Monday, October 01, 2007

What In The World Is Home Burial?

On my "About Me" page, I listed as one of my varied interests, "Home Burial". One of my friends asked me what it was... was it a Southern, religious, gardening thing?

Well, I was mistaken (no need to look on my "About Me" page, as I've changed it), what I was referring to is "Green" Burial, in conjunction with Home Funeral (see what happens when you don't use WikiPedia, lol?!?)

A green burial is a burial that does not impact the earth in a negative way. The body is (often) not enbalmed, and is laid to rest in the ground in a wooden box, or simply a shroud, often with no marker. The burial grounds are kept looking as natural as possible, the locations of the bodies of loved ones are noted on a map with GPS coordinates, and you wouldn't even know you were in a burial ground.

The first modern "green cemetery" was the Ramsey Creek Preserve in upstate South Carolina. Their goal is to have at least one in every state in the USA. Click here to see locations of green cemeteries in North America.

Home Funeral is exactly that, where the family takes care of the body of their loved one, and prepares it for the final disposition, whatever it may be. This generally is what was done a long time ago, before the advent of the current funeral industry.

From Green Burial Council's site: "What about home funerals?
Home funerals provide an opportunity for enormous cost savings and allow for family members to more easily participate in end of life rituals. Just as the birthing process has evolved away from something that was entirely controlled by the medical profession, home funeral providers are much like "midwives," who assist people in taking matters into their own hands, grieving at their own pace, and having simple services that are appropriate for their own particular needs. Since bodies are typically preserved with dry ice, home funerals are more ecologically sound than those that utilize embalming."

It can be considered a way to create a more intimate funeral, where the family does this as a final act of love toward the person who died, a way to maintain familial privacy, or a way to keep expenses down. The reasons for this are as varied as the families involved.

My interest in this came about after having a few people that I cared about die, and seeing the circus that their funeral became. It seemed so impersonal, because let's face it, you are not the only one who has lost a loved one, the funeral director sees lots of people like you every year... and empathy for profit is like a vegetable left in the soup... boiled for too long, its flavor is thin and tasteless. And then, there is the definite sense of being preyed upon in your hour of distress. All funeral directors are not like this, but there are enough that it is a concern. A lot of this feeling is reduced or eliminated by handling this yourself, so to speak. I haven't finished my research on this yet, so for me, the jury is still out on whether I'd do this or not.

So, there you have it in a nutshell :-). You are welcome to look at the links I've compiled so far in researching this subject.

©2007 LaVeda H. Mason All Rights Reserved.


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