Just as we have the option of having a “home birth” for entering this world, we also have the option of having a “home funeral” prior to any “final disposition” of the body. A home funeral is when a family and/or friends take possession of and care for the body of a loved one from the time of death until burial or cremation. Home funeral is legal in the State of Florida and minimally involves filing proper paperwork, and transporting and chilling (after 24 hours) the body. Embalming is unnecessary. Any other activities incorporated into a home funeral reflect the previously expressed wishes of the deceased and the preferences of family and/or friends. This may involve having the body at home for some time, preparing the body, rituals, visitations and vigils, religious services, etc.
Throughout all human history, and until the mid-1800s here in America, there was no funeral industry and families naturally took care of their own deceased. Death and having home funerals were simply part of the fabric of life.
Many people in today’s culture are uneasy with the thought of being with or touching a corpse, even if it is someone they love. We hide from death and shield our children from it. However, once most people have had their first experience with the body of someone they know, that discomfort diminishes, allowing them to be lovingly present during this profound time with the deceased. Home funerals bring people together in a final act of compassionate service for the deceased, promoting healing in the grieving process.
The popularity of home funerals is growing nationally and by being virtually free, is saving families thousands of dollars. Having a home funeral does require adequate knowledge and planning in order to fulfill legal requirements and other appropriate activities. However, in the Gainesville area, this can easily be accomplished with the support and guidance of our Final Friends volunteers.