With the cost of funerals hovering around $10,000 many simply can’t afford the frills a funeral director tacks on the final passage of life. Some are even opting to bury their own as in olden days. In most areas this is legal.
Perhaps dying in these times of economic stress is too costly. More funerals and burials are being held at home instead of lining greedy funeral directors pockets. Being greener and the economic status of the nation is pushing the need for alternative ways of burial. Using less frills like embalming and grave liners families save money while at the same time not being a burden on the environment. Building a casket from cardboard or wood is legal for anyone.
Jerrigrace Lyons is a “death midwife” in the growing business of home funerals. Her tool kit includes makeup, cardboard caskets and a handbook on the proper way to ice and move bodies.
The LA Times reports:
“People want something that is in line with what their loved ones would have wanted,” Lyons said by telephone from Hawaii, where she was teaching a sold-out workshop. “But they also want something that they can afford.”
Lyons started the nonprofit organization Final Passages. The group holds workshops on how to care for a body that’s being kept in a family home and burying a body outside of the traditional graveyard. She also helps families with the legal paperwork that comes when someone dies. Instead of forking over $10,000 though her services run from $500 to $1,500.
“As a death midwife, I’m helping to usher a person out of this world and into the next,” said Lyons. “It is really the same threshold as birth. I think of it as the comings and goings of our spirit. We come in and we go out. But it is the same doorway.”
For families are opting for cremation. Thirty-five percent of deaths last year finalized the last journey by becoming ashes.
In most states it is legal for a body to remain in the home for at least 24 hours un-embalmed. Some areas allow for home burials also.
In California the rules for burial are;
“The law allows consumers to prepare their own dead for disposition. If you choose to do this, you must provide a casket or suitable container and make arrangements directly with the cemetery or crematory. A properly completed Certificate of Death, signed by the attending physician or coroner, must be filed with the local registrar and a Permit for Disposition obtained before any disposition can occur.”