The DIY generation is now extending its reach with home funerals

The DIY generation is now extending its reach to funerals

OURS truly is the DIY generation, and in a changing world where death has now become more accepted, people are preparing their loved one’s body for send-off and holding home funerals.

Some people maintain that doing this helps the family to deal with their grief in a more personal way, as they become involved in the care of their loved one’s body.

In fact, this is a return to how things used to be, as centuries ago, our ancestors would have dealt with the relatives’ bodies when they died, and in some cultures, they were even kept within the home. An example of this was seen amongst the Iberian peoples who inhabited the peninsula at least from the 6th century BC. They would keep the remains of their loved ones in sealed niches in the walls of their homes.

In modern days, a funeral at home can help to cut costs and be more environmentally friendly.

Let’s take a closer look at what a home funeral involves:

All death care is carried out by the person’s family and friends, and it is also known as a family-directed funeral. Obviously if the deceased is to be cremated, this will be done at a crematorium as a direct cremation.

If there is one, the burial will be arranged at a pre-selected plot at a cemetery and the memorial can be held at a venue of your choice or even at home. It is led by the family rather than by a religious figure or celebrant.

Someone you trust

If a home funeral is something that you want to include in your funeral plan, you will need to choose someone that your trust to take charge of the arrangements and check with them if they are prepared to carry out everything that it involves.

You will need to arrange payments with the cemetery, crematorium and choose caskets or urns, shrouds, headstones, flowers, guestbook, food, invitations, tokens, obituary, etc…


Bodies are usually kept on dry ice unless buried or cremated straight away. If the body is to be present and visible during the funeral or memorial service, then you will want to choose nice clothes and may want to apply some make-up.

You will have to arrange where the body is to be transported to and from, so find out what the options are and you will need a casket in which to transport it.

Home funerals allow you to control what you want to be done with your body, and will give your relatives more time to be with you after your passing, allowing for more closure, as well as bringing the family together. It can allow for a more eco-friendly funeral too.


On the other hand, it involves more work and preparation, and will mean you will personally handle the body of a loved one.

At the moment, this is not an option in all countries, so you would need to research just how far you can go with your DIY funeral depending on where you are living. Even in countries where it is permitted, home funerals are only carried out by a small minority, so you may find that you are not allowed to be directly involved in preparing the body, but you can lead the memorial service for your loved one and carry out other procedures.

Death doula

If you are in need of help, there is such a thing as a ‘death doula’ or ‘end of life doula’ who acts like a midwife, assisting not with birth, but with death. The can offer help before death, in supporting the person and their families in their final hours, making sure that their wishes are respected and their body is treated in the right way, and making it a more positive experience by preventing distress.

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Written by

Jennifer Leighfield

Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics. Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.


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