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.


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 05/20/2022
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: website for White Eagle Memorial Preserve is here: to learn more about Jade's offerings check out these beautiful pages: the show
43:29 05/06/2022
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: and Instagram: the show (
50:36 04/22/2022
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: the show
36:11 04/08/2022
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: the Community-Led Death Care group: the show (
38:37 03/25/2022
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: out more about Laurelyn and her music here: Support the show (
32:37 03/11/2022
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 02/25/2022
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. the show (
46:57 02/11/2022
Colorado Burial Preserve
Emily Miller shares her experience of opening Colorado's first dedicated green burial ground, Colorado Burial Preserve. the show (
31:45 01/28/2022
Scout Flies Home
Today Sarah is joined by Deborah Thornton and Angela Franklin. Deborah's daughter, Scout, died in a car accident in the summer of 2019. With the help of Angela and her husband, Michael, both death midwives and home funeral guides in the rural Oregon town where Scout was living with her partner, Travis, and their dog, Mowgli, Scout was given a natural burial on the farm she called Scout's performance at the 2019 Kate Wolf Festival here: contact Angela here:'s mother, Deborah Thornton, is a transformational life coach based in Maryland. The story of her emotional journey following Scout's death will appear in a forthcoming collaborative book on cultivating emotional resiliency.Learn more about Deborah's work here: the show (
74:03 01/14/2022
Thoughts on Grief
Today Sarah reposts an episode from our first season in 2019 called Grief and the Holidays with a couple of changes. Several people have asked about the song at the beginning and end of A Path Home. The title of the song is The Next Step.  At the end of this episode you will hear a rough recording, made outdoors on a cellphone,  of the whole song. Here are the links for the resources used in the original episode. the show (
14:38 12/18/2021
In the Cabin and On the Hill, Andy's at Home
On this episode we hear from Jonel Kiesau, who shares the tender, sorrowful, yet somehow joyful experience of caring for her beloved husband, Andy, at home along with their two young daughters, family and community. Andy was buried in a hand-crafted wooden box on their farm in Wisconsin. You can find Jonel's essay, Fifty Acres, in the book Contours: A Literary Landscape here: read more about their story along with photographs on her blogspot: the show (
56:00 12/03/2021
Home Funeral Without the Home
Today Susan Mackey shares her creative solution for providing after-death care when a home funeral wasn't possible, home funeral care just not in a home. To learn more about Sue and her work see her website here: serves on the board of the Funeral Consumers Society of Colorado, an affiliate of the national Funeral Consumers Alliance. Here are those links: the show (
28:25 11/19/2021
A Place in the Prairie
On today's episode I speak with three members of the Pomerantz family, sisters Jennifer and Katie and their father, Sanford. It was almost exactly one year ago, November 13th, 2020,  that I met the family at Heart Land Prairie Cemetery where they buried Francine, the girls' mother and Sanford's wife of 51 years. To find out more about HLPC, check out the website: the show (
49:55 11/05/2021
From Taharah to Aquamation
Bonni Goldberg shares the story of reckoning a complicated relationship with her mother by caring for her at the end of her life and after her death. The women in Bonni's family performed the taharah, a final act of great kindness in Jewish tradition, for Bonni's mother when she died. What followed was an Aquamation, also known as "water-cremation."Bonni is an author of several books for young people and adults. To see her titles and read about her work visit her webpage at: has written several essays on death under the pen name Batya, that you can read at the following links: on Aquamation here: the show (
40:50 10/22/2021
A Conversation with Maggie Jones
Writer Maggie Jones shares with Sarah the after death care her family provided for both of her parents some 18 years apart. The experience of remaining with her father's body for a full night after his death, stayed with her and ultimately inspired her to write a story for the New York Times Magazine called The Movement to Bring Death Closer. To learn more about Maggie's work visit her website, here: can find the NYT story here: listen to the piece on The Daily, Sunday Read edition here: the show (
39:36 10/08/2021
Accompanying Kelly
Diana Lindsay and her friend, home funeral guide Lucinda Herring, share the story of Kelly Lindsay's dying process and the family who gathered to accompany him on his final journey with brain cancer. Here are the links to Healing Circles, the support organization founded by Diana and Kelly: and mention in the introduction just a few of the things Healing Circles offers, but there is SO much more. It is really worth taking a look!If you're interested in reading Diana and Kelly's book on caregiving and grappling with cancer or any other life-limiting illness you can find it on Amazon. Amazon Smiles will donate to the National Home Funeral Alliance if you select it when ordering. the show (
56:27 06/18/2021
Home Funeral Basics with Lauren Carroll
Lauren Carroll is a funeral director based in Colorado Springs. After finding out about home-based, family-centered after death care, Lauren devoted her practice to helping families create home funerals. On this episode we discuss everything from filing a death certificate to rigor mortis and body care. She is a co-founder of Deathwives, a non-profit death education and advocacy collective. Find out about the courses they offer here: the show
49:02 06/04/2021
Wrestling with Death
Aubrey Brinneman and her friend, home funeral guide Lauren Richwine recall the dying, death, home funeral and natural burial of Aubrey's husband, Tyler. Ty faced his diagnosis with a rare, aggressive cancer by being actively involved in preparing his young family for what was to come. If you are in Indiana and would like some support or have questions regarding holding a home funeral or natural burial, you can contact Lauren through her website: The shroud the couple ordered for Ty's natural burial came from Kinkaraco, Green Funeral Products. the show
48:54 05/20/2021
High School Sweetheart
