I currently offer home funeral guidance for individuals and families, from advance care planning to consultation regarding all aspects of community centred, home based post death care. My rate is $50 per hour by phone, skype or in person (plus travel and accommodation).
A home funeral guide is someone who supports families who want to care for their own dead. Most present day cultures are at most only one or two generations removed from the natural act of providing hands on post death care without professional intervention for loved ones. The funeral industry is big business here in North America now and provides valuable services for those who do not want to take an active role in the process of washing, laying out and disposing of the bodies of family members who have died. home funeral guides have emerged to help those who do. A home funeral guide does not replace a funeral director; we do not hold the necessary license to provide professional services around laying out or transporting bodies, rather we offer families the support and guidance they need to do so themselves.
Great taboos against engaging with death in an intimate way have grown as our culture has become increasingly death denying. A home funeral guide witnesses the deconstruction of such taboos as we facilitate the natural reclamation of family based post death care. A home funeral guide encourages families to be as involved in all aspects of death care as they are inclined to be; from formulating death care plans to being present to active dying, to washing and caring for the body in death, to laying out, waking, celebrating a death, fulfilling any legal requirements and paperwork, to making a casket or shroud, transporting the body for cremation or burial and being generally involved with all aspects of post death care that feel right for the family (and to access appropriate professionals to provide those services that don't). Most people find that taking care of their loved ones who have died in this way feels comforting and life affirming. Engaging such rituals of post death care usually helps individuals and families to make meaning of death and to begin to process their grief.
As a home funeral guide I am primarily an educator, both publicly and privately. I offer presence and information with the intention to empower individuals to choose the death care that is right for them. Typically I would expect to be asked to be together with an individual in the final stages of active dying or immediately following death (if not earlier in the planning stage). I would support families to take their time and to act on their instincts to perform whatever rituals are right for them in the moment, such as holding and talking to the one who has died, offering blessings or sacred drumming or energy work, or expressing sadness / relief / fear / joy / anger / sorrow / disbelief and somehow acknowledging the transcendent qualities of dying in a variety of ways. I would expect to hold the space for that time and to witness the unfolding. I would expect to perform helpful tasks that need doing such as notifying people or making tea. I would expect to model acceptance of the death that is taking place.
When the family is ready to move forward from the moment of death I would expect to act as a resource for the decision making process that follows. I would help the family to access the support they need whether it is from friends, social / spiritual care providers, funeral directors, funeral celebrants, medical / legal professionals or others. If desired, I would provide the information that is needed to care for the deceased at home. I would expect to support the family as they decide what kind of ceremony and memorialization is right for them. I would share my knowledge about disposition alternatives. I would model and encourage good self care practices and offer bereavement support in the short and long term. I may spend many hours with a family or only a precious few. I would expect to be called when needed.
I have been certified with Final Passages as a home funeral guide.
If you need help to plan or execute a home funeral for yourself or someone else, please contact me.