Home Death & Funerals are Legal in Canada
“Canadians can do it at home”, we can die at home, surrounded with all our family and loved ones. We have become used to a process where removal of the body by others is followed quickly after death. We may choose to visit the funeral home to view the body or may not be with them again until transport arrives at the ceremony. Many of us will only ever have experienced a death and its place in our lives, in this way.
There is a movement, a death positive movement towards recognising the value to those left behind, of returning to a time when our loved ones were cared for within the family at the end of their lives and after death; a reclaiming of our dead. Family led or home funerals are increasing as the myths surrounding the requirements for funerals are explained. It is possible, with care, to carefully wash and keep a body cool, make arrangements for burial or cremation and take your loved one to their final resting place; whether by a traditional funeral director, or as a funeral from home, is your choice.
A home funeral ensures that your loved one is cared for by the people who love them most, whether this is through gentle washing and dressing or just sitting and being with them. It is unhurried and nurturing; spending time at home rather than a chapel of rest allows for natural interaction at any point, day or night. Those family and friends who might not have felt they should arrange a chapel visit, can come to the house and share their condolences in a familiar and comfortable setting.
The arrangements for the cremation or burial are made by the family, along with decisions around types of casket or shroud; usually simple, they are often decorated by family and friends, coming together to create a meaningful tribute. Activities like this offer valuable sharing time and the chance to process what is happening in a supportive and practical way. If there is a family or friend’s vehicle that is big enough to take the casket, then this can be used to transport to the funeral (There is LEGAL documents needed). Some people choose to hold a small ceremony at home rather than have a bigger gathering, others will choose to have a ceremony at the crematorium or burial ground. Flowers and orders of service can be made at home or by a friend, playlists of music can be put together, again allowing involvement in the process. Choice is key here, these decisions made within the family and carried out by the family are empowering at a time when we often feel as if we have none.
A home funeral is a concentrated act of love and family support that enriches our lives and forms a valuable part of our grieving process.
As a home funeral advocate, I firmly believe that families with the right advice and preparation, can conduct their own funeral from home. I also know that many people love the idea of the connection and involvement but do not feel able to carry this out alone. For this reason, I have set up a Holistic Home Funeral Service in order to offer one to one care, one family at a time, to give them the home based funeral that they would love, with in home support from start to finish.