Home Funeral and Green Burial

Reviving an American traditioniStock_000013980589XSmall

From colonial days to the nineteenth century, the American funeral was almost exclusively a family affair.  The family washed and laid out the body, dressed and draped it, and ordered the coffin from the local carpenter.  It was the family who carried the coffin from home to the graveyard, and who frequently dug the grave itself.  In the rural Midwest important rites of passage; such as, birth and death still happen at home.  Family was a potent institution presiding over these rites and many others.

Americans have increasingly relinquished their customs of caring fortheir own to the rapidly expanding funeral industry over the past few decades, distancing families from participating in their own rites of passage in ways that were meaningful in the past.

Today, all Americans have the legal right to be cared for at home by their family, with friends, members of their spiritual community, or someone chosen to represent them, providing dignified and healing final services.

What is a home funeral? A home funeral is a family or community-centered practice of after-death care in which members may play a key role in:

  • preparing the body for burial or cremation
  • filing paperwork, such as the death certificate
  • transporting the deceased to the place of burial or cremation
  • facilitating the final disposition, such as digging the grave in a natural burial

Home funerals may occur within the family home or elsewhere, such as nursing homes or hospitals.  The emphasis is on minimal, non-invasive, and environmentally-friendly care of the body.

The role of home funeral guides

Home funeral guides do not conduct the after death care themselves as is the case with licensed funeral directors.  Guides teach, support and advise on how to carry out after-death care, their goal being to facilitate family and friends in making their own decisions.

Funeral costs

A family willing to care for the body, file the paperwork and transport the deceased to the crematory will spend a fraction of the cost of a full service contemporary funeral in the US.

Gail Arrenholz is a certified Home Funeral and Green Burial Consultant.  Call to schedule a free consultation:  520-449-3855.  You may also go to: Home Funeral Directory at http://homefuneraldirectory.com, Funeral Consumers Alliance at: http://funerals.org, or Green Burial Council at:  http://homefuneralalliance.org.

National Home Funeral Alliance

11014 19th Ave SE

Ste #8, PMB #155

Everett, WA  98208