Don't Want To Sound Morbid but..... (Burials)greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Several years ago my husband and I deceided to be buried on our "land" even though it is only about 4 acres. I remember getting information from "somewhere" that told us all of the do's a don'ts of home burial etc. and that it was possible for us to do so. Saw the articles over the summer in MENS and we thought maybe we should get this down on paper and put together our own little grave plots. Since it would be a very simple passing over we wouldn't need the use of a funeral home, embalming and dressing us up in fancy Sunday clothes and cars and all of that costly expense. Does anyone know of where I can get this information again...maybe it was the board of health ?? Any ideas would be appreciated.
-- Helena (email@example.com), October 27, 2001
http://www.funerals.org/index.htm try there,, chock full of info you may like on this subject
-- stan (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 27, 2001.
Hi, Helena, I've read articles like that also, just can't remember where....sorry!
Perhaps if you did a search on "home burial" on Google (etc.) you'd come across something useful.
I applaud the idea, but don't know who would "lay me out", so have told my children to cremate me and spread the ashes around our land. Sure don't want to be embalmed and shut up in some concrete vault - can't help the Earth at all that way!
On a related note, I just found out, from a guy who works at a vault company, that Jewish vaults have no bottom in them!?! He didn't know why, maybe some Jewish law? Interesting! Why are vaults for Gentiles totally closed, if Jewish ones are left open on the bottom? Where is the logic? I thought vaults were precautions against spread of diseases? Can someone enlighten me?
-- Bonnie (email@example.com), October 27, 2001.
To answer Bonnie's questions about Jewish buriels:
Caskets: In order to comply with the verse in Genesis (3:19) "For thou art dust, and unto dust shalt thou return," simple wooden boxes, (usually pine)held together with wooden pegs rather than nails are used for burial of the Jewish dead. Metal caskets disintegrate slowly, thus interfering with the return of the body to mother earth. Wooden boxes decompose relatively rapidly. In Jewish tradition, spending an exorbitant amount of money on an elaborate casket is not considered an expresseion of respect for the dead.
Holes in Caskets So that bodies will decompose more quickly, holes are drilled in the bottom of caskets. The gaurantess that the words of Genesis (3:19) "Unto dust shalt thou return," shall be more speedily fulfilled.
** the above is quoted from "How to live a Jewish Life" by Alfred J. Kolatch.**
In addition it is traditional to bury a Jewish person within 24 hrs if at all possible, as embalming is not usually done (see Genesis 3:19) also the deceased wears a simple white covering (shroud)and the casket remains closed.
-- Jane (Southwest OR) (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 27, 2001.
Thanks, Jane! That answers a lot of questions I've had.
-- Bonnie (email@example.com), October 27, 2001.
Well, that sure makes a lot more sense than the elaborate funerals I've attended recently. Both of my parents were cremated. I scattered my mother's ashes on a hillside in a park that she loved - we had many picnics there when I was a kid! My stepmother has decided to have my father's ashes buried with her.
I never have understood the desire to preserve your body after you are dead. I've always thought it made more sense to let the doctors take whatever parts they could use to help others, and then cremate whatever is left - or bury the body in some way for it to decompose and replenish the earth.
I'll have to check out those websites!
-- Cheryl in KS (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 27, 2001.
My husband and I purchased grave sites and vaults almost thirty years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer. About ten years later a young couple was killed in an accident and after hearing about the family trying to raise money for funeral arrangements we called the mortuary and donated our spots. We decided at that time to be cremated after any usable parts were donated.
-- Grannytoo (email@example.com), October 27, 2001.
One thing I heard on this topic that I had not thought of before, was that even if you do get all the proper permits & permissions for burial on your own property, the one thing that often comes up afterward is that the resale value of the property is negatively affected. It has to be disclosed, and many people won't buy land if people are buried on it.
-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 27, 2001.
that would be another bonus then,, less estate taxes for whomever it gets passed too
-- stan (email@example.com), October 27, 2001.
