"Funerals help us begin to convert our relationship with the person who died from one of presence to one of memory."
- Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, Why We Have Had Funerals Since The Beginning Of Time -
What Is A Home Funeral?
Prior to the Civil War, funerals were performed by families at home. Families wishing to bring their dead home from the battlefield for burial spawned the creation of modern embalming. The American funeral industry was created and embalming soon became the societal norm. Home funerals are legal in many states, including Missouri and Kansas.
Many are choosing to die at home, surrounded and cared for by their loved ones. In a home funeral, the family continues to care for their loved one after death. The family may perform all the functions, from preparing and dressing the body, completing death certificates, writing obituaries, and organizing the visitation, transportation, funeral and burial. Many families prefer a blended or hybrid funeral where the family performs certain functions while coordinating other services with a funeral home. Example: A family can keep their loved one at home, bathe and dress the body, hold an extended vigil (from a few hours to 3 days), have a visitation and ceremonies in the home then allow a funeral home to transport the deceased to cremation or burial.
A family willing to care for their own will spend a fraction of the cost of a conventional funeral. More importantly, home funerals invite family, friends, and community into an authentic and healing after-death care experience in a safe and familiar place, with care performed by loving hands.
A home funeral is best planned in advance. Coordination with hospice, physicians and the funeral provider or cemetery ensures a smooth and timely process. A home funeral is possible even if one dies in a hospital or nursing center. In Missouri and Kansas, the family has the legal right to care for their own dead.