Beth Knox is not afraid to look death in the face. The founder of Crossings: Caring for Our Own at Death has done it regularly since the first time in 1995, when her seven-year-old daughter died after an automobile airbag mishap.
The hospital staff told Knox that the body could only be released to a funeral home. Knox wanted to care for her daughter’s body at her own home before final disposition. Told it was against the law (it isn’t), she found a funeral home that would pick up the body and deliver it to her home.
She herself bathed and dressed her daughter. Family and friends gathered at her home to share their grief over this young girl’s passing for three days. From this tragedy grew a new life mission – to help families and communities care for their own dead.
“This is the way we cared for our departed throughout millennia, up until about seventy-five years ago,” said Knox. “The new phenomenon is having a funeral director take care of the funerals, instead of the family.”
As baby boomers age and see their parents and contemporaries dying in greater numbers, she sees an increased interest in taking back the last rites of preparing a body at home. “These are the same people who took back birthing at home, or wrote their own marriage vows, or just tried to take a generalized form and make it more personal to them,” said Knox.
Funeral director Char Barrett, the first president of the National Home Funeral Alliance, also sees this happening at her Washington-state funeral home, A Sacred Moment.
Beth Knox, current president of the National Home Funeral Alliance, and Char Barrett discuss home death care and home funerals on A Good Goodbye Radio on Wednesday, August 28, 2013. Download the podcast!
Topics discussed during the show include:
- Why a growing number of families are undertaking their own funerals and death care
- How-to basics of doing home funerals and death care
- The precautions to take before handling the dead
- What families need to know about permits and paperwork for home death care
- Stories of families who conducted funerals without professional involvement
The National Home Funeral Alliance supports the innate rights of families and communities to choose to have a non-commercial, family-directed funeral. Members also share knowledge of the funeral process with individuals and groups, and are active in their communities promoting environmentally and culturally sensitive methods of caring for the dead.
The National Home Funeral Alliance will hold their annual conference October 18-20, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Find details at www.HomeFuneralAlliance.org.
A Good Goodbye is an entertaining and educational weekly 60-minute online radio show on “everything you need to know before you go.” All past program podcasts on A Good Goodbye radio can be downloaded for free from iTunes and AGoodGoodbye.com.
A Good Goodbye covers a wide range of critical information most people don’t consider until there’s a death in the family. By planning ahead and having a conversation, families can reduce stress at a time of grief, minimize family conflict, save money and create a meaningful, memorable “good goodbye.” Host Gail Rubin brings a light touch to a serious subject and presents expert interviews on funeral planning issues with practical insights into the party no one wants to plan.
Sign up for a free planning form and get more information at www.AGoodGoodbye.com.
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