Chapter

Holistic Approach: Design-It-Yourself Funeral and Cremation Witnessing

Denise Carson

in Parting Ways

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780520251083
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520949416 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520251083.003.0012
Holistic Approach: Design-It-Yourself Funeral and Cremation Witnessing

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This chapter describes the life of Barbara Kernan, a death midwife, and her funeral director partner, Eric Putt. They help people to have a funeral in their home without any intervention from a conventional funeral home. The author visits Barbara and Eric, who are based at the first holistic funeral home to be found in Southern California. Narrating the experience of the author with Barbara, this chapter suggests that the old traditions are modified and abbreviated to fit into modern day. Once people held vigil with the dead in the home, now they must go to a morgue or funeral home. The time-honored tradition of accompanying the body to witness the committal to the elements of the earth has also changed.

Keywords: death midwife; midwifery; funeral home; vigil; tradition

Chapter.  11440 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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