Role play. Ritual. Vigiling and ceremony. Lifting, moving, cleansing, dressing, and casketing models in a home. Unraveling legalities and logistics. Advance planning. Self-care and more. One & two-day hands-on training.
Home funerals are capturing the attention of Canadians in growing numbers. Why? I believe we are in the midst of a profound paradigm shift in death and dying practices. People want to bring more love than fear to death and dying. We are admitting our desire for connectivity: to oneself, others, the great mystery (call it what you may) and to all realms of nature. Home funerals/vigils help accomplish this. They are simple, humane, historically time tested and by design provide needed time and space for 'love to enter.' They allow for maximum participation and unlimited opportunities for creative self-expression. As long as we are comfortable participating, so are our children. In a home funeral/vigil you can physically care for a loved one to the extent you are comfortable including in most provinces self-transportation. There is lots of time to grieve, give praise, celebrate the person's life and let go when you are ready versus being told to. This ancient yet new practice/option can be supported by your funeral director (a hybrid) or planned and managed by family and friends. The feedback is home funerals are emotionally and spiritually satisfying; effective in meeting our deeper needs, however they are not for everyone.
History The first Home Funeral Practicum took place on Mother's Day 2015 outside Kitchener-Waterloo, ON with a passionate crowd of seventeen. My friend and colleague Kory McGrath of Toronto, and myself, Don Morris wanted to share our knowledge and experience from 33 combined years of commercial funeral directing to encourage and empower you to reclaim family and community-led deathcare.
Throughout 2015 - 2016 the workshop was performed in BC, AB, SK and ON. 2017 got off to a great start with an unusually 'stirring' 10th workshop, in February, on Gabriola Island, BC. June had a 1 day, outdoor Maple Ridge/Vancouver event and August an inspiring presentation (I'm told) before the Victoria Holistic Deathcare Community. In September, 12 men from a Victoria non-denominational church took part in a 'groundbreaking' - haha - weekend training 'off the grid' outside Duncan, BC. The word heard afterwards was... 'transformational'.
In early November '17 I demonstrated at the Vancouver Island Federation of Hospices' "Education Day" in Parksville - it was well received. On November 18-19th we had a powerful and peaceful two day training in Victoria where my former student, Valerie Elliott, joined us as a facilitator and oh was she superb! A big gift was the self care, breathwork and 'first class' yoga facilitation by Leigh Anne Milne. Can you believe such good fortune, eh? I do, because this work is in synch with the power of love.
2018 built off the past 3 years' successes. There was Salt Spring Island, BC, Tatamagouche NS, Wakefield QC and Elora ON (22 participants). 2019 has had trainings in Victoria BC, Brussels ON, Winnipeg and Virden, Manitoba. Wow, I gotta take a deep breath! Please know offering you this training and traveling around this beautiful, good country is a joyful privilege and an honour. 2020-2021 - 'The Covid Period' - suspended hands on/in-person workshops. 2022 - A period of reflection, and re-direction. Due to Covid concerns organizing in-person workshops across the country is difficult. For now my efforts are focussed on researching and writing a book. Please contact me if I can be of service.
Why Home Funerals/Vigils? Why? Because In Kory's words, “caring for our own has the possibility to transform our discomfort with death, to experience loving kindness, and to act in a way that is humanistic.” I totally agree... and know hands-on participation with death helps us grieve more deeply, love more richly and heal more rapidly from loss. Caring for our own/each-other in death enhances our potential to live with less anxiety, be more present/alive in the moment, and strengthens our connection to self, others, the earth and the mysterious Source of Life. Come join us inside this transformational human training. It's part of a social and cultural revolution that's going on! Yeah, it's going on...
Home Funeral Practicum Workshops and Fees: 2+ Days (Weekend) Training
The 2+ days intensive consists of a Friday night movie screening and discussion. The Saturday and Sunday workshop sessions, 9-5pm, are attended by students who seek as much in-depth knowledge and experiential training as possible. The workshop's format provides 3 levels of mock body-care including a thorough washing/cleansing and shrouding paralleling the ancient Jewish Tahara ritual. There are 5 primary topics whose related readings are emailed to you before the weekend. 1. Home Funeral Varieties. 2. Legalities & Logistics. 3. Ecology and Ethics. 4. Self Care and Health Considerations, and 5. Body Care. Casket painting, vigiling, a mock funeral ceremony, and body transfer/vehicle loading/unloading are training components. The learning is well paced, calm and enjoyable while emphasizing self care. The 2+ days fee including the HFPracticum's 45 page educational handbook, healthy snacks and beverages, ranges from $310 - $350. depending on location in Canada.
1 Day Training
The 1 day, highly intensive training is suited for individuals who desire the basics of home funeral education and its' practical, hands on responsibilities. A Utube video jump starts the learning. Like the weekend training, practicing self care and moment to moment awareness lies at the ground of the workshop. The 1 Day fee including a 25 page educational handbook, and healthy refreshments ranges from $155 - $175. depending upon location in Canada.