What is a Death Doula?
Also known as End Of Life Doulas or Death Midwives, a death doula is a non-medical person who helps educate, support, and guide individuals throughout the whole end of life journey. Death Doulas are focused on the spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects surrounding death. Duties of a death doula can range from educating the family how to properly care for their loved one, plan home vigil and services, plan legacy projects, arrange transportation, provide needed goods for a home funeral, and even running errands for the family while they hold vigil. Death Doulas also help guide individuals near the final stages of their life to plan for a peaceful and meaningful journey’s end.
What is a Home Funeral?
A Home Funeral is when family, friends, and the community come together to care for their loved one after death in the safety and comfort of their own home. Family members carry out all aspects of care for their loved one including but not limited to: Planning after-death ceremonies and rituals; Washing, anointing, and dressing their loved one for a home vigil; Building and/or painting a coffin; Keeping the body cool with non-invasive techniques; Filing the death certificate according to local laws; Transporting their loved one to their final place of rest; And digging the grave for a natural burial.
Is it Legal to Have a Home Funeral?
Yes, home funerals are indeed legal. You can care for your loved one until the time of final disposition in the comfort of your own home. Here in the state of Arizona a deceased loved one must be embalmed or refrigerated after 24 hours. Each state has their own set of laws and it is recommended that you check your local and state statutes. The National Home Funeral Alliance has a list of all 50 states and their legal requirements; this is a fantastic resource that can be found at: https://www.homefuneralalliance.org/state-requirements.html
Are Home Funerals Safe?
Yes, home funerals are quite safe. A dead body does not pose any more harm to an individual than when they were alive. With easy to learn proper cooling and hygiene techniques, you can safely keep your loved one at home for several days. With all the dangerous chemicals involved, embalming is far more dangerous to the environment, funeral directors, and embalmers.
Why Choose a Home Funeral?
From spiritual, therapeutic, financial, and environmental reasons, there are several benefits to choosing a home funeral which include: Costing as little as $300 compared to a funeral home average rate of over $8,000; creating a beautiful opportunity for healing; they are much more eco-friendly that embalming or cremation; help create a sense of completion by allowing family and friends to help and participate in all aspects of care; are very personal and help bring meaning to death itself.