A home funeral trend is emerging. Final Passages is dedicated to this dignified and compassionate alternative to current funeral practices. As a whole, American culture reveres youth and conceals illness, aging and death. Creatures of comfort and convenience, many believe death to be an intruder or the enemy. Death in the media is portrayed as violent, painful, unlawful, tragic, imposed, unnecessary, distant, unwanted and a failure. Death is seldom seen as peaceful or a natural part of our life cycle. A Buddhist commentary on our culture states, “Americans are the only culture who consider death as optional.” We tend to cope with loss by withdrawing, avoiding, tranquilizing and denying death’s reality while giving a loved one’s body away to a passive onlooker or grief choreographer.
Old ways of thinking about after-death care are beginning to be challenged. We have become a generation of people who are seeking personal, relevant and meaningful conditions in our lives yet we have no experience with death. Although individuals may express apprehension about taking charge of a home or family-directed funeral, which includes personal involvement with a deceased person, unsettled feelings seem to dissolve when we confront the unknown and are given the opportunity to conquer our fears and misconceptions. Caring for your own dead is completely legal in most states.
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