Home Vigils and End of Life

Within a community context we seek to restore practices around death and dying that celebrate life, restore death care to family and kin, and create a home-based space for vigil practices. Throughout the years, burial rites and traditional ways of internment have been lost through the invention of embalming. Chemically preserving the dead began in the civil war as a temporary war-time measure to bring soldiers home to families for burial. Modern burial practices including the role of a professional mortician developed out of this. From this experience a complicated relationship with death deepened and relationship between within and between cultures deepened.  

Embalming is not required in Minnesota and morticians do not have to be involved in death care as long as certain state laws and policies are adhered to. This information provides a template to navigate home-based death care and creates tangible steps to have a home vigil. Please note, laws around home vigils and green burial vary per state. This guide was created for Minnesota residents. 

The funeral industry allows us the opportunity to be informed consumers. Being aware of alternative burial options promotes a sense of conscious living that can aid in the  change in the world around us. Death vigil training hosted by Anam Cara Therapies/House are available to provide inspiration, support, and guidance through the death aftercare process. It promotes personal and community health, as well as the health of the earth, by performing natural death care and sustainable death practices.

Green Burial Resources

Home Vigil- Legal Instructions

Home Vigil- Body Care Instructions

Home Vigil – Tool Bag Items

Community Roles