Home Funeral FAQ

IMG_3618Yes.  Most pet owners know instinctively how to care for their pet after death and what they need to say goodbye.

Sacred Crossings offers Pet Crossing Guide services to assist you during each stage of the journey.

Support includes: pet hospice counseling; veterinary referrals; euthanasia support; preparing the body for a vigil; the funeral or memorial service and burial or cremation.


IMG_4045The education, support and ministerial services provided by our team of Sacred Crossing Guides ranges from $500 to $2500 depending on the needs of each family and the length of the vigil.

Please call for a consultation appointment to determine if a home funeral is right for you. 310-968-2763

Yes. Sacred Crossings is a licensed funeral home.  We now assist individuals and their families through the end-of-this-life experience. Services include: 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.

We strongly support green and conscientious alternatives to traditional disposition. Green burials and Sea burials are two of our most popular services.

Please call 310-968-2763 for details and pricing. Our website is coming soon.

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.

IMG_3919Yes. 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.

boys doing box


Decorating the cremation box can be profoundly therapeutic for children, providing them a creative outlet for feelings and words that may otherwise go unexpressed.



  1. A home funeral guide conducts in-home consultation to asses a family’s needs and help them make preparations
  2. Upon notification of death the Home Funeral Guide arrives at the home – usually within 3 hours
  3. The Home Funeral Guide educates and supports the family with bathing and dressing the body
  4. The body is laid ‘in honor’ in the home on a bed or table
  5. The body is preserved with dry-ice during the 1 to 3-day vigil
  6. The cremation casket or pine box is delivered to the home and decorated by friends and family
  7. The family completes all necessary paperwork needed for the disposition and death certificate
  8. The funeral service is held in the home or taken to a church. chapel or other venue depending on the family’s wishes
  9. The body is transported to the cemetery or crematory for final disposition


For a complete list of services, please see ‘home funerals’ .

The body is carefully washed, dressed (or shrouded) and 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.

A death midwife is one who assists an individual and their family through the transition of death, just as a birth midwife assists the baby and the mother through the transition of birth. A Sacred Crossings death midwife incorporates the roles of: spiritual counsellor, death doula, home funeral guide, funeral planner and celebrant.

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.”

Click here for more information on the Death Midwifery Training.

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 which includes the responsibility of completing and filing the necessary paperwork. A Sacred Crossing Guide can support you through the entire process. Please call: 310-968-2763


Alabama, 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

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 providing you have the necessary permits in your possession.  It is advisable let the facility know of your plans and make arrangements for transport of the body ahead of time.

When a loved one dies in a hospital, nursing home or is taken to the coroner, our 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.


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.

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.

IMG024A 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.

Peggy1A 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:

  • Preparing the body for burial or cremation (Bathing, dressing, anointing)
  • Planning and carrying out after-death rituals or ceremonies such as laying out the deceased for visitation and holding a funeral service in the home
  • Filing of death-related paperwork such as the death certificate and disposition permit.
  • Transporting the deceased to the place of burial or cremation
  • Facilitating the final disposition such as digging the grave in natural burial

For more information on the home funeral movement, please visit: www.homefuneralalliance.org


Creating the Life Celebration 

The Celebration of Life ceremony is the commemoration of one’s unique contribution to humanity and the opportunity to leave a legacy.  What will yours be?  how will your life be remembered ?  What are the steps to create a unique, personal and moving service to honor a loved-one? 

Students are encouraged to think outside the box and give full reign to their imagination and creativity during this highly energized workshop where powerful ceremonies are created to honor the dead. 

This workshop is open to anyone and is also the master class for The Art of Death Midwifery training. Graduates receive a certificate for 25 hours training as Funeral Celebrant.

“This was more than a learning experience, this was a sacred experience…discovering how to channel the frazzled energy of still-fresh grief into something that matters…both personally, and on a larger scale.”                     – Laurie Ciardullo




Topics explored

History and purpose of funerals

The role of the Celebrant

Designing & producing the service

Virtual services: at bedside,  with families in isolation, at the crematory, graveside

Creating sacred space

Writing the eulogy

Channeling the grief

Opening and closing remarks /prayers & poems

Announcements/Obituaries/Video Journals/Programs

Tributes & rituals

Veterans services

Pet Funerals

Graveside service / Sea Burial service

“This workshop is incredibly intense, challenging, deeply moving and so much fun!! Everyone should have this experience so they can be prepared when a loved one dies.”     – Kym Chartrand –


Now just $450!  Offered online during the pandemic social distancing – same hours, same intensity, just from the comfort of your own home.  Certificate of Completion will be mailed to all participants. 

MAY 29, 30 & 31  2020


There is no prerequisite for this class.

Students receive a certificate of completion for 25 hour Funeral Celebrant Training

The workshop takes place in Pacific Palisades, West Los Angeles, California  the privacy of your own home via ZOOM Conference for 2020.

