Rev. Olivia Bareham, founder of Sacred Crossings is a certified Death Midwife, Home Funeral Guide and Celebrant. She currently guides individuals toward a natural, conscious dying experience and supports families in reclaiming the lost art and healing ritual of a home funeral.
Ancient texts cite the three days following death as having significant meaning for the deceased. Christ was three days in the tomb before ‘rising from the dead’ and Buddhists believe that to touch or move the body for three days after death will interfere with the subtle body’s separation from the physical. Over the past decade, Olivia has assisted over 200 families with the preparation and care of their loved-one for the three-day home vigil and can attest to the profound benefits to family, the community, and possibly the deceased themselves.
In her powerfully illustrated presentation, Olivia outlines the benefits, legalities, and logistics of natural, home-based, after death care. Whether one dies at home on hospice, or unexpectedly in a hospital, the family has the right to take the body home and care for it according to cultural and religious customs and to begin the grieving process in private:
“At the event of death and for a few days following, there is a window of opportunity for great healing to occur. When the funeral home is called in to undertake the care of the body, very often this window is silently and permanently closed, families are left feeling helpless, unsure and wishing that they had a little more time.”
In an effort to keep this window open, Olivia founded Sacred Crossings – The Institute for Conscious Dying and Family-Directed Funerals and began facilitating The Art of Death Midwifery Training program. Sacred Crossings has recently expanded to include the nation’s first alternative funeral home owned and operated entirely by certified death midwives. The Sacred Crossings Funeral Home in Los Angeles offers home-based, sacred and cost effective alternatives to traditional funeral home practices.
Rev. Olivia holds bachelor’s degrees in Education and Natural Theology and Sacred Healing and is an ordained Interfaith Minister. She is a writer, producer and public speaker and an active member of the National Home Funeral Alliance.