Show cover of A Path Home

A Path Home

What is a home funeral? How can I have a green burial? Do I have to hire a Funeral Director? On this podcast we’ll be focusing on reclaiming our innate right to care for our own loved ones at death in natural, and often, environmentally friendly ways. We’ll demystify the tasks related to after death care through hearing stories from people who have ventured into culturally unfamiliar territory and cared for their own deceased loved ones at home, chose a natural burial or both. Hearing what’s possible and how lives have been transformed by engaging in this final act of love is one path towards changing our culture and our relationship to death. A Path Home is a production of the National Home Funeral Alliance.

Tracks

The Path Brent Took
On this episode Sarah has a conversation with Ed Nelson and his son, Erick Nelson. In February of 2023 Ed's brother Brent died from throat cancer. He had mentioned to Ed that he wanted a natural burial. Erick arrived in Kansas a couple of days before the scheduled burial and participated in an anointing ceremony with his dad, honoring his uncle. Support the Show.
45:11 5/21/24
Caring for Jeff at the Ashram
Naomi Worob and Tina Zuccarello share the story of bringing Jeff to the ashram he loved to spend his final weeks surrounded by people who loved him and bury him on the property. Support the Show.
39:26 4/12/24
Known for Her Smile
On today's episode, Carolyn Dehnbostel describes the home funeral she and her family provided for her mom, Betty, at their cabin in Minnesota, followed by a natural burial on their own land and the logistics involved in getting it all arranged.Support the Show.
50:05 3/8/24
Holding her Heart
Today, Sarah has a conversation with Leslie Stager about the after-death care she and a small circle of friends provided to her mom at her home in Maine. Leslie's mom died unexpectedly which made keeping her home a little challenging.Support the Show.
48:09 2/12/24
Grandfather Hank
Today, Sarah speaks with Krista Marshall in upstate NY who shares  the story of the after-death care provided to an elder in the community she lived in for a time in Vermont. Grandfather Hank was beloved in the area for his presence and helpful spirit from his work with teens to his active pursuit of making life better for the people in his ever-widening circles.https://www.nancyjewelpoer.com/product-page/living-into-dyinghttps://malidoma.com/main/Support the Show.
37:26 1/19/24
The Deathwives on Grief
For today's bonus Winter Solstice episode, Sarah has a conversation about grief with Colorado-based Deathwives, Lauren Carroll and Erin Merelli.  To listen to Erin's Tedx Talk click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryIS6RdU5KI  And to peruse all the amazing courses and content the Deathwives have to offer check out their website here: https://deathwives.org/Support the Show.
47:08 12/20/23
Community Deathcare Ottawa
On today's episode Sarah has a conversation with three members of the Ottawa Death Care Collective in Ottawa, Canada. Kelly Butler, Heather Martel and Deb Charbonneau share with us the personal paths that led each of them to engage in the important work of community death care. You'll find their website here:https://communitydeathcareottawa.com/And read about the wind phone here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_phoneSupport the Show.
46:56 12/9/23
Glenda Villegas of Thresholds, Home and Family-Directed Funerals
Glenda Villegas is the funeral director at Thresholds, Home and Family-Directed Funerals, LLC.  based in San Diego, California. Glenda represents a growing group of progressive funeral professionals who recognize the value of supporting families who choose to do most of the after-death care themselves.https://thresholdsfamilydirectedfunerals.com/Support the Show.
41:12 11/18/23
Sally's Last Gathering
Sarah has a conversation with Anne Archbold and Paul Sommers about the plan Paul's mom, Sally made to donate her body to the medical school at the University of Minnesota after she died. Sally also requested a natural burial. Everything aligned in order for Sally to accomplish both.Support the Show.
39:12 10/27/23
The Weaver Boys Take Care of Dad
On this first episode of Season 5, Sarah sits down with three brothers, Zach, Kevin and Sky Weaver, who share the story of preparing their dad, Phil for a natural burial.To check out the music of The Gravy Ladles here is the link to their YouTube page. https://www.youtube.com/@thegravyladlesmusicYou can also find them on Facebook and InstagramSupport the Show.
52:04 10/6/23
Following Sue's Lead
On today's episode Sarah has a conversation with David Schinsing about his wife Sue's experience with ovarian cancer and the home funeral they planned together. Sue was a nurse, a birth doula and home-schooled their children.  Support the Show.
