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A home funeral is a family or community-centered response to death and after-death care. Most state laws support the right of the family to care for their own departed. Depending on the specifics of each state’s law, families and communities may play a key role in:

  • Preparing the body for burial or cremation (Bathing, dressing, anointing)

  • Planning and carrying out after-death rituals or ceremonies such as laying out the deceased for visitation and holding a funeral service in the home

  • Filing of death-related paperwork such as the death certificate and disposition permit.

  • Transporting the deceased to the place of burial or cremation

  • Facilitating the final disposition such as digging the grave in natural burial

For more information on the home funeral movement, please visit:



A vigil or ‘wake’ is a period of time, usually 1 -3 days, when the body is laying in honor while family and friends visit to pay their respects and say goodbye. The funeral service most often takes place in the home on the 3rd day of the vigil before the body is taken to the crematory or cemetery.

Many religions cite the importance of the three days following death. This is a period of time where the soul / spirit /consciousness of the individual is getting accustomed to being without the physical form. Family members often experience the presence of a loved one close by during the days immediately following transition and sensitives often ‘see’ the luminous body hovering close to the physical body. Whatever one’s personal beliefs, lovingly caring for a body and holding it in a sacred space allows family and friends time to accept the loss, say goodbye and begin to face their own lives with a deepened sense of gratitude and peace.



If you decide that a home vigil and funeral is the right choice for your family, Moon Phases Of Life will: support you in bathing, dressing and shrouding the body; loan all necessary equipment and supplies; deliver either a cardboard cremation container or pine box to the home for decoration and oversee dry-ice preservation during the vigil. Our guides are available by phone 24/7 for guidance and support during your home funeral.

If requested, I can assist you in planning and officiating the funeral service either in the home at the conclusion of the vigil, or at a venue of your choice.



  • During a home funeral the family remains in charge

  • A Home Funeral allows more time. A family can take as much time as they need to personally care for their loved one and honor religious or cultural beliefs and traditions.

  • A home funeral fosters the spirit of community as friends and neighbors gather to support the family in their home.

  •  The body can be viewed without being embalmed.

  • Children’s fears are allayed when invited to participate in the rites and rituals of caring for the dead. 

  • The cost of home funerals are considerably less than conventional funerals. No embalming fee, no refrigeration, no funeral parlor or chapel rental



If you would like a funeral at home for your loved one, please contact me (before death) to arrange for a family consultation in your home. Thank you!

What are the benefits of a home funeral?

During a home funeral the family remains in charge from the moment of death until burial or cremation.  A family can take as much time as they need to personally care for their loved one according to religious or cultural beliefs and traditions and the body can be viewed without being embalmed.

A home funeral fosters the spirit of community as friends and neighbors gather to support the family in their home. Family and friends have more time with the body helping them accept and integrate the death and promoting the healing process. Children’s fears are allayed when witnessing the rites and rituals of caring for the dead at home by family members and they are able to more easily integrate death into the cycle of life.

The cost of a home funeral is considerably less than traditional funeral homes. When hiring a Home Funeral Guide you pay consultation fees for education and guidance and save the cost of refrigeration, embalming, mortician fees and parlor and chapel rentals.

Can I take the body home from a hospital?

Yes. In almost all 50 states, families have the legal right to care for loved ones after death, this right includes taking the body home from the hospital, nursing facility or coroner providing you have the necessary permits in your possession.  It is advisable let the facility know of your plans and make arrangements for transport of the body ahead of time.

When a loved one dies in a hospital, nursing home or is taken to the coroner, our funeral home will dispatch a driver to transport the body from the location to the home. A Sacred Crossing Guide will then support the family through the home funeral process.

Illinois — As of January 1, 2006, Illinois citizens can declare their wishes for disposition in a written document that is legally binding. They may also designate an agent to carry them out, or to make any decisions if no specific instructions are left. Click here for the form. The law allowing this is found under in chapter 755 of Illinois Statutes, Estates, Disposition of Remains Act. Click here and scroll down to look it up.

What are the steps of a home funeral?
  1. A home funeral guide conducts in-home consultation to asses a family’s needs and help them make preparations

  2. Upon notification of death the Home Funeral Guide arrives at the home – usually within 3 hours

  3. The Home Funeral Guide educates and supports the family with bathing and dressing the body

  4. The body is laid ‘in honor’ in the home on a bed or table

  5. The body is preserved with dry-ice during the 1 to 3-day vigil

  6. The cremation casket or pine box is delivered to the home and decorated by friends and family

  7. The family completes all necessary paperwork needed for the disposition and death certificate

  8. The funeral service is held in the home or taken to a church. chapel or other venue depending on the family’s wishes

  9. The body is transported to the cemetery or crematory for final disposition

Do I need to hire a funeral director?

You do not have to hire a funeral director. In almost all states you have the legal right to act as the funeral director on behalf of your loved one which includes the responsibility of completing and filing the necessary paperwork

Is a home funeral suitable for children?

Yes. Children are naturally curious about death and look toward adults for guidance in how to embrace this natural event into their lives. Having the body prepared by caring relatives in the natural setting of home is comforting for children and helps them to accept and integrate what has happened. They see that death is not frightening or macabre as often depicted by the media, but is simple, natural and often quite beautiful. 

Decorating the cremation box can be profoundly therapeutic for children, providing them a creative outlet for feelings and words that may otherwise go unexpressed.


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