Home funerals are starting to catch on. Or come around again. The death rituals of our forebears used to include preparing loved ones for burial and setting them in the parlor for visitation as mourners came to pay respects. It was a caring demonstration.
As time went on, enterprising types realized they could offer bigger parlors to families without proper space, and they could attend the other tasks as well such as embalming. So came into being death-care businesses known as "funeral parlors" and "funeral homes." We took back our parlors, and started calling them "living rooms," but lost touch with personal sendoffs and rituals that belong to respecting and mourning our loved ones.
Lately, a growing number of people have wanted to return to the old customs to restore a missing element of loved-one care. Home Funeral Specialists can advise on how to prepare the loved one's body, that is, clean, dress and cool it, navigate necessary paperwork, and make decisions pertinent to memorializing a life ended.
Home funeral specialists are also called "death midwives" or "death doulas".
One group, has created a home funeral guide called, Undertaken With Love: A Home Funeral Guide for Congregations and Communities. The guide can be downloaded for free at their website www.undertakenwithlove.org
Undertaken With Love will teach your congregational bereavement care committee or other social group:
* how to start a home funeral committee;
* how to research and identify your legal rights, options and responsibilities;
* how to handle, bathe and transport the body; and
* how to sustain an effective home funeral committee.
Another website, www.FinalPassages.org offers an excellent step-by-step guide to arranging a home funeral.