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Why choose a home funeral?

“We were literally transformed by the experience of keeping our mother’s body with us and continuing to care for her until the cre­mation. You were right when you told us that it would soften the exper­ience of loss and grief and it became perhaps the most im­portant factor in our ability to move for­ward. So many friends and family com­mented on the unique and incred­ible experience of having a home wake.”

Keeping the body of a deceased loved one at home for one to three days, referred to as the home funeral, wake, or vigil, can be beneficial on many levels.

Gives the gift of time


The time during the vigil allows families to be together. There is no rush. Life within the home can take on a peaceful rhythm allowing connection and healing. Families report sitting with the body at all hours of the day and night, praying, singing, sitting in silence. Together for hours and days of unstructured time families tell stories and share memories.

During this time certain tasks can be accomplished:

Puts families in charge of decision-making

From the very beginning families decide how each aspect of the vigil will pro­ceed. This can include washing and then dressing the body in special clothing that honors the uniqueness of the individual. The body can be laid out in a room which has been prepared with flowers, candles, and special photographs. Fav­or­ite music can be played. Ceremonies or rituals may take place, in private or with invited guests, according to the tradition of the deceased and her or his loved ones.

At some point during the vigil, the family may check in with each other and to­gether decide that they are ready to let their loved one go. It is a very powerful moment when they feel that they are ready to step out on the next phase of their journey.

Allows the beginning of healthy grieving


While grief is complex and unique to each individual, we believe that a well-planned home funeral can provide the time and con­ditions for acceptance of loss and healthy grieving to occur.

“Move your body, move your grief”

A home funeral also allows family members and their community of friends to work through the initial stages of grief by becoming involved in all variety of tasks, from making phone calls, cooking food, cleaning the house, playing music, writing the obituary, and so much more.

Provides an alternative approach

Many families speak of the distressing experience of having a funeral director come to remove the body. While funeral directors perform this task with com­pas­sion and care, their procedures require them to zip the deceased into a plastic body bag in order to remove it. These families remember feeling helpless and afraid, unable to process their feelings with the sudden departure of the person they have loved and cared for. Keeping the body at the home for 1-3 days to be cared for by loved ones is another way to approach this time.

“First off, a big thank you to all of you. I and my family felt held phys­ically, soul­fully (if there is such a word), and spiritually. My father sends his thanks, my sister Lisa tells me it was as good as it gets, and Yogin noted that it was the first family gathering of this size where there was no un­necessary stress. While ‘happy’ is a strange word in this context, this group was happy in their participation in a difficult labor of love.”

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Most recently updated 2018-09-03