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?

Will Death Midwives Change the Face of Dying?

Death doula   Thanadoula  Death Midwife   Midwife to the Dying   Life Coach for the Dying

These individuals offer unique services to the dying and their families. While titles and skills sets may vary, they are gaining acceptance and growing in numbers.

A companion for the journey through to death

Imagine having continuity in care as you or a loved one dies. Someone who knew what was was going to happen and coached you as you navigate the health care system.  The same person with you through the dying process AND there the next day, and the next day and the nest.  Someone who knows you well enough to go with you to the funeral home or to help you plan a Home Funeral.  Someone to help you navigate the paperwork or the legalese. And someone to share your grief. A Death Midwife.

I am certainly intrigued! However, I have some questions:

  • How are Death Midwives different from Death Doulas?
  • How might this change the experience of dying for the dying person?  For the family and loved ones?
  • What questions do we need to ask if this body of service providers continues to develop?
  • Currently there is no recognized professional body that certifies Death Midwives.  Should there be?
  • Do Death Midwives need a professional background?
  • Are there lesssons to be learned from Birth Midwives and the process that they have gone through to be recognized and certified? If so, who will take this on?

Would you use a Death Doula or Death Midwife? Why does it appeal to you? Why doesn’t it appeal?

Leave your answers in the comments on this posting.

For more information, have a look at the websites below. We’ll also be exploring this topic in September in the course “Death and Dying in the 21st Century.”