At the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) biennial meeting, I met Gail Margush, who arranged the funeral and burial for her husband Tim without the involvement of a funeral home. Her 14-year old daughter Kayla did a very thorough documentation of the process as a project for a speech class.
You can learn a lot about home funerals through her video, shared below.
Tim Margush had small cell cancer in the prostate. After cancer treatments ceased to provide any improvement, he opted to live out the rest of his life at home on hospice care. He died with his family around him at home on March 9, 2011 at the age of 57.
The family decided to bury him without the use of a funeral home. Gail Margush did research about what paperwork was involved to get a burial permit, cemetery plots, excavators, vaults and pine boxes. She also collected information on cremation and body donation. The family decided on a graveside burial service followed by a memorial service.
Daughter Anna was to have a wedding, which was moved up so that Dad could see her in her wedding dress while he was still alive. Family and friends painted his plain pine casket, decorating with various images that had meaning for each person and represented Tim.
After Tim Margush died, the family placed his body in the pine box, drove it to the cemetery and had a private graveside service. A few days later, they held a memorial service and had several open house sessions where friends visited the family home.
“Although this was a very sad time, instead of dwelling on my Dad’s death, we remembered his life,” Kayla said. “We recalled all the great times we had together. We thought about all the things he did. We told stories about silly things that happened to us. There was a lot of laughter and joy, and I think that’s how Dad would have wanted it.”
The activity of creating a home funeral can provide great healing to grieving families. My thanks to the Margush family for sharing their story.