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Bringing Deathcare Back Home by Kerry Potter

How should we care for our dead? Some think it’s easier to keep death at a distance. The funeral director picks up the deceased, the body gets embalmed and packed into a steel casket. We arrange for a 2-4, 7-9 visitation and move on to the cemetery. That’s just the way most people handle it in the United States. Yes, we do hold religious services and pay our respect. However, many now are questioning the process and looking for something more personal and eco-friendly.

A growing number of folks are choosing to handle death care the old-fashioned way. Prior to the Civil War, the funeral home as we know it did not exist. People cared for their own deceased in the home. They washed and prepared the body to be laid out in the parlor room. We were hands-on with death and knew what it looked like. Direct care from family reflected a deep respect for our deceased and seemed to fulfill an intrinsic rite.

Today’s home care movement is part of a conscious awakening in death. Attendance at this year’s National Home Funeral Alliance Conference (NHFA) increased significantly over previous conferences. It included educational sessions covering body care basics, building bridges with hospices and hospitals and working with funeral directors. Various documentary film presentations examined the home funeral experience and how a more natural, family-led funeral helped families with the healing process.

Kerry Potter is the founder of Dying to Bloom, a natural burial boutique specializing in green burial products. The store is located at 48 Burd St., Ste. 101 in Nyack. For more information, contact or 535-1567 or visit

The documentary, “In the Parlor” will be shown at Dying to Bloom on Sunday, January 21st, 2018, at 4 p.m. Visit for more information.

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