Contact Rev. Lynda Elaine Carré, Hudson Valley, New York
845-684-5941 revcarre@wellspringpassages.com

- The Tibetan Book Of The Dead

It is your own true nature, it is home.”

“Let go into the clear light, trust it, merge with it.

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Funerals / Memorials / Living Wakes

Just like you make choices in your healthcare and medical treatment, you can make choices for death that reflect your values, hopes, and goals.

Recalling a speech I gave in college over 48 years ago, “Environmental, Financial, and Personal Consequences of Conventional Funeral Practices {United States),” I did not then realize how this interest would grow over time into a life's passion. I was naturally drawn to the growing renaissance of the Home Funeral Movement and respectful, conscious, affordable “green” remains disposition that is gentle to our environment and at reasonable cost. As a creative person with passion for honoring this threshold, I stay informed of ancient, new, and different practices from around the world. A person's death can be as unique as the way they lived their life.

Now a mature, experienced, and compassionate end-of-life educator, coach, and consultant, I provide services throughout the Hudson Valley and Capitol Region of New York. I am called upon directly by an individual or their family, or by progressive Funeral Directors who offer a Home Funeral option. The goal is to facilitate very personalized funeral and disposition choices that are comforting, healing, inspiring, and in conscious relationship with our environment.

Home Funeral and Natural "Green" Disposition

In the Home Funeral scenario, an individual dies at home (or is brought home) to be lovingly cared for by family and friends with guidance by a seasoned Thanadoula ––in the death vigil,  sacred washing, anointing, preparation, final dressing of the body, and arranging a special environment attuned to the interests of the family with the personality of the deceased.

During the Home Funeral, the family can do as much or as little as they are able, but they unequivocally witness that their beloved is safe and well cared for.  It is a final act of love.

After the few precious days (1-3 days) have given the family and friends their own time to truly honor their loved one and each other, an especially personalized and collaborative home funeral ensues.

After the home funeral, the body remains are respectfully disposed of according to the wishes of the dead. It may be natural burial in a special cemetery or a designated piece of garden or forest–––with the body carefully wrapped in a shroud, in a plain or hand-decorated box, as part of the root ball of a tree, or selected from a myriad of creative Earth-sensitive options becoming more available all the time. The choice may be cremation with ashes held in a legacy urn, scattering at sea, planted in a garden, or transformed into crystal momento jewelry. Alkaline Hydrolysis is a relatively new option that is the most "green" of all.

Conventional Funerals and Religious Traditions

Choices for conventional funerals and religious traditions are also always respected. For some, family, religious, and cultural traditions may play the largest role in the choices they make. Perhaps there is a family cemetery plot. There may be expectations involving specific sacraments, prayers, rituals, washing, wrapping, embalming, viewing, interment in casket or mausoleum, or cremation. Even if the choice is conventional, there are many opportunities for personalization.

About Me

I am certified Thanadoula (Death Midwife) and Home Funeral Guide through Sacred Crossings, a member of the National Home Funeral Alliance, and an ordained Interfaith Palliative and Hospice Chaplain and Celebrant. I provide spiritual care and healing arts through the dying process and create space for transition, reflection, the sacred, and a wellspring of profound memories of a life well-lived and well-ended.

I have a mission to reclaim death as a most natural part of life–––with loving care; with gentleness to our Earth's environment; with reasonable expense.

Act of Love

Caring for the dead is our final act of love. Caring for our environment is a wise act of continuing to contribute even in death as part of the natural cycle and toward a healthy relationship with Earth for generations that follow.

Home funerals are a loving, legal, eco-friendly, family-centered, and financially-responsible option that feels very natural and normal. Family-directed home funerals allow family and friends precious time to honor their loved one, accept and integrate the loss, say goodby in their own time and in their own way.

 

Once you are done with your body, the choice is preservation, disappearance, or reintegration.” (C.A. Beal, Natural Burial Company in UK.)

The Children Are Watching

Whether sacred or secular, green or conventional, the most important intention is creating an enriching, love-filled, supportive, healing environment for all involved. This context gives time to safely, deeply reflect into what matters most in life. For younger ones it provides education and experience about how, together, we naturally care for each other in death. See Planning.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” (Mother Teresa)

Unlike in many cultures of the world, in the U.S. death has largely been kept out of site and away from the home.  death by keeping old ones out of sight and immediately whisk away dead bodies into institutions. We use code words for death, like “he passed” and “she’s gone,” perhaps even telling a child “grandma just went to sleep forever.”

The view of death as something un-natural, avoidable, and separate from life may play a part in human estrangement from our inherent relationship as part of Nature. This affects our ability to fully live while we can through our natural cycle of life and to heal through authentic, deep bereavement. Our contemporary culture not only denies death, it defies it. But this is changing. Our choices for final care matter.

