It’s legal to care for your own

Charles 2 Comments

Kimberlyrenee Gamboa’s son Kyle took his own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in September, three weeks into his senior year in high school.

A seemingly happy 18-year-old with lots of friends and into competitive lasertag, Kyle’s death was such a shock, his mother said, she doesn’t know how she’d have managed it through a typical funeral.

Instead, with help from her church and and home death guide, Heidi Boucher, Kyle’s body was returned to the family home one day after his death. Boucher washed Kyle and helped arrange the body on dry ice changed every 24 hours; she gathered information to fill out Kyle’s death certificate and managed all coordination with the mortuary. For three full days, Kyle’s body lay in the family living room in an open casket, not embalmed. During that time, day and night, surrounded by pictures and candles and flowers, all of his friends and family could say good-bye and remember his short life. For Kyle’s mother, that time was critical to her healing.



  1. Charles

    When I’ve been scrolling down recent posts here, I’ve dwelt on this one a few times without commenting. As both a guest blogger and regular reader, I wish I had, just as I wish more people commented generally, whether airing positive or negative opinion about a given post.

    The image of Kyle Gamboa is somewhat mesmerising, and not just because we learn from reading about the tragedy of teen suicide or that he lay on dry ice, at home, in an open coffin, not embalmed. I’ve never seen a dead body look so alive, as if sleeping, mouth slightly open, arms relaxed. What’s transfixing is that we can read emotion in his face. He seems at peace, yet there’s a hint of anguish as he’s having a restless dream. Nothing too discomforting, just real, not airbrushed.

    Googling his name, we learn his parents are now campaigning for barriers to make it harder to commit suicide at San Fancisco’s Golden Gate Bridge; that he was buried, not cremated; that he was a popular kid and a lasertag champ; that family and friends had no inkling he would do what he did; that he’s survived not just by parents but by grandparents and a great-grandmother.

    As Ru once said beneath another post, it’s ‘beautiful and sad and sadly beautiful’. May God be with you, Kyle and family.

    1. Charles

      I also googled Kyle’s name after finding this image on another website about home funerals. I’ve seen a lot of dead bodies, but this is certainly one of the more peaceful ones. I’m glad that Kyle’s family was able to have that time to say goodbye and begin their grieving. Bless.

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