A home funeral is a family or community-centered response to death and after-death care. Most state laws support the right of the family to care for their own departed. Depending on the specifics of each state’s law, families and communities may play a key role in:
For more information on the home funeral movement, please visit: www.homefuneralalliance.org
A vigil or ‘wake’ is a period of time, usually 1 -3 days, when the body is laying in honor while family and friends visit to pay their respects and say goodbye. The funeral service most often takes place in the home on the 3rd day of the vigil before the body is taken to the crematory or cemetery.
Many religions cite the importance of the three days following death. This is a period of time where the soul / spirit /consciousness of the individual is getting accustomed to being without the physical form. Family members often experience the presence of a loved one close by during the days immediately following transition and sensitives often ‘see’ the luminous body hovering close to the physical body. Whatever one’s personal beliefs, lovingly caring for a body and holding it in a sacred space allows family and friends time to accept the loss, say goodbye and begin to face their own lives with a deepened sense of gratitude and peace.
Home funeral guides are advocates for family-centered and family-led funerals. They impart the knowledge that families may need in order to be able to exercise the innate right of caring for their own dead.
Home funeral guides do not seek to conduct the after-death care themselves. Home funeral guides believe that after-death care is most meaningful when carried out by family and friends of the deceased. Home funeral guides, therefore, seek to minimize the involvement of anyone other than family and friends in after-death care. They are GUIDES and not directors. The emphasis is on encouraging and educating on minimal, non-invasive, and environmentally-friendly care of the body.
Fees levied in exchange for the education and empowerment of families or for ministerial services are in keeping with the fair business practice of fair compensation for services rendered.
During a home funeral the family remains in charge from the moment of death until burial or cremation. A family can take as much time as they need to personally care for their loved one according to religious or cultural beliefs and traditions and the body can be viewed without being embalmed.
A home funeral fosters the spirit of community as friends and neighbors gather to support the family in their home. Family and friends have more time with the body helping them accept and integrate the death and promoting the healing process. Children’s fears are allayed when witnessing the rites and rituals of caring for the dead at home by family members and they are able to more easily integrate death into the cycle of life.
The cost of a home funeral is considerably less than traditional funeral homes. When hiring a Home Funeral Guide you pay consultation fees for education and guidance and save the cost of refrigeration, embalming, mortician fees and parlor and chapel rentals.
Yes. In almost all 50 states, families have the legal right to care for loved ones after death, this right includes taking the body home from the hospital, nursing facility or coroner. It is advisable let the facility know of your plans and make arrangements for transport of the body ahead of time.
Sacred Crossings works with compassionate, affordable funeral homes that support the home funeral movement. When a loved one dies in a hospital, nursing home or is taken to the coroner, the funeral home will dispatch a driver to transport the body from the location to the home. A Sacred Crossing Guide will then support the family through the home funeral process.
Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey and New York have various restrictions concerning a family’s right to after-death care, home funerals and burials.
For more information on legal rights for your state, please visit the Funeral Consumers Alliance at: www.funerals.org
You do not have to hire a funeral director. In almost all states you have the legal right to act as the funeral director on behalf of your loved one including completing and filing the necessary paperwork. A Sacred Crossing Guide can support you through the entire process. Please call: 310-968-2763
A death midwife is one who assists an individual and their family in the transition of death, just as a birth midwife assists the baby and the mother in the transition of birth. Other terms are death doula, or soul midwife.
The role of a Sacred Crossings Death Midwife expands beyond death through the vigil and funeral until burial or cremation.
Our definition is as follows:
“A Death Midwife shepherds individuals toward a conscious dying experience; guides loved ones in after-death care of the body and empowers families to create personal and deeply meaningful funerals at home.”
The body is carefully washed, dressed (or shrouded) and then preserved with dry ice to prevent decomposition.
Caring for an in-tact body naturally, at home, using gentle, non-invasive techniques, poses far less potential hazards than one that is compromised and chemically treated at a funeral home.
For a complete list of services, please see ‘home funerals’ .
Yes. Children are naturally curious about death and look toward adults for guidance in how to embrace this natural event into their lives. Having the body prepared by caring relatives in the natural setting of home is comforting for children and helps them to accept and integrate what has happened. They see that death is not frightening or macabre as often depicted by the media, but is simple, natural and often quite beautiful.
Decorating the cremation box can be profoundly therapeutic for children, providing them a creative outlet for feelings and words that may otherwise go unexpressed.
Although we can assist a family at any time, it is advisable to make an appointment for a home consultation a few weeks or months before death is expected. A Home Funeral Guide will come to your home to discuss your wishes, answer all questions and help you make the necessary preparations for creating a personal, deeply meaningful funeral for your loved one.
We currently coordinate with compassionate, caring funeral homes that support the home funeral movement for cremation and burial services.
Sacred Crossings is currently in the process of securing the necessary licenses for opening a funeral home. We look forward to assisting families through the entire process including: death midwifery home visits pre-death; support and guidance for a 1 to 3-day vigil and funeral at home; cremation and burial services; bereavement support services.
Please join our mailing list to be informed of updates and classes and workshops in your area.
Please call for a consultation appointment to determine if a home funeral is right for you. 310-968-2763
Sacred Crossings offers Pet Crossing Guide services to assist you during each stage of the journey.
We assist a family with pet hospice counseling; veterinary referrals; euthanasia support; preparing the body for a vigil; shrouding and burial or cremation.