PBS Premiere: June 24, 2013Check the broadcast schedule »

Take Action

Convene a family meeting to discuss what will happen in the event that a family member dies. Let each family member write out his or her wishes in terms of the funeral ritual and make sure you all understand one another's instructions. If applicable, plan how funeral expenses will be covered.

Hold a study session or series on what your faith tradition or philosophical belief system teaches about death and dying.

Isaiah Owens explains that he sees patterns in causes of death: "In the Eighties, you had... If it was 10 people downstairs that had died, there were probably four homicides, four people or five people with AIDS. Now, most of the people that come are people that die from natural causes. Heart problems, cancer, hypertension--especially in our community. We have a lot of death from strokes." Survey the funeral homes in your area to determine current patterns. Based on what you find, create a public health campaign to educate people about prevention measures they could take.

Train as a hospice volunteer or shadow an undertaker and learn more about what he or she does to ease the transition from life into death.

Homegoings is one story of many about funeral traditions and POV wants to share all of the traditions of the cultures that make up America. Contribute your family's stories for an opportunity to be included in a national database. Share unique ways your culture honors those who've passed.