Up to the end of World War II, it was an American tradition to have an in-home funeral. This was when the “parlor” became the “living room”. Caring for their own dead was part of the way of life for centuries. The body was laid out usually in the unheated front parlor and the visitation and services occurred right there. Late in the19th century traditions changed, arrangements became more complicated for families and the profession of undertakers was born. Initially, they assisted families in funeral arranging in order to lift the burden off the family. But soon, the funeral homes took over and today, many families are all but disenfranchised and watch powerlessly, as anonymous men in black suits zip their loved ones in plastic bags and carry them off to the cooler until burial.
We at FRIENDS believe that the dead belong with the family and friends. We encourage people to take back this valuable experience. Each death holds an amazing possibility/potential to grow and learn, it brings us closer together and reminds us of our humanity. FRIENDS will help you to handle the body at home in a respectful and sanitary way. We will gently cleanse, oil, cloth and prepare your loved ones’ body. If you choose to, you can be present and even help. Being included in these steps provides great healing for the people left behind. FRIENDS will also take care of all paperwork and bureaucracy for you and help you with all preparations for a home wake. Eventually we arrange for transport and cremation or burial according to your wishes.
Once a death occurs, these are some of the services we provide:
- Contact the local hospice and/or local authorities to pronounce the death. Failing to do so may prolong the process of death certificates.
- Coordinate the death certificate and permit for disposition and transfer the body to the location of your choice (your home or our mortuary).
- Caring for the body in natural and sanitary ways.
- Preparing a viewing location, inviting close family members and friends, coordinating music, food and catering, setting up flowers, candles and making memento cards. We can help you to set up a shrine and invite people to bring objects that symbolize the life lived. We are here to help as much or as little as you ask us to.
- Once the visitation and services have been completed and the closest people have had a chance to say good bye and grieve together, the disposition may proceed. We will arrange for transportation to a crematory or cemetery. If you and loved ones want to be present for these events, we will arrange everything accordingly.
- To allow a larger community to remember and celebrate a life well-lived together, we can arrange for a personalized End-of-Life Celebration, a memorial service or attended burial or cremation.