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Role of the Home Funeral Guide

The following is excerpted from Essentials for Practicing Home Funeral Guides: What You Can Expect From Your Home Funeral Guide, by Lee Webster.

The National Home Funeral Alliance defines home funeral guides as “trained individuals who educate and empower families to exercise their innate right of caring for their own dead.” They serve in many ways: from pointing folks to information, to consulting how best to create a comfortable environment, to being present to guide the family through body care at their request. Home funeral guides do not provide hands-on service for pay — their goal is to educate families to be able to care for their own loved ones. The NHFA believes that families and friends can and should do as much as they are able, because this is what is most natural and healing.


Peg and crowd

The prime directive of home funeral guidance is this: home funerals are created and conducted by and for families.

Home funeral guides empower and educate families to conduct after-death care themselves as their state law allows. They may charge for educational and consultative services only; all voluntary services are performed free of charge and at the request of the family.

Home funeral guides do not arrange funerals; they support the family in their own efforts to plan and make connections to goods and services.

Home funerals are an organic response to the intimate process and aftermath of death, and are as different as the people whose lives they honor. Once families are confident that they are acting within the law, their imaginations and hearts become their guide in how to best proceed. The missing piece is often the practical how-to of providing care: how to process paperwork, how to best care for the body, how to make arrangements for services and disposition. With the right tools, families innately sense what is needed next: ways to bring meaning to the experience by all within the larger community.


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