34:19 4/15/23
Nora "Bird" Takes Flight
Today I have a conversation with Lauren Sample about the home funeral and natural burial her family held for her daughter Nora, nicknamed "Bird," and the many final acts of love provided to Bird in her last hours of living and following her death.Support the Show.
44:05 3/31/23
Dr. Annetta Mallon, Down Under
On today's episode I have a conversation with Dr. Annetta Mallon, founder of Gentle Death Education and Planning, in Tasmania. We talk about her work in the community and the state of green burial in Australia. For more information on Annetta's work, click here:  https://www.gdep.com.au/Support the Show.
37:28 3/17/23
Changing Lives through Tending Death
On this episode I talk with Margaret Henderson and Robin Cottrell in Ukiah, California. The two serve as death midwives and home funeral guides in their community.  They are also singers and members of a Threshold Choir who bring songs to the bedside of terminally ill people. For more information on Threshold Choir see here: https://thresholdchoir.org/Margy mentions Redwing Keyssar's book called Last Acts of Kindness. Find it here: https://redwingkeyssar.com/book/Support the Show.
35:51 3/4/23
Precious Bird
A call to listeners to reach out and share their stories, followed by Sarah's original song, Precious Bird, in honor of her friend Puja.Precious Bird is Sarah Crews on guitar and vocals.Tim Crews on mandolin.Support the Show.
07:15 2/18/23
Ann's Last Act of Rebellion
On this episode, Sarah has a conversation with sisters, Lucinda, Maud and Cecily in Ashland, Oregon. The three of them share the story of creating a home funeral for their mother, former Civil Rights attorney turned Oracle, Ann Macrory. Watch the video of Ann's home funeral here: https://vimeo.com/399209253Forest Conservation Burial Ground: https://theforestconservationburial.org/Support the Show.
42:56 2/3/23
A Soft Place to Land
Today I have a conversation with Donna Vidam about a home funeral she created for her mom, Janet. In 2020, Janet was hospitalized when it became clear that she wouldn't recover, so Donna made the choice to bring her home to die there. Following Janet's death, Donna with the help of Janet's best friends, cared for her body at home and invited friends and neighbors over to pay their respects.Support the Show.
34:09 1/20/23
Making Space for Grief with Sarah Hines
Today I have a conversation about grief with Sarah Hines. Based in Canada, Sarah has founded The Lodge Project where she and her team, coach the leadership of organizations and corporations to respond to grief compassionately and include grief support and awareness in the culture of their companies. Sarah acknowledges that a well lived life must include grief. https://www.thelodgeproject.com/Support the Show.
35:37 12/2/22
Herland Forest: Natural Organic Reduction
On this episode Sarah has a conversation with Walt Patrick, the steward of Herland Forest in Washington State, a natural burial ground and licensed human composting facility, (also called natural organic reduction) and Elizabeth Fournier, a progressive funeral director and author of the The Green Burial Guidebook, who often works with Walt. Today they share with us what a “laying in” ceremony for a natural organic reduction entails at Herland Forest. “Laying in” is the first part of the process, literally placing the body in the composting cradle.https://www.herlandforest.org/Support the Show.
32:40 11/19/22
Holding Hands
Today I have a conversation with Karry Sawatsky. She shares with us the story of her grandfather’s death and how she supported her grandmother throughout the process. Karry is a full-time death doula and founder of Modern Deathcare. She works with adult-children and spouses supporting a dear one with a life limiting illness and is launching The Life and Death Academy death doula training program in January.  Karry’s own challenging experiences with the death of several loved ones called her to this vocation.  Here is the link to Karry's website:  http://moderndeathcare.com and follow her on Instagram @moderndeathcare Support the Show.
48:50 11/4/22
Caring for a Baby Brother, Decades Later.
Today I have a conversation with Karen van Vuuren, founder of the educational non-profit, Natural Transitions, a founding member of the NHFA, and co-founder of The Natural Funeral in Lafayette, Colorado. Karen has been an integral part of the natural death care movement for more than 20 years. She is also an award-winning documentary film maker of two movies, Dying Wish and Go In Peace (links below). In this episode we discuss the unexpected way that she got started on this path.https://www.thenaturalfuneral.com/https://www.dyingwishmedia.com/https://goinpeacefilm.org/Support the Show.
24:10 10/21/22
Jen's Last Ceremony
