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
Conservation burial, green, or natural burial is a way of giving back after death. Opting for a green burial, in conjunction with a land trust, or natural preserve, reduces the environmental impact that traditional burial methods can create. Using non-toxic, biodegradable materials reduce the carbon footprint we leave behind after we are gone and ultimately contribute to the ecosystem. “Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust….” – this is how civilizations have been caring for the dead for centuries, no metal caskets, no embalming with toxic chemicals, just honoring our beloved by returning them to the earth, and through their death will blossom new life.
The Huffington Post morning show – Rise has highlighted the green burial movement. To get more on this subject, go to the Huffington Post facebook page. green-burials-life-after-death
In The Parlor: The Final Goodbye
This is a wonderful documentary highlighting the growing sentiment that home funeral care is the last gift we can give out loved ones, and ourselves.
“Rejecting the mainstream tradition of hiring funeral professionals to care for the deceased, families in search of a more personal and fulfilling way to say goodbye are taking an active role in caring for relatives who have died.
Both a critical look at the American relationship with death and an inquiry into the home death care movement, In The Parlor: The Final Goodbye takes viewers on a journey where very few have gone, and challenges us to reflect on this uncomfortable subject, which so often is hidden away and ignored.” — http://intheparlordoc.com/
The Threshold Support Circle would like to congratulate New York state licensed funeral director, and fellow TSC colleague, Amy Cunningham on being listed as one of the the “Nine Most Innovative Funeral Professionals” in the country by FuneralOne, a leading voice for change in the funeral industry.
Take a moment to check out Amy’s blog The Inspired Funeral