Contrary to popular belief, embalming, cremation or burial is not required within 24, or even 48, hours of death under most circumstances. Families can care for their own loved one in the home after death. This is what everyone did three to four generations ago, and what many people still do throughout the world. It’s called a “home funeral.” With proper care it is safe, simple, inexpensive and legal. Merilynne Rush provides information and consultation to empower families to care for their own dead, whether the death is anticipated or sudden.
Merilynne also teaches about and advocates for green burial. The benefits of home funeral and green burial include personal expression of grief in a relaxed and loving atmosphere, the love and honor that only family members can provide, inclusion of the family and the community, and an easier grief journey for those involved. It is also better for the environment.
What is a Home Funeral?
A home funeral is a loving way to honor and care for your loved one after death. It can include any of the following:
• Bringing the body home (if not already at home)
• Washing and dressing the body
• Laying the body out on a bed or sofa in the bedroom or living room
• Cooling the body with dry ice
• Inviting friends and family to a home visitation or wake
• Having a funeral service at home or in a place of worship
• Having a green burial, either on your own property or in a cemetery.
Embalming is rarely required; however, most funeral homes will not allow a public visitation without it. In Michigan (according to state law) a funeral director must be hired to sign the death certificate and supervise the transport the body to the cemetery or crematory. There are several local funeral directors who are supportive of home funeral. Please contact After Death Home Care for referrals.
After Death Home Care is sensitive to Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Native American, Anthroposophic, and other traditions concerning death care and encourages you to observe your particular cultural practices in caring for your loved one.