In this episode Ray Mulvey and his daughter Laurie describe the home funeral they arranged for Ray's wife of 58 years, Judy. Ray lives in New Jersey, one of the states that requires hiring a funeral director to oversee certain aspects of the funeral. Laurie is a resident of Pennsylvania and a member of her local chapter of the Funeral Consumers Alliance. To learn more about this important organization see their website here: movie Laurie mentions watching is the 2003 PBS documentary called, A Family Undertaking.  It is available to order on DVD from Netflix.Support the show (
51:50 05/07/2021
Beautiful Billy
Gabrielle Walters shares the arduous journey she made alongside her husband, Billy, when he was struck with a devastating illness at the end of May 2020. Determined that he would not die in the hospital, Gabrielle brought him home on the day of their 30th wedding anniversary. Back at home, with his children and grandchildren present, Billy died the next day. Following her heart and with a little bit of knowledge about after-death care, Gabrielle tended to his body at home where he spent two nights before being cremated.Support the show (
50:16 04/23/2021
Community Death Education
This episode offers ideas for people interested in raising the awareness of alternative death care practices in their communities, as well as helpful things to consider when planning a home funeral. Rebecca Senoglu, chaplain and longtime member of the NHFA, shares her path working to raise the awareness of family centered after-death care through meetings with the hospital, forming relationships with locally owned funeral homes and creating public programs in Chico, California.  She also shares the details of a home funeral for a beloved member of her community. To listen to archived episodes of Rebecca's radio program go here: here: learn more about hosting a Death Cafe: the show (
44:04 04/09/2021
Mother in the Parlor
Adrienne Parker describes bringing her mother home where she died surrounded by three generations of family members.  After her death they spent time with her body in the parlor of the old Victorian house where Adrienne was living. The grandchildren filled their days decorating the cardboard coffin their great grandmother would be cremated in.Support the show (
34:07 03/26/2021
A Walk in the Woods
On this episode we hear from Alexa Sunshine Rose who shares the story of her husband, Warren, a father, activist, environmentalist, educator and EMT who died right before the New Year of 2020. Warren had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, however his death was sudden and unexpected. Alexa shares details of the autopsy on Warren's body that some listeners may find disturbing. To read more about Alexa's experience, the loving help she received from the community and her grief journey, see her blog at: the show
52:07 03/12/2021
Dad Catches the Train
Along with her family and guest host, Dani LaVoire, Sarah Crews, shares the story of the home funeral and green burial that the family arranged for their father and grandfather, Ed Hawley. Here is the link to Heart Land Prairie Cemetery: Bedside Blessing when Someone has Diedby Ellen HufschmidtThank you for your mind and all the thoughts and dreams you had.Thank you for your eyes for all the beauty and ugliness you witnessed.Thank you for your ears and all you have heard, the peaceful and the harsh.Thank you for the words you spoke and those you couldn't speak but wanted to.Thank you for the breath that gave you life.Thank you for your heart that bore your sweetness.Thank you for your back and shoulders for bearing the responsibilities you accepted.Thank you for the love you shared.Thank you for your hands, for all they held.Thank you for your legs that carried your humanness.Thank you for your feet that stood you on the ground.Thank you for your life that touched us deeply.You are blessed. You will be missed.Support the show (
53:05 02/27/2021
The Unimaginable on an Ordinary Day
13 years ago, on New Year’s eve, Anne Jungerman’s husband, Ed, died suddenly and unexpectedly while out on his bike. In the hours that followed, Anne’s close knit community came together to support her and her boys, who were deep in the shock of assimilating the unfathomable news that came to them on that otherwise ordinary morning. You can connect with Anne on Facebook by joining her community page on "all things new and not-so-new about death and dying" @OmaiGrace.Support the show (
40:52 02/12/2021
Con Cariño Abuelito
On today's episode Anne-Marie Keppel shares the extraordinary life of her father-in-law Marcelo, a refugee from Chile who settled in New York City. Marcelo died in a hospital ICU in 2019. Anne-Marie made arrangements to bring his body to their home for an intimate home funeral with the family.Anne-Marie is the author of a book called Death Nesting: Ancient and Modern Death Doula Techniques, Mindfulness Practices and Herbal Care. You can find out more about her work here: the show (
43:15 01/29/2021
Deana's Choice
Final Passages founder, Jerrigrace Lyons, shares the story of attending to her dear friend, Deana, who chose the option of medical aid in dying to end her long journey through cancer. Hawaii's Our Care, Our Choice Act was passed in January of 2019. Jerrigrace joined her friend on Maui in January of 2020 and was present for her death and instrumental in carrying out her after-death care along with Deana's closest friends. To learn more about Hawaii's OCOC legislation see: Final Passages is a tremendous resource for community-centered after-death care. To find out more about them and the workshops Jerrigrace provides see: the show (
43:20 01/15/2021
Surrounded in Beauty
Courtney shares the story of caring for her mom who died at home during the pandemic. With the support of hospice and LA based home funeral guide, Olivia Bareham, Courtney was able to care for her mother in her home, before and after her death. She is currently working on creating a photo essay of the experience which we will provide the link to when it is complete. For more about the services Olivia provides in the LA region see her website here: to Leonard Cohen narrate The Tibetan Book of the Dead documentary on YouTube: creative rituals during Covid-19 watch this video with Pia Interlandi: the show (
45:07 01/03/2021
A Better End with Dan and Shelley Morhaim
Sarah has a conversation on medical decision making with the authors of Preparing for a Better End; Expert Lessons on Death and Dying for You and Your Loved Ones.  Dan and Shelley Morhaim share professional expertise and personal stories.  Along with discussing some of the reasons it's important to have Advance Directives in place, today's episode includes a conversation about home funerals and natural burial. You can find out more about their book, including ordering information here: the website that Dan mentions regarding forms and guidance for filling out Advance Directives here: Another helpful resource that Sarah uses regularly in her end-of-life planning workshops is here: the show (
48:14 12/18/2020