Interviews available with families whose stories are featured on the site
Washington Funeral Resources & Education, a new non-commercial, public interest website launches this month. Dedicated to providing Washingtonians with information about their legal rights and resources when death occurs, WashingtonFuneral.org helps Washington consumers care for their own dead with or without the assistance of a funeral director. The website is for anyone wishing to avoid unnecessary expenditures for funeral products and services they don’t want or need, and for those wanting to explore the continuum of hands-on after-death care options, including home funerals and green burial. The site is being lauded by medical and funeral industry professionals as a much-needed resource for both families and professionals.
In Washington State, no one is required to purchase the services of a funeral director or funeral home when a death occurs. Under Washington law, families may conduct many or all tasks commonly performed by a funeral home. Many people don’t know about the rights of families to care for their dead—even many first responders, care facilities, and funeral industry pros.
Dr. Allie Massaro describes the website as “a remarkable resource” and says, “I plan to share it with our social workers and my physician colleagues, as we often lack information as to how to guide families through non-traditional processes."
Hospital nurse Rebecca Peace, who reviewed the site for accuracy, says: “As an Emergency Room Nurse, I too often see families shuffled into the process of funeral homes and traditional burial without being offered any alternatives. Washington Funeral Resources and Education offers families access to information about their full range of options. The website is an excellent resource for both staff and patients as they navigate the incredibly difficult decisions in a vulnerable time after a loved one has died. I will be proud to offer families this information source, especially for those wishing to consider a home funeral or a green burial.”
The information site is modeled off of Oregon Funeral Resources & Education, which has been conducting professional education in-service trainings since it launched in 2019. Jenny McIntyre, MSW, worked for a major hospital system in Oregon before relocating to Washington. She says: “As a hospice social worker, I was lucky to attend an in-service you presented at my last agency in Oregon. When I moved to Washington, I had zero luck finding anything online regarding family options for after-death care. I am grateful to see this new website launched to support families in their full range of choices.”
WASHINGTONIANS’ RIGHTS WHEN DEATH OCCURS Under Washington law, families may conduct many or all tasks commonly performed by a funeral home. In Washington no one is required to purchase the services of a funeral director or funeral home when a death occurs.
THE REAL PEOPLE’S STORIES BEHIND THE WEBSITE The legal and practical information on the website is illustrated by a range of stories told by Washingtonians who handled all or part of the care for their dead:
After Heather's near-death as a baby, her mother made preparing for her death a healthy part of their life.
Jake's engagement with the details of his death was a powerful gift he gave those who performed his home funeral and burial.
After her husband’s hospital death, Sharon brought Rich home for a three-day vigil with their community.
Alicia and Derek kept Baby Burton home after his death for "the most meaningful time" in their lives.
Briar, whose friends memorialized her with a joyous water ballet, donated her body to help legalize natural organic reduction.
Karen served as funeral director for her father, who was buried at White Eagle in a casket built by a friend.
Lashanna's story illustrates the dimensions of community death care, from education and advocacy to guidance and financial support.
MORE ABOUT THE SITE Washington Funeral Resources and Education @ WashingtonFuneral.org is a non-commercial public interest website dedicated to helping Washington consumers care for their own dead with or without the assistance of a funeral director. The site is provided as a public service by White Eagle Memorial Preserve and Sacred Earth Foundation in Goldendale, which coordinates response to inquiries with other Washington-based organizations and practitioners that support the mission of the site. Like its Oregon predecessor, Washington Funeral Resources and Education is based on the New Hampshire Funeral Resources & Education website concept developed by Lee Webster and is expected to serve as a model for replication in other states.
Landscape photos courtesy of Sean Proll Justin Craig All Rights Reserved
Washington Funeral Resources and Education is a non-commercial public interest site dedicated to helping Washington consumers care for their own dead with or without the assistance of a funeral director. See FuneralPartnership.org for more state funeral information. This site is maintained as a project of White Eagle Memorial Preserve and Sacred Earth Foundation, which coordinates responses to inquiries with other Washington-based organizations and practitioners that support the mission of the Funeral Partnership.
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