In TN, a private graveyard has to be a minimum size, surveyed and recorded on the deed for that property, with easement rights of access to the families of those buried there. I have a couple on property I own which only show up on the tax map since they have been neglected so long they have gone back to nature. Sometimes a farmer gets tired of plowing around them, so just removes the headstones and plows over them. Cattle like to rub on old headstones, eventually knocking them over to where they eventually disappear under the grasses.
-- Ken S. in WC TN (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 28, 2001.
Bonnie's question on vaults. Vaults are used to keep the ground from caving in when the caskets deteriorate. Only someone trying make an extra buck offers "waterproof" (basically asphalt or tar coating) valuts.
-- Rickstir (email@example.com), October 29, 2001.
Check out the book "Caring For Your Own Dead". There are laws for every state in the US in there and great helpful advice.
-- Anne (HealthyTouch101@wildmail.com), October 29, 2001.
I recently buried my oldest son. He was 39. I had little money and no experience but it worked out just fine. I didn't do as much as some do but more than we normally think we can do. This was in August.
My son died in another state, while visiting his uncle. He was in a hospital when he died. His body was misplaced and then "found" at a local mortuary. He had been sent there without any word to family or permission from family, though we had been told we must authorize moving the body.
Since one family owned both of the local funeral homes and there were no others for over a hundred miles, it was pointless to make an issue, after the fact. I dealt with the "family owned" funeral home folks. I refused all services except cremation. $1,095.00. That included holding the body until cremation and then for up to five business days afterward before further charges began to be added. I guess for storage? If, however, I did not want to pay them for the cremation fees, I could arrange to have my son moved and then I would owe them a fee for picking up the body at the hospital, transporting it, and for "storage" for the days until removed from their mortuary. They'd had him four days before I could find him since the hospital kept telling me he was "probably" in pathology and would "certainly" be at the hospital until the coroner and pathologist had seen him and, since he died on a weekend that would mean at least Monday, but the coroner never came in on Monday, so nothing could be done until at least Tuesday... You get the idea. I found him Wednesday, by calling both mortuaries. He had died on Saturday and been picked up early Monday by the funeral home. No pathologist or coroner had seen him. Go figure.
We had last seen him on Friday when visiting at the hospital. His brother being the last one in town and he had returned here by very late Friday night.
By then the funeral home had plenty of space rental they could bill me for so, even if I'd had an alternative in mind, it would have just added to the costs.
My son had no resources and I have only a modest income. Retired and all that stuff. I did this funeral for just under $2,200., including the cremation fees, death certificate copies, gratuity to clergy, the cost of a rental car for a week, fax fees for paperwork, toll call bills, expenses for one night and two days in the other state when I went to bring him home, flowers, enlarged photo and frame to place near urn, etched bronze urn, (ordered over the Internet and beautiful), memory book, small photos to give out in place of remembrance cards, health department permit, opening and closing gravesite ($180.), urn vault ($80.). It would have been more if I'd had to buy a plot or mausoleum space but did not. I used a family owned plot. He was buried above his father. It's called double decking here.
I would have chosen to scatter his ashes but his brother and sisters were upset by this thought so we went with burial. They do understand I want scattering for myself. Hope they remember.
The funeral home did try to get me to buy a container or urn from them, when I went to get my son's ashes. I had told them, several times, over the phone, that I already had an urn and would pick up the ashes in the standard, heavy duty plastic bag, with twist tie, enclosed in the transport box, (cardboard). I've seen and handled these before, upon other family deaths, when the deceased chose to have ashes scattered.They knew I was coming, they knew I was picking up the ashes but they somehow did not have a box. I said I'd take the baggie, as is. No, they couldn't let me do that. It would be too upsetting for me and not sanitary, (not the word they used but the meaning is the same). I was not in the mood for this having already spent nearly three weeks trying to get my kid home for his funeral. I told them to hold on just a few minutes and I would run down to the nearest Albertson's and ask the manager for a nice cardboard box to put my son in because the local funeral emporium had run out of boxes. They got me a box in short order. Another problem I ran into was getting the death certificate signed. The doctor who had treated my son left the death certificate unsigned until the day before I arrived to pick up his ashes. This was a big thing because, no death certificate, no cremation.I had phoned daily, to ask if the cerficate were signed, it had to be before they could cremate, and no, it was not. Finally, I just told the doctor's office-person and the funeral home that I had notified the cemetery of the time and date for the graveside service, I had arranged for the obituary and I was going to show up on their door step and they had better have the ashes and the death certificate ready. I was far less cordial than I had been on other phone calls. It had been nearly three weeks since my son died. They were ready; just barely.
