Into the night we must travel…

free-doveDifferent cultures about the world have developed rituals that dispose of the human body after death. To this end I will elaborate and discuss these ways and how they differ from our customary services for the dead.

Perhaps you do not want to read this article; I understand, however it is what we all must face someday as being elderly and living out our life span as a person to which I am focusing on. There are other causes of death, some as children and some as young adults.

First off let us look at 98-year-old Grand Ma. She is long past her expected population/demographic age of 78, plus or minus a couple of years. She just goes to sleep and passes on. You the survivor, a 75-year-old son, or 35-year-old grandson assumes responsibility. Everybody has a different view to respect Grand Ma and of course a different view on the financial expenditures. Perhaps there are only women left to dispose of the remains. It becomes more complicated than it seems with just calling the undertaker.

Generally the law states the remains must be interred within 3 weeks. Unfortunately the family is distraught and everybody is scrambling for the “lost” will and last testament. Most relatives believe that “they alone” are entitled to the estate remaining, or the diamond on her hand, perhaps a favorite something or another, but for the most part the entire estate.

First is the remains must be buried, cremated, or (which is popular these days) frozen at absolute zero – believing in a revival at a later date. All of these three methods are perplexing as who will be tending the body, the ashes, or the frozen remains in a few years, a century or maybe a millennium. Overgrown cemeteries, falling headstones are not uncommon. The home burials a few years back (still legal), are overgrown with trees and brush. Property divisions are unaware of the site and to some plots, still, may contain dangerous diseases.

City deaths are generally handled by a Funeral Home, i.e.: The Undertaker; the remains transported to the preparation room. This may be for cosmetics, dressing and/or embalming (which became necessary after the US Civil War). The funeral director will offer – at added expense – these services plus a casket and burial site. These sites may be in a home cemetery, a city cemetery or a National cemetery for passed military members. There are a number of services available but at cost to you who signs the authorization. A reasonable funeral these days runs about $28,000.00. Your relatives are NOT RESPONSIBLE for this incurred debt unless they do sign on as co-signers. Unfortunately you are probably in great pain and sorrow and wanting the best wishes for Grand Ma, agreeing to the best possible arrangement.

If you are bordering on being with restricted funds you can collectively try to get other relatives to sign on the dotted line. Otherwise consider DIRECT CREMATION which in this county runs about $1,500.00; of course you can always sign on for a more elaborate service, urns and such. This may run about $4,500.00.

Although city services tend to cost more the same services are offered in the rural counties. An interesting recent new burial procedure is a GREEN BURIAL. The formalities of a casket, embalming and such are dispensed with. The deceased is simply buried like they have been doing for thousands of years letting the natural forces of nature reclaim the body. There are a few rules to this procedure in that the gravesite must be fenced. I would suggest discussing this with your physician for a death certificate vs: transporting Grand Ma to the local Medical Examiner for certification of death. In any event you really need to review the applicable statutes in your county as to a Green Burial. Funeral Homes may assist you vs: transporting Grand Ma in a pick up truck bed. Personally I opt for a green burial on my acreage; after all, there has been 300 years of residents who have been buried near by.

The history of death and the remains are fascinating history in many different cultures and societies. I demure about discussing these, perhaps for sensitivity on behalf of the reader.

Advance planning is always a good idea, and in concert with the dying wishes perhaps can be concluded peacefully..

HAVE A WILL DRAWN and notarized.

God Bless us all and the little creatures

Old Timer all rights reserved, 9/12/2016