Do it yourself? Care of the Body and a Home Funeral?

I like the idea of caring for the body of my loved ones from the time of death until burial.  I think it would help me to understand that death is final.  I can imagine going to the room where my loved one is lying in the still of the night.  I can imagine sitting with my dear one.  And I think I would begin to realize that although the body is present, that he is no longer “home”.  I like the idea of washing, dressing, wrapping my loved one in a soft –lined casket in the familiarity of our own home.  And I like the idea of driving my loved one to the cemetery or the crematorium myself or ourselves.

But… What does a family member need to know in order to care for the body at home, organize and carry out a Home Funeral?  Do they need permission before transporting a dead body?   As a professional in Hospice and Palliative Care, what do I need to know?  How can I best support the family?

What questions do you have?  Submit your questions, and let’s ask a Home Funeral Guide!

Kids building a casket for their teacher - retrieved

Do it yourself funerals? What do you think?

I have been hearing about Home Funerals.  Thought it was time to do some more research. I found Donna Belk online, and decided to give her a call.

Home funerals?

Donna Belk is from the big state of Texas.  Donna is not only a Home Funeral Guide, but she offers workshops to educate people to do Home Funerals, and to be a Home Funeral Guide.

What people choose Home Funerals?

The majority of Donna’s clients are 50+ years old, female and white.

Why do people choose Home Funerals?

Most clients are motivated to have a Home Funeral after they attend a funeral that they felt was horrible.  Most are interested in simple and environmentally friendly.  And many combine a Home Funeral with a Green Burial.

When people do a Home Funeral, do they use the services of a Funeral Home at all?

Most of Donna’s clients use a blended approach. They delegate to the Funeral Director the jobs that they do not want to do, or for whatever reason are unable to do. Many care for the person at home through the dying and then keep the body at home until time of burial.

How are Home Funeral Guides being received by the Funeral Professionals?

Initially Donna felt that Funeral Directors were worried that Home Funeral Guides might take business from them, but now they figure that they too can offer Home Funeral Guides.

My impression is that the Home Funeral Guide movement is much like the hospice movement.  They have a grass roots approach, and a goals to better meet the needs of the individual who is dying or who has died and their loved ones.

What are your thoughts?