Not a task to be undertaken lightly, a DIY funeral (or, more accurately, a do-it-at-home funeral) can be a very personal experience but also a very difficult process. I suggest that if itis something you wish to do, do it with the help and advice of a good funeral home. I would advise also that this is something you plan ahead for (before the person dies).
A few things to note:
• A body can – and probably will – leak bodily fluids if not properly prepared;• If you wish for the body to be stored at home until the service, the family will need to keep it in a ventilated and cool room;
• A number of factors affect the speed of decomposition, even if the body is kept in a cool place. Be prepared for this;
• Embalming is not a legal requirement (In Ireland) unless the body is leaving the country. However, embalming is sanitary and preserving and allows the body to be presentable for viewing. Only a professional embalmer should do embalming;
• You can make or purchase your own coffin. Walmart and Costco in the US now sell coffins online. In the UK, William Warren (www.williamwarren.co.uk) provides instructions to make a bookcase, called ‘Shelves for Life’, based on your measurements, which can be turned into a coffin upon your death (more on that in a separate post)
• You will have to take care of certain issues that the funeral director typically deals with, such as booking the slot at the crematorium, appointing a priest or another person to deliver the service, arranging transport for the coffin, and grave-digging if a burial is involved;
• You cannot legally bury a body anywhere in Ireland. You must get permission first from your local County Council to do so, and approval from a Health Inspector to avoid human remains from polluting the water systems, etc;
• If you are opting for cremation after the DIY service, check with the crematorium that they will accept the body as you have prepared it. Some crematoriums may have an issue accepting bodies that are not in a coffin bought from an undertaker or arrive other than by hearse.