NHFA in the News

NHFA in the news

Our organization is often in the news – it’s a big part of what we do. We educate and inform about home funerals. Please send your home funeral news stories to nhfa.news@gmail.com. For media inquiries, please contact one of the following people:

  • Kateyanne Unullisi, 425-753-5016
  • Lee Webster at 603-236-9495
  • Donna Belk at 512-922-8043

Selected news stories

A child kept at home for his funeral in the 1800s. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.“Lee Webster, the president of the National Home Funeral Alliance, is at the forefront of educating the public about home funerals. Along with many other home funeral guides throughout the nation with the same goals, Webster hosts presentations to people of all walks of life to introduce them to this option. Despite the popularity of conventional methods, home funerals are legal in every state.”  A Different Way of Death: Why the Alternative Funeral Movement is Taking Hold in the United States by Kristen Warfield, medium.com, 5-12- 2016

“In the last decade, a small but growing segment of the funeral industry has begun catering to those who want a more natural, intimate end-of-life experience. Home funeral advocates and practitioners link their movement to the home birth, hospice and environmental movements.” Start-Ups Take Rites From the Funeral Home to the Family Home by Claire Martin, New York Times, 1-30-2016

“There is a desire among families for something more authentic, home-grown, “without outsourcing it all”, said Ms Lee Webster, president of the National Home Funeral Alliance (NHFA). She added that a home funeral allows families “to take environmental responsibility by forgoing invasive and toxic procedures… and to make the funeral affordable”.” DIY funeral takes sting out of death for some by Melissa Sim, The Straits Times 12-7-15

hands on a deceased woman with a yellow rose“Her daughter transported her father’s remains in her van. Hospice workers helped prepare the body for services. Smith said she filled out the death report, and where it asked for the funeral director’s signature, she took the advice of Jim Bates, a North Texas-based guide for the National Home Funeral Alliance, and wrote “acting” in the the space and signed her own name. That alone saved her $1,600 to $1,700 in funeral home fees, she said.” Great facts, stories, quotes, photographs and videos. Fort Worth, Arlington families choose home funerals for their loved ones by Robert Cadwallader, Star-Telegram 10-11-2015

“I went out and I held his hand. I said ‘What are you afraid of? This is nothing to be afraid of. This is something you have lived all your life for. This is not the end, this is the beginning… None of us get out of this alive… He died two days later.” Death midwives, home funeral advocates push to take care of loved ones after they die by Katie Dahlstrom, mySuburbanLife.com, 8-3-15

Article about home funerals, "Are We Revolutionizing the Way We Die?"“People are more and more wanting to do death and end of life in their own way, with values that match their own,” Unullisi says. “If you want to be more hands on and take responsibility for your loved one, [NHFA] wants everyone to know that is legal and available.” Are We Revolutionizing the Way We Die? by Katy Rank Lev, Dame Magazine, 4-22-15

“[Sarah] Crews simply wants to “fill the gap between death and final disposition. Addressing that period of time as a community and family is going to lead to a lot of healing in our relationship with death.” Home Funerals: Another way to say goodbye by Tim Unruh, Salina Journal, 3-15-15

Little girl playing in a puddle of water“Home funeral is about being open to using the time between death and disposition to the greatest benefit of survivors and in keeping with the life and desires of the deceased,” she [Webster] said. “It’s about honoring that person and their place in the community with compassion, dignity, simplicity, practicality and meaning.” Alabama Families Explore Alternative Funerals by Lucy Berry, AL Alabama, December 19, 2014

“If you’re caring for those people you love in your home and don’t push them away in some institution, the natural flow of things is to care for them after they passed,” says Heidi Boucher. A Passage to India – Life, Death and the Healing Power of Ritual by Matt Perry, The California Health Report 1-6-14

“A lot of people don’t want to do anything with touching dead bodies,” says Beth Knox. “They consider it creepy. But it can actually be the first step to healing and acceptance of death. Slowing down the process allows all involved to absorb the loss at their own pace. It’s an organic emotional and spiritual healing not available from limited calling hours at a remote location.” Home Funeral Grow As Americans Skip the Mortician For Do-It-Yourself After-Death Care by Jaweed Kaleem, Huffington Post 1-25-13

“The movement toward at-home births has been gaining momentum for years, but what about at-home funerals? There’s a small but growing movement to educate people that they can take care of a loved one at home after death, instead of using a funeral home.” For Some, At-Home Funerals Offer Last Chance for Connection, WGBH News 12-4-13

Coffin covered in floral arrangement“As a measure of how DIY death has flourished…ten years ago there were a handful of (mostly women) around the country helping families learn about home funerals. Now there’s a nationwide organization, the National Home Funeral Alliance, with about 300 members, a code of ethics and rules governing their practices…” Do-It-Yourself Deaths, At-Home Funerals, CommonHealth, WBUR 11-22-13

“My work as a death midwife began as a home funeral guide, one who educates and supports families in caring for their own dead, at home. Most people don’t realize that they have the right to act as the funeral director for their loved one after they die. They don’t have to hire a funeral director. They can care for the body of their loved one at home and hold a wake, or vigil, for up to three or four days until burial or cremation. I guide families in how to prepare the body, bathing, anointing, dressing and creating a sacred space to lay the body “in honor” in the home for viewing.” Rev. Olivia Rose Bareham | Death Midwife, The Moon Magazine 11-7-13

I'm Sorry to Hear website image“Home funerals are on the rise all over the country, and home funeral guides are leading the way. But what is a “home funeral” and what is a “home funeral guide?” I’m Sorry to Hear spoke with National Home Funeral Alliance Vice President and Home Funeral Guide, Lee Webster, to get answers to some of the biggest questions on the topic of home funerals.” The Home Funeral Trend: What Are Home Funerals and What You Need to Know I’m Sorry to Hear 4-9-13

“But more and more often, Americans are deciding to do things differently. After death, but before the final goodbye, they are handling those final moments with their loved ones’ bodies by themselves, with love and care in their own homes.” Bringing Out the Dead At Home, The Takeaway 1-20-13

“In caring for the body of the loved one for the last time, in washing the body for the last time, in having them be present with you after the death for a period of hours, it’s a very different experience than the ‘detaching from’ that we conventionally do, and we can miss out on some important emotional experiences.” At the End of Life: Death Doulas and Home Funerals by Shannon Firth, MEDPAGE TODAY, 4-16-2015