Cutting Corners: Do-It-Yourself Funerals

December 11, 2009
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imageGoing off of the article I wrote yesterday “The Funeral Industry Is Dying, Now What?”, I bring you the following article. It is just another example of people not finding value in the funeral service and wanting to try to handle the entire death process on there own. I say this all the time, but funeral directors are so unappericated and they just cannot be replaced. I feel for the families that think they can do it without a funeral professional, because they will never be able to fully grieve as they will be doing all the responsibilities that would normally be handled by a funeral professional. I look forward to reading your comments.

Cutting Corners: Do-It-Yourself Funerals

What if you could pay your last respects to someone who died and never step foot in a funeral home? Whether due to the economy or environmental reasons, do-it-yourself funerals are a growing trend.

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Imagine having a funeral in your own home. It’s becoming a reality; people are learning how to assist others in preparing loved ones for a home funeral and green burial.

Years ago, home funerals were common; it’s slowly making a comeback as part of a growing movement where people are taking a more hands-on approach to death.

Keeping a body at home is a perfectly legal option and embalming isn’t required. Many people are unaware of that and the options it offers.

When Penny Rhodes father passed away, there was no fancy casket, no funeral home, just a family coming together to say goodbye to a man who was dearly loved. “He never left his bed until our family put him in a box that we had decorated,” Penny said.

Penny explained that in the case of her father’s home funeral, “All we did was turn up the air conditioner, we could have used dry ice, but the room was really cold.” She added, “I took him to a local graveyard where he could have a green burial. He didn’t have a vault or anything like that.”

Penny and her husband Antonio have similar plans for themselves. They plan to be buried on their farm overlooking the rolling hills of Berks County.

Donna Larsen, a home funeral guide, says some prefer home funerals and green burials because they feel a simpler, environmentally-sound burial better reflects the life they lived.

Cost can be a factor as well. Most traditional funeral and burial services can be expensive, on average $7,000 to $8,000. But they don’t have to be so costly.

“There are options to lessen that, cremation, green funeral, viewing at home and each circumstance is different,” says Bob Fertig.

Bob and his wife Denise operate a funeral home in Mullica Hill, New Jersey that offers green burial services. The Fertigs say there are many things you can do to reduce the cost of a funeral.

A home viewing takes away the cost of a funeral home. An affordable casket, a pine box, runs around $500. So some forego a coffin altogether in favor of being buried in something simpler, like a shroud.

“The idea of green burial is to allow the body to return to the earth,” Denise explained

“People find it very comforting and cathartic to have hands on with any part of the service for their loved ones,” says Denise.

It certainly worked for Penny’s family. “I haven’t heard anyone say ‘I’m sorry we had a home funeral.'”

Laws differ from area to area, on where someone can be buried, so you really need to do advance research if you’re thinking of using your own property. As far as home viewing is concerned, there are very few restrictions; again, though, don’t wait until the last minute to plan if you’re considering that option.

Source: Miami CBS Affiliate

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