeral director, and enlists family and friends to continue caring for their loved one after death in a private setting.
Home-based death care initiates a healthy and intimate engagement with profound loss, providing a period for grief and letting go. Loss can be transformed into an act of devotion. Powerlessness is expelled by hope and compassion. Some people may look at this experience as archaic or morbid, but, to the contrary, it has been described as beautiful and healing. The person(s) who performs this after death rite is called a Death Care Midwife.
The body is kept undisturbed at home for up to three days, much like a traditional home wake. The body is not embalmed. Dry ice is used to keep the body cold. Family and friends may incorporate religious or spiritual traditions that may otherwise go unacknowledged in the modern funerary model. After bathing and dressing the body, loved ones create rituals such as anointing the body using favorite aromas, lighting candles, holding an around-the-clock vigil, placing fresh flowers around the body daily, playing favorite music, and holding space for prayer, meditation and goodbyes. The transition between death and burial or cremation is honored and treasured, and unites loved ones in a sense of devotion and purpose.
In Caring for Your Own at Death, outspoken social activist Lisa Carlson has provided widespread education on the legalities in each state for performing a home-based funeral. She says:
Almost everything the funeral industry sells interferes with our natural return to the earth … By understanding what happens to the body after death and demystifying funeral options, our end-of-life decisions may be less fearful to face.
Home-based celebrations bring death out of the shadows and into the light of life. To care for a loved one in this way is a gift to the loved ones left behind and remains an option for those who want to honor this important life transition.
Videos About Home Funerals
Director Caroline Yongue shares home funeral stories and insights into the honored tradition of caring for the dead at home.