A few months back I provided support during a TSC hosted retreat called After Death Care & Home Funerals which was presented by Sacred Crossings’ Olivia Bareham. The retreat itself was wonderful, the participants were incredible, some new to me, and many whom I have met before. Though it is my loving wife, Susan Wallendorf, who was a participant at this amazing event, I am often asked to come and provide technical (I am an Information Technology professional) and general event support. I look at it as an opportunity to learn more about this work and of course I get the benefit of being in the presence of these amazing individuals, people from various walks of life who view this work as a sacred calling.
During the retreat, when I am not being called to lend a hand or set something up for the presenter or for the group, I generally read up on the subject of home funerals, after death care, and green burial (when in Rome, right?) It was during one of these moments that I ran across an article that to me is as profoundly relevant today as it was when the author, Max Alexander wrote it for Smithsonian Magazine back in 2009. The title of the article was The Surprising Satisfactions of a Home Funeral and it was interesting in the fact that the author had an opportunity to experience two very different funerals: one which would be considered traditional – through the services of a funeral home; the other a home funeral.
Through the eyes of the author the reader gets to experience the contrast between these very different experiences. In the end the author sums up a sentiment that I have begun to embrace “…if more Americans spent more time with their dead—at least until the next morning—they would come away with a new respect for life, and possibly a larger view of the world.“
One thing I have learned through my wife and the members of Threshold Support Circle, it is truely a loving act to spend time with our dearly departed, to sit with them for a few days, to work out our final thoughts with them and to not only be a comfort for them as they journey across the threshold, but to allow them to be a final comfort for us as we move forward eventually coming to that same crossroad.
If you would like to read the article you will find it here at The Surprising Satisfactions of a Home Funeral