Times Are Tough; Would You Consider A DIY Funeral?
It's never pleasant to think about death and funerals, but if there is one certainty in life, it's that we're all going to bite the dust at some point. And just like most things in life, death is an expensive business. But did you know that there are options to the usual funeral...you really can Do It Yourself, if you have the stomach for it.
The costs associated with the average funeral vary, with some costing as much as $15-$20,000. But it seems an average most professionals agree on is around $8000. That's not exactly chump change. It breaks down like this:
Professional and administrative services (embalming, funeral home staff during the visitation, and so on) ... $1,650
Facilities and equipment (preparation room, visitation room, reception room, chapel) ... $850
Transportation (transfer from the place of death, funeral limousine, and cars for the family) ... $450
Merchandise (casket, vault, prayer cards, temporary grave marker) ... $2,515
Cash disbursements (flowers, cemetery plot, obituary, death certificates, honorariums, headstone) ... $1,828
Total (not including taxes) ... $7,293
Even if you get the cheapest casket, forget the flowers and buy a fiberglass headstone, you're still looking at $5000. But there are alternatives. One extreme I read about in England, my home country, was about a guy who requested to be put on his own compost heap when he died. And somehow, his wife managed to get it done. Here in the US I can imagine it would be a lot tougher to go that far. But the DIY funeral is definitely an alternative.
An article I found interesting from Associated Content listed the following steps for your DIY funeral:
1. A medical examiner or funeral must sign the death certificate. Also if the death did not take place in the hospital, a medical examiner or coroner will have to verify death and the cause.
2. Use dry ice instead of embalming. Embalming isn't a requirement nowadays although the quick deterioration of a body will warrant a quick burial. You can help preserve the body with dry ice.
3. Make a coffin or buy one from a casket store that will sell to consumers.
4. You can use the funeral home for a few services such as help with the death certificate.
5. You will need to secure a burial permit. If you are burying on family land or anywhere other than a cemetery you will have to assure that the corpse will not spread any contagious or communicable diseases.
To some, the idea of caring for the dead, especially a close friend or relative, is a ghastly and unthinkable idea. But in other cultures, it's not only acceptable...it's the norm. I recently saw a documentary on India which showed people burning their loved ones on the banks of the Ganges and throwing their charred remians into the river. In other cultures, eating the flesh of the cooked dead body is a ritual. By comparison, popping your great uncle into a home-made coffin doesn't seem quite so bad.
There is plenty more to learn at funerals.org, and it gives you quite a lot more to thin about. So, one question to leave you with...would you do a DIY funeral? Or is it just too absurd to even consider?