See Resources.

Living Wake Celebration

Consider creating a Living Wake Celebration for yourself or someone you love. This trend in preparing for death is creative, empowering, and rich in loving connection for healing closure and preparation for farewell. There you would have your favorite people, favorite foods, special music, readings and sharing. It can take on any form that has strong personal appeal––from a twist on a classic Irish Wake, to a Sunday Brunch Reunion, to a Big Bash Party, to a Sail on the River or Picnic in the Woods, a Ride through the Golf Course, Family Gathering. What can you imagine? Too many times I have heard guests at memorial services exclaim, "Why did it take [insert name] to die to bring us together again?" A Living Wake moves up the connection to a time when everyone can be together when the dying one can most enjoy it.

Officiant/Celebrant/Ritualist Services

Your “First Call” after someone has been declared dead is to the Officiant (sometimes also referred to as Celebrant or Ritualist). The earliest gathering of stories and understanding the values, dreams, and contributions of the loved one from friends and family contributes to unique honoring services.

Whether for a Living Wake Celebration, Family-Guided Home Funeral, or Conventional Funeral or Memorial Services, I will work with you and your family/friends to create a personalized and memorable experience. If I am involved even earlier in the planning and transition process we have an added advantage of deeper familiarity, knowledge, and appreciation.

Officiant services can be the creation and delivery of a meaningful stand-alone speech, or can be accompanied with other services like facilitating the creation of “Memory Photo Boards,” “Memory Tokens,” “Ritual Activities,” “Legacy Video or Animated Still-Image Presentation,” and so much more. Please see Resources and Services.

Preparing for Farewell––For Yourself

If you are fortunate enough, begin making practical and creative plans for yourself now. Let your family, friends, and medical and legal professionals know of your wishes. Some people enjoy planning down to the last unique detail. Others prefer to have key symbols or activities in place, but also leave it somewhat open-ended to encourage loving and creative input from others when the time comes. Read more in Services. I have included some things to inspire you in Resources.

Preparing for Farewell––For Someone Else

If there is someone you love whose health is declining, don’t waste a moment helping them or arranging affairs for them. Honor them with a Living Wake Celebration while they are still able to enjoy a loving gathering, or for the funeral or memorial gathering they help choose for themselves.

The more ahead of need you are prepared, the more available you will be to deepen and reintegrate through the very deep feelings you will experience when the time comes, and it will. Please contact me about suggestions for initiating the conversation. Upcoming holidays are perfect times to begin or to revisit your prior choices.

Create Your Personal Care Circle

Aging, illness, and dying can sneak up on us. This process naturally diminishes our abilities and capacity to care for ourselves. After we die, we need others to totally care for our body. It is natural. So is planning for it. Create your personal Care Circle.

The ideal Care Circle is comprised of committed friends and loved ones who are willing to handle you they way you want and support your wishes. And this must be made to known to your main family. Discussing the process openly will be a relief for all concerned, especially for those who will have difficulty coping with your death. A Home Funeral is particularly healing and integrating through such loss.

It is natural to feel loss and grieve deeply. A circle of support helps everyone.

Support your carers by providing them with the guidance of a Thanadoula, Spiritual Care Coach, and Home-Funeral Guide to ease the passage. I will be there with them to compassionately guide them in your bathing, moving, dressing, carrying you, and placing you. Having a guide who has been through it before helps tremendously. See Services.

Have your plan in place and revisit those plans yearly or when health issues give rise to concerns. I can help you craft your plan and communicate it to your chosen Care Circle and your larger circle of carers, which may include clergy, hospice team, social workers, and funeral directors.

Paperwork

Make the paperwork easy for others and reflective of your wishes. Specifics may vary from state to state, but here are some general requirements.

  1. Officially designate, and have notarized a document identifying your “Personal Funeral Director.” This is the person who manages disposition of your body. This is separate from the executor of your will or person with general power of attorney, although it can be the same person. In lieu of this documentation, it will fall to “official next of kin.” Without this in place, the only others legally able to transport your body are certified licensed professionals.This person handles multiple copies of the Death Certificate: one is the permit to transport you in your non-living state, one is left with the cemetery or crematorium handling your body, one is filed with the registrar when the process is completed. Knowing what happened to your body and why is a matter of public record.
  2. Obtain a blank death certificate before it is needed. This can be gotten from Country Registrars and Funeral Directors.
  3. The physician certifies the cause of death and signs the death certificate.
  1. Make sure this accompanies other key documents, which may include a living will, a personal will, an advanced directive, MOLST or POLST, along with a comprehensive listing of all the things anyone would need to clear up your affairs in the way you have planned.

 

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Please Connect with me for a free initial consultation about your needs.