Bringing Life to Death: Green and Holistic Funeral ChoicesJune 18th, 2021
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About The Presentation
What do water cremation (a new ecological cremation process technically known as alkaline hydrolysis) and Reverent Body Care™ have in common? You may not have heard of either, but these choices are part of the changing landscape of funeral care. Both water cremation and Reverent Body Care™ can bring meaning and healing to the families who choose them at death. Water cremation appeals because it allows us to leave a positive legacy to Mother Earth. Alkaline hydrolysis uses far fewer resources than conventional burial or flame cremation, and transforms our bodies into a blessed fertilizer for the soil. Reverent Body Care™ is an age-old ceremony in which we connect with our departed one in a loving ritual of washing, anointing, and honoring the physical remains.
Karen van Vuuren and Seth Viddal are co-founders of The Natural Funeral, Colorado’s first holistic funeral home that is leading the way in funerary innovation. The Natural Funeral was the first funeral home in Colorado to have a client select water cremation. van Vuuren and Viddal will share some of the profound stories of families who have chosen water cremation and Reverent Body Care™ and illuminate more of the myriad ways that a somewhat moribund funeral industry is feeling the winds of change.
About the Presenters
Karen van Vuuren is a former journalist who is co-founder of Colorado’s first holistic funeral home, The Natural Funeral (thenaturalfuneral.com) located in Lafayette. Twenty years ago, Karen founded a non-profit, Natural Transitions to provide education about holistic and natural end-of-life choices, including green and natural death care. For ten years, she edited the organization’s magazine, led regular workshops, and was co-founder of the National Home Funeral Alliance (homefuneralalliance.org). Karen is also a documentary-maker whose award-winning hospice films are Dying Wish (dyingwishmedia.com) about a dying doctor’s decision to stop eating and drinking) and Go In Peace (goinpeacefilm.org) about supporting caregivers working with terminally ill veterans with PTSD.
Seth Viddal began his career as an intelligence communications specialist in the Air Force before working in the field of information technology in the private sector. He spent a decade consulting on wide area networks for intelligence community deployments before shifting careers and founding a real estate development company and then a commercial and industrial construction firm.
Seth’s life took another turn when his younger brother Sam completed suicide In 2015 and his mother died suddenly and unexpectedly in early 2016. He sold his businesses and went back to school to study end-of-life care, environmentalism, and social justice issues with a dream of creating a nature-based hospice service in Boulder County. An internship at The Natural Funeral in 2019 during his final semester at Naropa revealed a match made in heaven. Now he gets to do his favorite things: love endlessly on his family and community, bring environmental innovation and compassionate death care to clients, and nurture mission-driven businesses to maturity.