In a Do-It-Yourself age, a growing number of families are taking end of life planning out of the hands of the funeral industry and returning it to those closest to the deceased. Foregoing costly and often impersonal funeral home visitations and services, more grieving families in North America are returning to home funerals.
The trend isn’t just about saving money or the environment by eschewing elaborate caskets, flowers and ceremonies. It’s also a way for loved-ones to have a personal connection with death. It can be difficult to process a loss when the body of the deceased is whisked away to a funeral home where it is either prepared for cremation or embalmed; dressed and made up. Even with an open casket, which is becoming more rare today, the whole process can be surreal and leave families feeling numb.
Loved ones are increasingly finding ways to personalize after death care, using a combination of funeral home services, perhaps for transportation or cremation, with hands-on preparation. By assisting in the washing and dressing the body, family may be able to connect in one last, meaningful way with someone who has shared their life. Like in days gone by, the body can then be “laid out” at home for a more intimate gathering.
Death certificates must be provided by a doctor or coroner and the family must receive permission to transport human remains or employ a funeral professional to move the body. The body has to be placed in a rigid container for transportation. There are many environmentally conscious caskets now available online or through funeral homes.
All the planning may be a lot to consider when a family member has just passed, a death midwife, home funeral guide or funeral director can assist making preparations. After death care can be a combination of professional and personal, each family making decisions on what will best suit their spiritual, emotional and practical needs.
To learn more about home funerals, visit the National Home Funeral Alliance website at: http://homefuneralalliance.org/ .