NPR logo Caring For Your Dead

Caring For Your Dead

I read an article a couple of days ago that I just can't get out of my head — "The Surprising Satisfactions of a Home Funeral" on the Smithsonian site*. Max Alexander's father-in-law and father died in quick succession in late 2007. One, his father-in-law, merely requested simplicity. His father, on the other hand, had elaborate plans for his funeral, from the Sinatra song he wanted played to the inscription on his headstone. For his father-in-law, the family opted for a home funeral. Max and his son built the coffin, and when Bob Baldwin passed away, Max and his wife and her sister cared for his body. Days later, when Max's father Jim died, Max couldn't see Jim till after he was embalmed, and was struck by the differences in the two passings.

I could tell you that sorting out the details of these two dead fathers taught me a lot about life, which is true. But what I really want to share is that dead bodies are perfectly OK to be around, for a while.

It's a profoundly affecting article, and Max will also tell his story on our air today. I just wanted to give the article that moved me so much a little more time to sit with all of you. Read it, if you're so inclined, and tune in at 3 EDT to hear more from Max.

*Credit to the Ideas Blog for leading me to it!