Details e-mailed to registered participants.

Friday 3 – 10 pm    Saturday 9am – 6pm    Sunday 10am – 6pm

For more information, please write to: Olivia@sacredcrossings.com




“The mock funerals each of our groups created were so achingly beautiful, meaningful and embodied. The bond with my “family” in just 2 days to create a funeral celebration was incredible – I really felt like I had endured an unimaginable loss, but was uplifted by ceremony and community.  This is an incredible spiritual practice that I highly recommend for everyone”.   – Suzanne S –

“This workshop was a very deep and profound experience for me.  The guest speakers, films and detailed information helped us put together amazing funerals in just two days. They were so real, so intense – just as they would be in real life.  I enjoyed Olivia’s gentle guidance and encouragement in allowing our creativity to flow outside the box. I highly recommend this workshop to anyone who is open and brave enough to explore this incredible topic.”   – Thea Nathan –



Preparing the body, Home funerals & Final disposition

Pre-requisite – Conscious Dying


COVID-19 UPDATE:  We are fully anticipating that gatherings of 20 people will be permitted by December 2020. This class is scheduled to take place in person in Los Angeles, it will also be live-streamed for students unable to travel or would prefer to remain socially distanced.  Please indicate your preference when registering.  Thank you!


Sacred Crossings upholds that the dying process doesn’t end with the last breath but extends for a period of up to three days.  During this time, the soul, spirit or what is often referred to as the ‘luminous body’ separates from the physical and transitions to the next phase of it’s journey. The family and loved-ones begin to integrate the enormity of what has just occurred into their lives and begin their own transformation process moving forward

This workshop focuses on the role of the death midwife at the time of death and for the days following until burial or cremation. Rev. Olivia shares her 15 years experience as a home funeral guide and founder of the Sacred Crossings Funeral Home with stories, information, demonstrations and powerful images and film clips.

Students learn how to prepare the body after death both in the hospital and home setting; dry-ice preservation; supporting a family throughout the 1 to 3-day vigil and cremation and burial practices.


Instruction includes care and support after sudden death;  rituals in the ICU; bringing baby home after stillbirth; coroner cases; accident and traumatic death.


‘The beauty of the act of caring for the dead is breathtaking – I now understand how sacred this work is, it is truly an honor.’  – Bruna Amaral





Topics explored

Unexpected death – Holding space in the ER

 Legal rights concerning: Coroner /Funeral home / Cemetery / Crematory

Stillbirth/ Infant death – bringing baby home

Sealing the Chakras/Final rites

Benefits of a 3-day home vigil

Bathing, dressing and anointing the body

Dry-ice preservation


Laying the body ‘In Honor’

Decorating the cremation casket

The Jewish Taharah ritual

Cultural and Religious after death traditions

Self-care for caregivers – preventing burnout

Green Burials and alternative cremations


“There is a fulfilling, Beauty Way to do death – these are the steps.” Chelsey Bartels



Pay in Full HERE  ($1800) for the 3-Level, 75-hour FALL 2019 Training to receive $150 discount 

or click on the date below to register for the individual workshop.

Upon receipt of registration, students will receive an e-mail with workshop details.


DECEMBER 4, 5 & 6    ($650)



Space is limited to 20 students to maintain the intimacy of the group.

Early reservations recommended

Workshop takes place in a private home in West Los Angeles – details given to registered participants

Friday, 3 PM – 9:30 PM.  Saturday 9 AM – 6PM.   Sunday 10AM – 5PM

Please contact Olivia for questions about accommodations and payment arrangements


“This was more than a learning experience, this was a sacred experience…discovering how to channel the frazzled energy of still-fresh grief into something that matters by caring for the body at home. I appreciated the classy, comfortable, relaxed, nurturing, safe, cocoon-like environment that we are offered to take in this information. Olivia is warm and kind and genuine, and her compassion and dedication are palpable. I liked the movie clips; the sharing; the hands-on practice; the professionalism; the thorough syllabus but most especially Olivia’s real life experiences of guiding families  through this sacred passage”   – Laurie C.iardullo


Preparing for a Peaceful Transition



COVID-19 UPDATE:  We are fully anticipating that gatherings of 20 people will be permitted by November 2020. This class is scheduled to take place in person in Los Angeles, it will also be live-streamed for students unable to travel or would prefer to remain socially distanced.  Please indicate your preference when registering.  Thank you!


This workshop provides the information and tools necessary for creating a good death and ensuring your end-of-life wishes are fulfilled. Students learn the roles and responsibilities of the death doula – one who offers practical, emotional and spiritual support to the death journeyer and their family throughout the dying process.


‘Conscious Dying’ is a stand-alone class and also Level II of The Art of Death Midwifery training.  Graduates of this class will receive a certificate of completion and be eligible to take the NEDA Proficiency test.

Students seeking certification as a Death Midwife are required to create their personal ‘Death File’ and to register with a hospice volunteer program and begin to sit bedside with the dying.

