The Home Funeral
What is a Home Funeral?
A Home Funeral is an option available to those families who wish to keep their loved one at home for a longer period of time instead of having a funeral home remove the body right away.
This delay in removal can last anywhere from a couple of hours to three days or more, depending on the wishes of the family. This is traditionally a time for the family to wash and clothe their loved one, or even hold a wake where friends and family come pay their respects to the deceased. Once the family is ready, the mortuary will come take your loved one into their care, or you can transport them yourself with a little preparation.
Please be sure to check out the resources page for more information on home funerals, what they can involve, and essentials you should know in advance.
Why Choose a Home Funeral?
Reasons for choosing a home funeral are as varied and personal as the home funerals themselves. Having a home funeral restores power and intimacy to the family caring for a lost loved one, and it can lessen the financial burden that is incurred when someone dies.
It is a unique and healing experience that provides closure and control in a time when gaps are torn in our hearts and lives.
Humans have traditionally cared for their deceased in home until it was time for a burial to occur, and even today (in Ireland, for example) in-home wakes or funerals bring out the entire town to view their lost member and celebrate their life before their body returns to the Earth.
This can be a time for community, for shared grief, and for support. It can also be an intimate ceremony for your family only. However you choose, hands on care after a death will help you process your grief and honor the connection you have to your loved one.
I'm Interested, But I Don't Want to Go it Alone.
Can You Help Me?
Absolutely. Beyond giving practical advice, I am happy to serve as a licensed funeral director on behalf of my employer to assist you in setup and body care when the time comes (or recommend a funeral home that fits your needs if you aren't interested in using my affiliated one).
I can be with you as little or as much as you want along the way, both before and after the death occurs. I will give you a list of supplies to get, or I can bring my own. I can guide you through the logistics of care facilities or at home deaths. I can give you simple training before the death occurs.
How involved you want to be is entirely up to you. Remember, this tradition of caring for our loved ones after they pass is innate to our humanity, and while it may seem daunting, we can work together to navigate the death and care of your loved one.
Is This Legal?
Yes. From the Home Funeral Alliance website:
No preservation time requirements for home funeral families
Dispositions not occurring within 10 days must be reported to the Mortuary Board
Embalming is required for bodies with specific communicable diseases in order to be viewed publicly. Funeral homes must embalm, refrigerate, or place in a sealed casket if body is not expected to reach destination within 24 hours, by regulation, not statute – applies to Funeral Directors only. Sealed casket may substitute for embalming when shipping by common carrier.