Until the end of the 19th century, when someone died, it was the norm to keep the body at home where the family would take care of the deceased loved one until his or her burial. But as the funeral home industry grew, the number of at-home funerals declined and didn’t regain popularity until about ten years ago.
A story from WBUR, Boston’s NPR station, discusses the recent interest in this type of funeral and cites several examples of families who have chosen to have a more natural, custom ceremony conducted in their own home.
Some people with whom I spoke said they would like this type of treatment when they died but they didn’t think it was legal. In fact, in all but nine states, it is definitely legal. Massachusetts even offers clear instructions for home funerals on its website, including what you need for a death certificate, guidance on burials and preparing the body.
If this type of funeral is of interest to you, there are many sources for information. One is the National Home Funeral Alliance, which has about 300 members around the country. Another source is our website, www.diesmart.com.