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A Path Home
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A Path Home

Author: National Home Funeral Alliance

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What is a home funeral? How can I have a green burial? Do I have to hire a Funeral Director? On this podcast we’ll be focusing on reclaiming our innate right to care for our own loved ones at death in natural, and often, environmentally friendly ways. We’ll demystify the tasks related to after death care through hearing stories from people who have ventured into culturally unfamiliar territory and cared for their own deceased loved ones at home, chose a natural burial or both. Hearing what’s possible and how lives have been transformed by engaging in this final act of love is one path towards changing our culture and our relationship to death. A Path Home is a production of the National Home Funeral Alliance.
67 Episodes
Today I have a conversation with Lauren Sample about the home funeral and natural burial her family held for her daughter Nora, nicknamed "Bird," and the many final acts of love provided to Bird in her last hours of living and following her death.Support the show
On today's episode I have a conversation with Dr. Annetta Mallon, founder of Gentle Death Education and Planning, in Tasmania. We talk about her work in the community and the state of green burial in Australia. For more information on Annetta's work, click here: the show
On this episode I talk with Margaret Henderson and Robin Cottrell in Ukiah, California. The two serve as death midwives and home funeral guides in their community.  They are also singers and members of a Threshold Choir who bring songs to the bedside of terminally ill people. For more information on Threshold Choir see here: mentions Redwing Keyssar's book called Last Acts of Kindness. Find it here: the show
Precious Bird

Precious Bird


A call to listeners to reach out and share their stories, followed by Sarah's original song, Precious Bird, in honor of her friend Puja.Precious Bird is Sarah Crews on guitar and vocals.Tim Crews on mandolin.Support the show
On this episode, Sarah has a conversation with sisters, Lucinda, Maud and Cecily in Ashland, Oregon. The three of them share the story of creating a home funeral for their mother, former Civil Rights attorney turned Oracle, Ann Macrory. Watch the video of Ann's home funeral here: Conservation Burial Ground: the show
A Soft Place to Land

A Soft Place to Land


Today I have a conversation with Donna Vidam about a home funeral she created for her mom, Janet. In 2020, Janet was hospitalized when it became clear that she wouldn't recover, so Donna made the choice to bring her home to die there. Following Janet's death, Donna with the help of Janet's best friends, cared for her body at home and invited friends and neighbors over to pay their respects.Support the show
Today I have a conversation about grief with Sarah Hines. Based in Canada, Sarah has founded The Lodge Project where she and her team, coach the leadership of organizations and corporations to respond to grief compassionately and include grief support and awareness in the culture of their companies. Sarah acknowledges that a well lived life must include grief. the show
On this episode Sarah has a conversation with Walt Patrick, the steward of Herland Forest in Washington State, a natural burial ground and licensed human composting facility, (also called natural organic reduction) and Elizabeth Fournier, a progressive funeral director and author of the The Green Burial Guidebook, who often works with Walt. Today they share with us what a “laying in” ceremony for a natural organic reduction entails at Herland Forest. “Laying in” is the first part of the process, literally placing the body in the composting cradle. the show
Holding Hands

Holding Hands


Today I have a conversation with Karry Sawatsky. She shares with us the story of her grandfather’s death and how she supported her grandmother throughout the process. Karry is a full-time death doula and founder of Modern Deathcare. She works with adult-children and spouses supporting a dear one with a life limiting illness and is launching The Life and Death Academy death doula training program in January.  Karry’s own challenging experiences with the death of several loved ones called her to this vocation.  Here is the link to Karry's website: and follow her on Instagram @moderndeathcare Support the show
Today I have a conversation with Karen van Vuuren, founder of the educational non-profit, Natural Transitions, a founding member of the NHFA, and co-founder of The Natural Funeral in Lafayette, Colorado. Karen has been an integral part of the natural death care movement for more than 20 years. She is also an award-winning documentary film maker of two movies, Dying Wish and Go In Peace (links below). In this episode we discuss the unexpected way that she got started on this path. the show
Jen's Last Ceremony

Jen's Last Ceremony


Today I have a conversation with Darshan Stevens on Cortes Island in British Columbia. Darshan and her mother, Jennifer, lived on the same property when Jen was diagnosed with cancer. For two years they navigated her cancer treatments. In the end, Jen chose MAID, Medical Assistance In Dying. Darshan shares the story of her mum's dying, death, the after-death care and the natural burial that they and the family co-created along with the help of the community-led death care collective on the island. the show
In early December, 2021, Adrienne Parker discovered that her oldest child, Brandyn, had died in his car.  Brandyn's life had been caught in a cycle of mental illness and incarceration, resulting in his being homeless and living in his car.  His body needed to be examined by the coroner before Adrienne, with the help of her friend, Rebecca, had him brought back home to be cared for there by his loving family.Support the show
Today we hear from two members of the Arizona Community Death Care collective, Dani LaVoire and Jade Sherer. This is another episode that will be of interest to those listeners who are either already engaged in or just beginning to form community groups. If you have any questions for the AZ collective you can reach out to them here: website for White Eagle Memorial Preserve is here: to learn more about Jade's offerings check out these beautiful pages: the show
Sarah is joined by Angela and Michael Franklin, founders of Crossroads Community DeathCare, for an in-depth conversation on how engaging in community led death care has the potential to shift the culture around dying and death. To find out more about what they offer, find them on Facebook: and Instagram: the show
Tim Johnson shares the story of choosing to care for his dad at home, and his journey getting there through the stories of two other significant deaths in the family. To see Debbie Wagner's art work click here: the show
On this episode Sarah has a conversation with three members of a community led death care group in Canada. They share the touching story of bringing Gypsy's son, Andrew, home to the island to care for his body and lay him to rest in a natural burial.Here is the link to the article: the Community-Led Death Care group: the show
Lola in the Garden

Lola in the Garden


Sarah has a conversation with North Carolina based singer songwriter Laurelyn Dossett who shares the story of the burial she and her brothers provided for their mother in a hand crafted wooden box in Laurelyn’s garden.Here's the link to her piece,  A Family Project, in The Bitter Southerner: out more about Laurelyn and her music here: Support the show
Today I have a conversation with Kelly Parker. Kelly’s husband Rick Robson died in late January and was buried at Heart Land Prairie Cemetery earlier this month. Rick had determined that he wanted to have a green burial and sent an email to me through the cemetery website inquiring about building his own casket. Over the course of the next few months, Kelly and Rick, educated themselves about the logistics and legalities of home funeral practice. They ultimately decided that not only would he have a natural burial in a homemade casket, but that Kelly, along with their family and the support of their community of friends and hospice would make all the arrangements, care for his body themselves, and keep him in the home he designed and built with Kelly until it was time for the burial.Support the show
Threshold Care Circle

Threshold Care Circle


Today I have a conversation with four members of the Threshold Care Circle in Viroqua, Wisconsin; Charlene Elderkin, Susan Nesbitt, Kelly Whited-Ford, and Tracy Mangold. Threshold Care Circle began as a community death care collective in 2006. On this episode, we’ll hear how they got started and eventually evolved into an educational 501c3 providing workshops, death care support and advocating for green burial. the show
Emily Miller shares her experience of opening Colorado's first dedicated green burial ground, Colorado Burial Preserve. the show
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