When it comes to death, dying and funeral arrangements, there really is no one-size-fits-all approach. As we reinvent funerals and start to talk openly about death, more options are becoming available for how we farewell our loved ones. A home vigil is one such option. Although not suitable for all families, a home vigil is an opportunity to come to terms with loss and care for a loved one before we farewell them and begin to let go.

What Is A Home Vigil?

A home vigil is a hands-on approach to death. It’s very much about embracing the reality of death, caring from the body and playing an active part in the transition from life to death. Vigils can take place at home or in a hospital and last from a few hours up to 3 days. It’s entirely up to you to create the experience you need, and this family-led component is one of the most beautiful aspects of a home vigil. 

Every home vigil is different and can include any or all of the following:

  • Holding the hand of your loved one
  • Quiet reflection
  • Talking
  • Sitting beside them for hours or days
  • Transition party with friends and family
  • Washing and dressing your loved one

After the vigil is over, you can make funeral arrangements with your local funeral home. 

Benefits Of Home Vigils 

Home vigils can be particularly comforting for those who have lost someone quickly. Having the opportunity to spend time with a loved one who has been taken from us suddenly can help us accept their death and start the grieving process.

Other benefits of home vigils include:

  • Helps us to process the reality of our loved one’s death
  • Slows everything down and eases the shock of death
  • Assists in the healing process by giving us the chance to perform caring acts for our loved one
  • Normalises death

Home Vigils can also provide comfort to a dying person. Knowing that our body will be cared for by our loved ones is a nice thought that can help ease any fear we may have of the unknown.