My Grandma died when I was 21. Her death was sudden and shocking. She had not left behind any concrete wishes for what she wanted to have happen with her remains. We bounced from wanting to have her cremated, to wanting a traditional burial, back to having her cremated. She had put no planned funeral in place prior to her passing.
The next few years had a few more sudden deaths. No one had informed anyone of what they wished to have happen with their remains. The immediate days after each passing were painful, and filled with decisions that were incomprehensibly difficult. Without a funeral plan, there was little guidance but our grief. Clearly laid out ideas of what the person would have liked would have made the process easier.
These events helped me realize three things:
- Everyone dies.
- Grief sucks.
- I don’t want a traditional internment.
Death is a constant of life.
Ignoring this reality helps no one. Additionally, death can occur at any age. Which makes funeral planning a universal need for everyone.
Because grief is overwhelming and all consuming.
A death and a funeral are a pretty bureaucratic affair, with paperwork and decisions. Death is very well regulated. There are a lot of decisions those left have to make in a very short amount of time.
Do you want a burial or a cremation? A metal or a wooden casket? Do you want a viewing of the deceased? Do you want flowers? There are hundreds of these little questions that need to be answered while coping with such raw emotions.
Traditional burials aren’t green.
They produce a shocking amount of waste, as does cremation.
I decided to make my wishes be known prior to my passing. This was because of my experiences with post-death funeral planning. As well as the knowledge of how wasteful and polluting interment can be.
I want to have a natural burial in a plain, wooden box. Right now, this is not a truly popular request. I know that the people who are closest to me would know that this would be my preference. However, would they know how to accomplish this wish if I were to suddenly pass?
Since I don’t wish to leave them in the lurch, I have researched how to make my ideal interment possible. I have a list of local places that participate in green burials. I have also provided a contingency plan for a cremation if my ideal cannot happen for whatever reason. As well as suggestions for things which I have found to be difficult to answer when planning a wake, such as songs to play.
Death is difficult to talk about. It’s difficult to think about.
That’s what makes working through this important. Death is a natural part of life and our ecosystem. We can’t avoid it. But we can make our final rests more ecofriendly through planned funerals.
What are your thoughts? Are you thinking about planning your own funeral?
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