Today I have a conversation with Darshan Stevens on Cortes Island in British Columbia. Darshan and her mother, Jennifer, lived on the same property when Jen was diagnosed with cancer. For two years they navigated her cancer treatments. In the end, Jen chose MAID, Medical Assistance In Dying. Darshan shares the story of her mum's dying, death, the after-death care and the natural burial that they and the family co-created along with the help of the community-led death care collective on the island.https://cortescurrents.ca/darshan-stevens-her-mothers-life-death-and-afterward/Support the Show.
38:51 10/7/22
Bound by the Ropes of Love
In early December, 2021, Adrienne Parker discovered that her oldest child, Brandyn, had died in his car.  Brandyn's life had been caught in a cycle of mental illness and incarceration, resulting in his being homeless and living in his car.  His body needed to be examined by the coroner before Adrienne, with the help of her friend, Rebecca, had him brought back home to be cared for there by his loving family.Support the Show.
41:54 5/20/22
Arizona Community Death Care
Today we hear from two members of the Arizona Community Death Care collective, Dani LaVoire and Jade Sherer. This is another episode that will be of interest to those listeners who are either already engaged in or just beginning to form community groups. If you have any questions for the AZ collective you can reach out to them here: https://www.azcommunitydeathcare.org/missionThe website for White Eagle Memorial Preserve is here:https://www.naturalburialground.org/And to learn more about Jade's offerings check out these beautiful pages:https://www.itsournature.net/https://www.patreon.com/jadeshererhttp://insig.ht/jadeshererSupport the Show.
43:29 5/6/22
Crossroads Community DeathCare
Sarah is joined by Angela and Michael Franklin, founders of Crossroads Community DeathCare, for an in-depth conversation on how engaging in community led death care has the potential to shift the culture around dying and death. To find out more about what they offer, find them on Facebook:https://m.facebook.com/crossroadsdeathcare and Instagram:https://instagram.com/crossroads_deathcareSupport the Show.
50:36 4/22/22
Healing Through Participation
Tim Johnson shares the story of choosing to care for his dad at home, and his journey getting there through the stories of two other significant deaths in the family. To see Debbie Wagner's art work click here: http://www.debbiewagnerart.com/Support the Show.
36:11 4/8/22
Bringing A Homeless Son Home
On this episode Sarah has a conversation with three members of a community led death care group in Canada. They share the touching story of bringing Gypsy's son, Andrew, home to the island to care for his body and lay him to rest in a natural burial.Here is the link to the article: https://news.yahoo.com/grassy-green-future-composting-human-095323526.htmlAnd the Community-Led Death Care group:https://communityleddeathcare.ca/Support the Show.
38:37 3/25/22
Lola in the Garden
Sarah has a conversation with North Carolina based singer songwriter Laurelyn Dossett who shares the story of the burial she and her brothers provided for their mother in a hand crafted wooden box in Laurelyn’s garden.Here's the link to her piece,  A Family Project, in The Bitter Southerner:https://bittersoutherner.com/feature/2022/a-family-projectFind out more about Laurelyn and her music here:https://www.laurelyndossett.com/ Support the Show.
32:37 3/11/22
A Green Burial for a Green Builder
Today I have a conversation with Kelly Parker. Kelly’s husband Rick Robson died in late January and was buried at Heart Land Prairie Cemetery earlier this month. Rick had determined that he wanted to have a green burial and sent an email to me through the cemetery website inquiring about building his own casket. Over the course of the next few months, Kelly and Rick, educated themselves about the logistics and legalities of home funeral practice. They ultimately decided that not only would he have a natural burial in a homemade casket, but that Kelly, along with their family and the support of their community of friends and hospice would make all the arrangements, care for his body themselves, and keep him in the home he designed and built with Kelly until it was time for the burial.Support the Show.
42:36 2/25/22
Threshold Care Circle
Today I have a conversation with four members of the Threshold Care Circle in Viroqua, Wisconsin; Charlene Elderkin, Susan Nesbitt, Kelly Whited-Ford, and Tracy Mangold. Threshold Care Circle began as a community death care collective in 2006. On this episode, we’ll hear how they got started and eventually evolved into an educational 501c3 providing workshops, death care support and advocating for green burial.https://www.thresholdcarecircle.org/Support the Show.
46:57 2/11/22

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