Giving thought to what ceremonies and rituals you would like can be enjoyable. Additionally, preparing what you would like can reduce the stress on loved ones. As with all these decisions, we encourage conversations and planning together.
The Think Ahead Planning Packs include some guidance to questions you might consider; however, this field is currently undergoing massive growth.
In addition to Dying Well at Home, there are many options for how to lovingly care for the body after death, honouring the life of the dead and the grief of the living.
A Living Wake
This option is for those still living, who would rather have a celebration of life while they are alive to witness and partake in it. Sometimes, this happens close to a person’s death, and offers family and friends the chance to say goodbye. At other times, this might take as a themed birthday party, for instance. At the Living Wake, an individual can choose some, all, or none of the traditional funeral rituals to partake in, such as prayers, eulogies, or greeting one another as in a removal service.
An Overnight Wake
Following a death at home, many people will remain overnight and into the next day before someone from the funeral home arrives. During this time, the family or carers may host a small gathering to spend some final hours with their loved one.
A Home Vigil
Increasingly, people are choosing not to send their loved one to a funeral home, but to keep them at home. The body of a person can remain at home for up to three days before burial or cremation. During this time, families can wash the body of their loved one, dress them in favourite clothes, and create a special place around the person for themselves and visitors to have some extra time together.
A Home Funeral
If your space allows it, you can host a funeral in your own home or garden. Planning for this may require additional resources. If you would prefer a home funeral, we suggest you start planning while living.
Outside the Home
Working with a funeral home is the most frequently used service in Ireland. Funeral homes will guide you step-by-step through a traditional service, including transportation and preparation of the body, arranging services with place of worship, burial, or cremation.
It is sometimes possible to organize elements of your funeral through a funeral home beforehand.
With particular attention to the loss of funeral gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a remembrance event may be of special significance. Funeral events planners can help to create remembrance events that are special to a loved one.
A Note on Embalming
Embalming preserves the body with formaldehyde after death. It is general practice to embalm bodies in a funeral home, however it is not required. You may choose not to be embalmed. If that is your wish, it is recommended that you are explicit about that choice in your Personal Wishes and Care Plan.