Caroline Flanders
Caroline Flanders
Life Cycle Celebrant TM
Interfaith Minister
(760) 310-1142
caroline@celebrantoflife.com

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Home Funeral Vigil

Attributed to the awareness and growth of hospice care in our country, family members have an opportunity for a holistic, gentle, and loving approach by personally becoming more deeply involved with the dying process. No longer are individuals skirting the subject of death nor are they avoiding discussions regarding their choices at the time of their own passing. Our culture is taking a turn toward personal empowerment, claiming their right to knowledge and graciously stepping into the role of caregiver by carrying out the last act of loving care and kindness.

Harkening back to a time of caring for our own at death, many families today are reclaiming this time-honored tradition. In a culture where recent decades have seen the institutionalization of dying, where even the mere mention of impending death is discouraged and conjures fear in some, a deep-rooted paradigm is reemerging. Family members, sometimes with the assistance of sensitive providers and guides, are choosing to take pause, to slow down the experience, and to graciously meld into the event of this final transition.

A home funeral vigil is appropriate in many instances, though not in all situations. Wherein the conditions are favorable to allow a cherished family member to lie in honor at home, it is certainly possible for a sacred and incredible experience to emerge. Rather than an immediate and urgent call for the removal of a body, family members stop, allow time for other family members to arrive and be present, and simply, slowly embrace the reality of their beloved having taken their final breath.

A home funeral vigil allows for the family members to lovingly render care of the body of their beloved, sometimes in ritual or ceremonial fashion with a cleansing of the body; sometimes by setting sacred space with flowers, photos, and mementos; sometimes by building or decorating a casket; sometimes even by transporting their beloved to the final place of rest.

A home funeral vigil allows for time to slow down and eases the experience to be one of quiet recollection; gracious and gentle understanding of this permanence; reconciliation and shedding of powerful new emotions; and alas, a benevolent and compassionate way to cross this significant threshold in life as in death. Family members who may not be present at the time of the last breath are given an opportunity to arrive and to visit their beloved for one last time in the comfort of their own surroundings, with the nurturing presence of their closest relations, on their own terms, in the right timing.

Whether a home funeral vigil lasts for hours or days, families who answer the call to care for their own are given a lasting, unmeasurable, and deeply moving gift of grace and love.

Whatever Your current situation, whether You are in the experience of caring for someone for whom death is anticipated, or perhaps You are considering what Your family members will do at Your own transition, the greatest gift that You can share is the gift of communicating Your final wishes. If a home funeral is something that feels would be important or sacred to this experience, please feel free to invite consultation.

Available services include:

  • Telephone consultation for ideas and guidance.
  • In-home visit to assess and recommend home vigil plan.
  • On-call during time of vigil leading up to death and during home funeral.
  • On-site coordination and guidance for family and friends assisting with logistic elements of the home funeral.
  • On-site guidance, assistance, or complete preparation of the deceased for burial or cremation.
  • Ceremonial or ritual leadership to prepare and maintain sacred space.
  • Guidance, assistance, or complete preparation of legal documents, including death certificate and disposition permit (required for transport, cremation, and/or burial).
  • Transport to the place of final care, crematory or cemetery.
  • Coordination of memorial service if desired.
  • Recommendation and/or coordination of ceremony venue based upon Your specific needs and requirements or
  • Ceremonial leadership at a venue that You have arranged.
  • Composing and officiating memorial service, religious or non-religious.

Additional services can be arranged for:

  • Bagpipes, acoustic instruments, or other musical complement, including favorite recorded music.
  • Creation of tribute video montage to be played at gathering.
  • Keepsakes, including memorial folders, prayer cards, or wild flower seeds with custom tags.
  • Artistic and beautiful keepsake vessels to keep a portion of cremated remains (if applicable).
  • Dove release.
  • Pre-ceremony coordination of photo displays and flower arrangements.
  • Coordination of post-ceremony “Celebration of Life” reception with recommendation of catering service and venues.

Caroline Flanders served in the health care field for over 20 years, including 8 years as a Navy Hospital Corpsman as well as employment at the City of Hope comprehensive cancer center, and volunteer training with East End Hospice in Long Island, New York. Having answered the call to serve individuals in the experience of dying and death, Caroline has served as a licensed funeral director, Celebrant, and home funeral guide for the past 5 years. Caroline holds a Bachelor of Theology from Cloverdale College of the Graduate Theological Institute. She endeavors to serve as a hospice chaplain in the future.

Caroline is available to serve Your transition experience through private consultation, education, and hands-on home funeral care. Please call today for more information regarding Your unique situation.


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