Films, discussion and group exercises support the information shared in an intimate, nurturing environment. Please see below for curriculum details:


“I am so appreciative for the spiritual aspect of this training. The attention to ritual and ceremony and helping familiarize attendees with concrete ways to open up deepening conversations with the dying and inviting ourselves to do the same.”  – Morgan Dunbar


Topics explored

Understanding your options for end-of-life care in the US

Advance Health Care Directive & POLST

Pain vs. Suffering

The physical process of dying

Spiritual perspectives on the dying process

Physician Aid in Dying – before you decide

Creating the Legacy Project

Ceasing nutrition & hydration

Religious beliefs and practices at the moment of death

Organ donation

Healing relationships/ Saying goodbye /letting go

Being a healing presence – sitting vigil at the death bed

The Living Funeral


“One of the best workshops I have ever taken. Olivia is a consummate professional and inspirational teacher. Loved, loved, loved my experience. Thank you! ” – Sharon Ehlers


 Pay in full HERE ($1800) for the 3-Level, 75-hour FALL 2020 training to receive $150 discount.


click on the date to register for the individual Conscious Dying workshop . $650

Upon receipt of registration you will receive an e-mail with assignments and workshop details


November 6, 7 & 8  2020

PAY NOW   ($650)

Space is limited to 20 participants, early rsvp suggested.

Please contact Olivia for details and for payment arrangements

Friday, 3 PM – 9:30 PM.    Saturday 9 AM – 6PM.    Sunday 10AM – 6PM



This workshop is an amazing practice in honesty, self-inquiry,  love and service. The honoring of death as part of life and a portal to the next realm is examined through discussions, films, meditations, practical and legal information and group process. I wish I had known about this when my husband died, I would have done things very differently.”    – Suzanne Stratchen –


A Journey into Dying


“Dying is not something that happens to you, dying is something you do.”

– Stephen Jenkinson


There is an art to dying and techniques we can learn to help us lean into the mystery and receive our dying with an open, joy-filled heart.

Enter The Grave is an intensive, interactive workshop that delves into the essence of what it means to live and die. Students learn tools to liberate them from the fear of dying; ease pain and suffering, become comfortable with the unknown and deeply trust and relax into the process.

Only when one has entered their own grave and experienced their essential nature are they are able to provide spiritual guidance and support to loved ones.

Somatic movement, meditations, family constellations, written and group exercises and a death rehearsal, gently guide the process in an intimate, safe and nurturing environment.


“This workshop was amazing, beyond, beyond my expectations. I was not expecting to have so much personal healing. I feel I have a completely different understanding of death now”   – MG 


Topics explored

Giving Birth – Receiving Death

Connecting to source through somatic movement

Examining fears

Energy fields and the luminous body

Healing the ancestral wounds

Managing the physiological response to pain

The journey of the soul

Buddhist perspectives on death and dying

The life review

The death rehearsal


“This workshop rocked my world. The exercises were so deep, so profound, I feel changed at a core level. It was not what I expected at all, I see the beauty in death now. Thank you for this life-changing experience!”                    –Ginny B



 Cost: $650


Pay in full for all three levels of the 75-hour certificate program to receive $150 discount –

$1800  PAY NOW



Click on the date of your choice to register for the Enter the Grave workshop for just $650


September 4, 5 & 6  2020    (Via Webinar only)




October 2, 3 & 4  2020 –   (In Person & Live-Streamed)


Space is limited to 20 participants, early rsvp suggested.   Registrants will receive a confirmation e-mail with class details and any assignments.


 Please contact Olivia@sacredcrossings.com for details and for payment arrangements



Friday, 3 PM – 9:30 PM.       Saturday 9:30 AM – 6PM.     Sunday 10AM – 6PM

“Unreal. Deep work. Soulfully awakening.”  Marifel C

“Fear seems to have fallen away and a curious enthusiasm has taken its place.” Beck B

“Death-Changing! Every person on this planet needs this training.”  Jackie D




“Mother wished to remain in her home for three days so that her soul would have the time needed to depart peacefully.  We had never done this sort of thing before and weren’t sure what to expect.  In the end, I found it a far more comforting experience than I ever would have imagined.  She remained in her home for three days, lying in state in her living room.  Often I was the only one in the house.  Her physical presence made her psychic presence all the more palpable.  There was something very reassuring in it — as if to say, ‘I know the pain my loss has brought you, but know that it will be OK.  I will still be here and still be with you.  I am not gone, though I am departed.’  Her presence made it possible to say a prolonged ‘good-bye,’ which culminated in a beautiful home funeral, when we and so many of those whose lives she had touched wished her well on her journey.  I don’t know what we would have done without the support Sacred Crossings provided.”         Geoffrey Hale 


Sacred Crossings Funeral Home offers a complete range of mortuary and funeral home services.

Click HERE for details


Sacred Crossings

Sacred Crossings