dealing with death

Planning Ahead: Home Funerals

What is a home funeral? We can think of it as “a home vigil immediately after the death, when friends and family would come to help, visit and share” This is often for 2 or 3 days, and it can be as private or public as you like. Why choose a home funeral rather than a conventional funeral? “We are seeking the kinship and meaning that doing these simple, mindful things brings us. And the home funeral experience is, first and foremost, mindful. Instead of handing off the inconvenient responsibilities and uncomfortable details, we immerse ourselves in them—we want to be fully present with and for our loved ones, living and dead; we choose deliberately to not let this tender time speed by at a distance, in a blur.” Both of these quotes are from the nonprofit organization called the National Home Funeral Alliance  (NHFA). This website is just the start of the [link to read more…]

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Planning Ahead: insights from bereavement researchers and therapists

In the Boston area, Mourning Dove Studio started with me working directly with families. I wanted to be as competent as possible while helping them, so I began taking workshops and an annual weeklong seminar. Eventually I realized that some of the work being presented would be very helpful to know when planning ahead and in the immediate time after a death. The 5 Stages of Grief model from Elizabeth Kubler Ross is the classic work known by most people. Many presenters I’ve heard let us know that this model has come to be understood more like commandments, whereas they are merely one framework offering some understanding and guidance. It’s important to know that her model does not mean that grieving must happen in a linear fashion and to know that there are other models with useful perspectives to offer us.  The dual process model is well respected, for example. In future [link to read more…]

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Living on Borrowed Time

Planning Ahead: The most important resource to know about

Thursday, April 26 – When I first heard about the Funeral Consumers Alliance, I was stunned. The FCA is an amazing national non-profit organization with volunteers forming 70 local chapters in 46 states. It has a long, interesting history, to be sure. But the reason the FCA is the most important resource you should know about is because of the wide range of ways in which they support you! They don’t provide financial support, but they do provide information and support for any other aspect of planning and carrying out a funeral, including information about related topics such as body donation. On both the national and the local chapter websites, you can find lots of information and you can also contact them by phone for help. In addition, the FCA monitors the funeral industry. They keep an eye on upcoming legislation that would affect consumers and they will assist you [link to read more…]

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Planning Ahead: picking a guidebook

Sunday, April 22nd – It’s officially the start of rolling up our sleeves to make and record our decisions.  We don’t have to start from scratch, though, since there are, oh, about 7,000 planning guides out there to choose from.  Today our job is to pick one out and get it in hand as soon as possible so we can keep moving along.  I think of planning guides as being like baby books – they come in many different styles and approaches.  Also – just like baby books, once you choose one, you still have to fill it out, which is not always easy.  But that’s what we’re doing together – no apologies will be necessary to your survivors-to-be.  Plus, filling out this guide we’re choosing now won’t stretch out in time.  Memorial Day will be here soon and we’ll be done! First decision – do you want to use [link to read more…]

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