“I was uncertain about coming today but once I arrived, that changed”
A woman approached at a recent home vigil and told me that she had some reservations upon arrival. Like most of us, she had never been to a home vigil and was uncertain about what she would see or how she would feel. She went on to share that she was deeply moved by the beauty and connection she felt when she was in the vigil room. How comforting and normal it was to see her friend in the home that she loved;surrounded by her family and friends.
“I remember my Grandmother’s Home Funeral”
I hear from people who attended a home vigil for their grandparent when they were very young and still remember it. In North America, up until the mid nineteenth century, all families cared for the dead at home. Family members and friends would come over to bathe, dress and then lay their loved one out for viewing in the parlor or favorite room.It was a community led response to death and a normal part of life.
“The home vigil was very moving and beautiful, and one of the best things I’ve experienced”
Home vigils invite us to be a part of the experience. From setting up the vigil room,preparing food for family and visitors, setting up an altar, sacred body washing and anointing, singing music and sharing memories, we are invited to be a part of something deeply human and we remember. We remember that we know how to care for our dead, to care for each other and to be moved and touched by death.
*As a Home Vigil Guide I educate and empower families to handle the after-death carethemselves as MN state law allows. I charge for educational and consultative servicesonly; all voluntary services are performed free of charge and at the request of thefamily. As a guide I do not arrange funerals but support the family in their own efforts toplan and make connections to goods and services.