When we live without mindfulness, we sacrifice the present moment to some destination somewhere — we are not alive. What is our final destination? The cemetery? In that case, why are we in a hurry to get there?”
~ True Love, Tich Nhat Hahn
I must talk about death again! You know how I feel about families knowing about birth options! Well, did you know you have death options? If you are concerned about the environment, then this should be of interest. I had the opportunity to take a workshop where I was introduced to a women who calls herself a death midwife.
Traditionally, midwives attended the death watch. They provided herbal medicines and helped with the illness since most people could not afford the services of a doctor — if one was even available. They helped prepare the body for burial and host the home funeral. There is a movement in the US to revive these practices. There is even a certification process for death midwives.
Should your loved one die, it is best to know in advance what you plan to do with the remains. The average cost of a funeral in the US is $10,000. If you do your research in advance, you will realize that you can save money and protect the planet. Many of the practices that are commonly used by funeral homes are not mandated by law and you do have choices. You have to learn what your options are as it can vary from state to state. You can opt for a home funeral, transport your own loved one yourself, or have a green burial in most states. I recently read Grave Matters by Mark Harris and found it refreshing and fascinating! The description on embalming was a real eye opener. There are also environmental concerns with cremation.
I’m looking into backyard burial as I would like to be buried on the farm I grew up on. Luckily, it is still in my family. I’ve found a funeral director who is familiar with the laws and will help make sure this gets done within the laws that regulate this practice. I also located someone who will conduct a home funeral. When considering my options, I also looked into being buried in a Nature Preserve. The closest option is in Ohio, but that may change as there is a group in Wisconsin that is organizing. You pay less and you support the preservation of natural areas. Green burial can mean a lot of different things.
Sound interesting? Below are resources for educating yourself. Make informed decisions in all things! Save money and save the planet!
- Grave Matters: A Journey through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial by Mark Harris (I found it at the library!)
- Ceremonies for Life’s Thresholds, Nora Cedarwind Young, Certified Death Midwife
- Green Burial Council
- Midwest Green Burial Society