Death Become Us, Part 2

"Still Life with Skull", a flower, a skull and an hourglass stand for Life, Death and Time in this 17th-century painting by Philippe de Champaigne.


Death is called the greatest of equalizers -- the greatest of mysteries. At one time we tended to our dead with home funerals and mourning rituals. But, over the last century death has been outsourced to mortuary professionals. Now multinational chains are buying up mom-and-pop operations, offering package deals on funerals. However, the corporatization of death is being challenged: death midwives are returning care of the dead to families by helping us face death and aiding families in arranging intimate home funerals. In Part 2 of Death Becomes Us, IDEAS producer Mary O'Connell explores these diverging trends.

Listen to Part 1 of Death Becomes Us

Participants in the program:

Kory McGrath, licensed funeral director, student midwife, Bowmanville, Ontario.

Jerrigrace Lyons, home funeral guide, director/founder of Final Passages in Sebastopol, California.

Cassandra Yonder, death midwife, North River, Cape Breton.

Dr. Hannah Rumble, teaching fellow, Anthropology Department, University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Josh Slocum, executive-director of Funeral Consumers Alliance, South Burlington, Vermont.

Jennie Morrow, artist. Cape St. Mary's, Nova Scotia.

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