Transporting Human Remains

Typically when we make funeral arrangements, we rely on a licensed funeral home to provide the transportation for human remains. However, a legal representative of the deceased (executor, next-of-kin) can take personal responsibility for the transfer of their deceased loved one. The body must be handled in a safe, dignified and respectful manner; there are processes to follow and there is paperwork…

Selecting a Funeral Home

Before the 1860’s, families and communities took care of their own dead. Historian Mark Harris noted in his book, Grave Matters, that it was after the American Civil War this changed. The bodies of fallen soldiers were routinely embalmed before being transported back to their families in the north. In 1865, Abraham Lincoln’s embalmed body was viewed publicly for two weeks…

Benefits of a Home Funeral Vigil

After a loved one dies, why keep the body at home? What advantages are there to undertaking the death related tasks ourselves? Don Morris, a death educator from Victoria and one of our teachers, has written the following: Enhances participation – Home funeral vigils offer opportunities for participation which fosters healing from grief. Rochelle Martin of Ontario’s Home Funeral Alternatives says, “family…

Embalming

Embalming is the art and science of preserving a human body after death to delay decomposition. This practice goes back thousands of years. The Egyptians had elaborate rituals for their pharaohs that included embalming, believing the soul would return to the body, but only if it could recognize the body it belonged to. In the 17th and 18th centuries in…

Community-Led Death Care

After meeting for several years some Way To Go members, inspired by folks from Denman Island, created a service called Community-Led Death Care. This group of volunteers are ready, even on short notice, to provide practical and emotional support to those approaching or navigating death. In the past, communities cared for their own at death, simply and naturally. Death was…