Cover image for Reimagining death : stories and practical wisdom for home funerals and green burials / Lucinda Herring ; foreword by David Spangler.
Title:
Reimagining death : stories and practical wisdom for home funerals and green burials / Lucinda Herring ; foreword by David Spangler.
ISBN:
9781623172923
Publication Information:
Berkeley : North Atlantic Books, [2019]

©2019
Physical Description:
xix, 272 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations ; 23 cm
Abstract:
"For all those seeking to reclaim their innate and legal right to care for their own dead, create home funeral vigils, and choose greener after-death care options that are less toxic and more sustainable for the earth More natural after-death care options are transforming the paradigm of the existing funeral industry, helping families and communities recover their instinctive capacity to care for a loved one after death and do so in creative, nourishing, and healing ways. In reclaiming these practices and creating new, innovative options, we are greening the gateway of death and returning home to ourselves, our bodies, and the earth. Lucinda Herring reminds us of the sacredness of death itself; her compelling stories, poetry, and guidance come from years of experience as a home funeral/green burial consultant and licensed funeral director dedicated to more natural and healing death practices. In Reimagining Death she shares with readers her experience caring for her own mother after death. Through storytelling and resources Herring also reveals to families the gifts of partnering with nature, home funeral vigils, sacred care at death, conscious dying (through the story of a Death with Dignity with accompanying photos of one man's planned death and after-death care), bringing laughter and a greater lightness of being to death, natural burials, and emerging eco-conscious dispositions. A valuable resource in planning for all deaths in all circumstances (with a chapter on what to do when a death occurs outside of the home), this book also guides readers on how to create an advance after-death care directive"-- Provided by publisher.
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Summary

Summary

More natural after-death care options are transforming the paradigm of the existing funeral industry, helping families and communities recover their instinctive capacity to care for a loved one after death and do so in creative, nourishing, and healing ways. In reclaiming these practices and creating new, innovative options, we are greening the gateway of death and returning home to ourselves, our bodies, and the earth. Lucinda Herring reminds us of the sacredness of death itself; her compelling stories, poetry, and guidance come from years of experience as a home funeral/green burial consultant and licensed funeral director dedicated to more natural and healing death practices. In Reimagining Death she shares with readers her experience caring for her own mother after death. Through storytelling and resources Herring also reveals to families the gifts of partnering with nature, home funeral vigils, sacred care at death, conscious dying (through the story of a Death with Dignity with accompanying photos of one man's planned death and after-death care), bringing laughter and a greater lightness of being to death, natural burials, and emerging eco-conscous dispositions. A valuable resource in planning for all deaths in all circumstances (with a chapter on what to do when a death occurs outside of the home), this book also guides readers on how to create an advance after-death care directive.


Author Notes

LUCINDA HERRING has worked at the cutting edge of the green funeral movement for over twenty years, beginning with others in the 1990s to quietly care for loved ones after death and going on to become one of the leading voices for more healing and ecological ways to care for our dead. Herring is a licensed funeral director and runs Thresholds Consulting and Ministry. She also regularly speaks about her work and offers advance after-death care planning, home funeral/green disposition education and trainings, and celebrant/ministerial services for families and communities who are reclaiming their innate right to care for each other and the earth at the end of life.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Funeral consultant Herring urges readers to shun the impersonal, environmentally taxing approach of modern death in her stimulating debut. She draws from a highly syncretic new age approach to highlight the positive impact of vigils, caring for one's own dead, and green burial practices. Opening the book with the death of her own mother, Herring writes of having to coax her resistant father and siblings to have a funeral service in their home. She shares stories of clients and friends who have buried loved ones without using traditional funeral arrangements, including a Tibetan Buddhist with exacting preparation requirements. Herring also includes an affecting story of a home vigil for a young woman who died in a car crash. The range of traditions, approaches, and styles Herring describes attests to the versatility of home funerals, and the practical information at the end of each chapter guides readers through, for instance, the legalities of transporting bodies, the least environmentally harmful body disposal methods, and how one can prepare for the end of life. With clear advice and reasoning, Herring helpfully nudges readers toward less clinical, more personal, and more active planning for the deaths of their loved ones and themselves. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Interfaith minister and licensed funeral director Herring has become a champion of ecological ways to care for the dead. Here she presents stories, photographs, and plans for home vigils and natural burials that affirm contributions to a healthier, more harmonious life. Beyond discussing the practicalities of a funeral/burial, Herring asks readers to consider envisioning the time between death and cremation/burial and how they would like their own bodies and souls to be treated. The chapter on conducting home vigils is particularly thought provoking. VERDICT Recommended for all readers but especially those whose loved ones are facing death in the near future. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

David Spangler
Illustrationsp. ix
Forewordp. xv
Prologue: The Callingp. 1
Practical Wisdom: Home Funerals Lost and Foundp. 10
Chapter 1 Return to the Motherp. 17
Practical Wisdom: Discerning if a Home Funeral Vigil Is Right for Youp. 48
Chapter 2 Greening the Gateway of Deathp. 51
Practical Wisdom: Choosing a Home Funeral: What You Need to Knowp. 73
Chapter 3 Partnering with Nature When We Diep. 81
Practical Wisdom: Co-Creating with Nature: An Explorationp. 96
Chapter 4 "Bury Me Naturally": Stones and Guidance for Green Burialsp. 105
Practical Wisdom: Natural and Unnatural Burial Practicesp. 123
Chapter 5 "You're Dead. Now What?" Humor and Laughter at the Thresholdp. 133
Practical Wisdom: Helpful Field Notesp. 142
Chapter 6 Sacred Care of the Deadp. 147
Practical Wisdom: Discovering Your Own Wayp. 157
Chapter 7 When We Die in the Hospital: Field Notes for Finding Our Way Homep. 169
Practical Wisdom: Navigating Hospital Policiesp. 173
Chapter 8 Conscious Dying: A Death with Dignityp. 181
Practical Wisdom: Making the Choice: What You Need to Knowp. 197
Chapter 9 Reimagmmg the Future in Ecological After-Death Carep. 201
Practical Wisdom: The Environmental Cost of Cremationp. 210
Chapter 10 Be Prepared: Creating a Plan with Family and Friendsp. 221
Practical Wisdom: Advance After-Death Care Directivesp. 227
Epiloguep. 235
Resourcesp. 241
Appendix A The Three Stages of Death's Thresholdp. 255
Appendix B Being a Home Funeral Vigil Case Managerp. 259
Indexp. 261
Acknowledgmentsp. 267
About the Authorp. 271
Contributorsp. 271