Home Funeral Doula: Have you thought about having a different kind of funeral? How would it feel to choose a beautiful, healing act of closure for your family that celebrates you in a very personal and unique way?
You have choices. You don’t have to do what you think you should do; or what’s been done before. If you think about what you want and communicate it, I’ll help your loved ones create the experience you asked for.
Would you like to have a home funeral for yourself or a loved one? Maybe you have never heard of one before, but now that you have, you’re curious! Home funerals are a gentle, natural, and loving way to honor your loved one, care for the environment, and save money. Home funerals allow you as much time as you need to care for your loved one in your way, at your pace.
Why a home funeral? Many people find them to be beautiful, healing acts of closure. Home funerals give you an opportunity to take your time with your loved one, to experience and truly participate in this transitional time. In a home funeral vigil, your loved one stays at home instead of going to a funeral home. The vigil allows you to bathe, dress, and care for your loved one in the privacy of familiar surroundings. You can create a special space around the deceased, where people can gather to talk and remember. Some share spiritual practices. Some like to take a DIY approach, and may build a simple casket or decorate one with messages and drawings. People of all ages can participate in creative and meaningful ways.
On a practical note: Home funerals work best with time to plan and prepare, and while it is possible to have a home funeral with a sudden or unexpected death, it is more challenging. Here are a few general guidelines about when a home funeral is a good fit, and when it’s less good.
A good fit is when:
Death is anticipated and there is time to plan
The dying loved one is cared for at home with hospice or other medical support, and family already feels comfortable with physical aspects of care
The dying loved one has expressed a wish for this kind of care
Family and community are willing and able to participate
There is adequate space in the home for caregivers to practice safe body mechanics, and for visitors.
A less good fit is when:
Death is sudden
The body needs autopsy or cosmetic work
There is too little space
Family conflict or insufficient support exist
So…what should I expect?
How do I care for the body? Home funerals are pretty simple. Everyone had one 150 years ago. I will guide you through every step. You’ll need to gather a few items, and a few people. First, you will keep your loved one’s body cool. Then, I’ll provide gentle guidance as you wash, dress, and lay out your loved one’s body. Most people experience this final touch and connection as healing.
Where does my loved one’s body go, and how does it get there? Should I buy a casket, or can I use a shroud or eco-friendly container? That’s up to you! We will talk about all of your options. There are conventional caskets, and there are green, natural and DIY casket options that are environmentally friendly and lower cost. What would honor your loved one?
What about the actual funeral? Again, that is up to you! What would a fitting celebration for your loved one look like? Feel like? Home funerals are as different as those being honored. Home funerals are most meaningful when they are expressions of love and creativity by those who know the deceased best, and were most intimately involved with them in life. At the end of the home funeral vigil, we will coordinate transportation to your loved one’s place of rest. If you want to do that yourself, I’ll help you with the paperwork. If not, I’ll make arrangements with a licensed funeral service.