Community-Led Death Care
We are a group of volunteers who are ready, on short notice, to provide practical and emotional support to those approaching or navigating death. In the past, communities cared for their own at death, simply & naturally. Death was a part of life, and death care shared by friends and neighbours. We are your friends and neighbours, knowledgeable, willing and able to lend helping hands.
Many people are not aware that in British Columbia it is legal to care for a body at home. Family and friends are allowed to sit with, wash, dress, and otherwise tend to the body. They can build a casket, make funeral arrangements, and transport the body to the graveyard or crematorium. Participating in these tasks and accompanying a body right to the end can be enriching. If this is a choice you would like to make for yourself or a loved one, it would be our honour to guide and support you.
For assistance, or to learn more about this service, please be in touch. A Coordinator will work with you to determine the type of help needed and make arrangements with the volunteers.
Email us at [email protected]
It is while people are healthy, competent and alive that the best decisions can be made.
If A Death Has Occurred
If you have experienced a recent loss, you may be feeling a myriad of intense emotions that are all difficult. We care. This is likely a challenging time to make decisions.
We offer this guidance:
Take your time. If you have the opportunity, spend time with the body of your loved one. Do not rush or allow yourself to be rushed; this time is precious.If the loved one died in a hospital, hospice or care facility, it could be wise to request that you be allowed to wash and prepare the body at the facility. Close the eyes and mouth.Decisions need to be made, but do not rush into them.Know that you have people here on the island, your friends and neighbours, who are trained and can help. Email us at [email protected]. You can expect a quick response.As you Make Decisions (see next section), think about how they line up with your values.Volunteers can help with: decisions and arrangements, support, legal documentation requirements, caring for the body, transportation, and lifting/moving.If you want or need to use a funeral home and would also like to do some things yourself, select a flexible funeral home that will accommodate your requests.The Decisions Checklist can be a useful tool.
Would you like to spend time with the body?If the person died at home, would you like to keep the body in the home where it can be prepared for burial or cremation?If the person died in a hospital or care facility, would you like the body brought home, where loved ones can tend to it?Is there someone who would be honoured to build a casket?Did the deceased value local and environmentally sensitive choices?Would you like to accompany the body all the way to burial or cremation?
Any of these questions, when answered affirmatively, are considered alternative approaches. Know that we are here to assist you with these.
Intention and ScopePersonal Death Care PlanningChecklist of Decisions Regarding My DeathDocumentation Required When a Death OccursEnd-of-Life Planning WorkbookHelpful documents for preparing your Advance Care PlanVisit Nidus.ca - a charity that has helped thousands of people make and register Representation Agreements and learn about other legal planning documents
"We are all just walking each other home"
- Ram Dass