When I got back to town I had to go to the health department and get a permit to bury my son. Eight dollars. I had to present the form that the funeral director had filled out for the cremation to get the permit. I took the burial permit to the cemetery. We were good to go.
I got the flowers at the supermarket. Big bouquets of fresh flowers. Lots of them. I had three tall metal vase shaped buckets I'd bought at a home improvement store for what reason, I didn't know, except that they were pretty and I thought I would find a use for them. I did. (I figured the cost of these into the total cost of the funeral) I had to put broken bricks in the bottom of each to keep them from tipping over because of the weight of the flowers. I broke down the store bouquets and made three big arrangements. One of red carnations, red roses and baby's breath. One mostly of bronze and gold sunflowers with some mixed flowers as fill in. The sunflowers were hard to work with because their heads droop and I had to use soft green paper tape to stiffen the stems just below the flower heads on some of them so they would lift their faces up to be seen. The third bunch was other mixed flowers in pastel shades with several burgundy colored flowers, sort of daisy types, as the accent.
I hauled them in the rental car and set them up. I had put the ashes in the urn the night before the funeral and took the urn to the cemetery in the rental car also. The cemetery was to provide a small wooden table for the urn and photo and a metal rack for the urn vault,plus a canopy and eighteen chairs for those who chose to sit. When I made the initial trip over to the cemetery, on the day of the funeral, 30 minutes before the service, the canopy was not up and there was no wooden table. I went to the office where I received mixed response. They would remind the grounds crew to get the canopy up but there was not and never had been a wooden table. Oops. Had I known, in advance, when there had been plenty of time, I could have got one while I was doing the other errands. Now, I had less than twenty minutes left. I headed for the house trying to think what to do and to pick up family members I was taking to the cemetery. I remembered I had a small, old, brown wooden table under the in and out boxes,next to my PC. I dumped the in and out boxes, washed off the table, my son put a coat of polish on it and it went into the truck. Problem solved.
I had written out a format for the service and discussed it with the minister who was leading the prayer portion of the service. We got the small details worked out. My daughter had a CD Player and a CD of a Vince Gill song that he had written when his brother died. We played that. My granddaughter agreed to sing and, near the end of the service, she sang "Angel."
We agreed to invite anyone who wanted to speak to come forward during the service. I was concerned that some would hesitate to do so for fear of saying the wrong thing or upsetting family. When the invitation was given, I got up and said a few things, mentioning that my son and I had often fought over the years but that we had also loved one another and though he'd had a troubled life, he had always been devoted to family and friends. He would always be loved and I would always remember the jokes he told.I told one of his favorite stupid Elmer Fudd jokes and said I would always think of him coming home with another stray or starving cat or dog, so Mom could be sure it had a home. He loved kids and animals and though nosy as could be he cared about people so they never seemed to mind when he mixed himself into their lives and wanted to solve their problems. They became his friends. I sat down.
Everyone got up. Some of them twice.
Beside my son's photo there was a Snickers candy bar. A gift from a tiny friend who could not come to the cemetery but wanted him to have "a candy" to take with him to Heaven. Since Snickers was his favorite, and he always shared with her she wanted him to have a Snickers candy.
The little girl's parents asked if it would be okay to bring the candy bar and I thought it was a lovely idea and was touched at the thoughfulness from such a small person.
I hadn't thought what I would do with the candy bar, once the service was over, but, as I was placing the urn in the vault, I decide it was my son's candy bar. A gift from his little friend, and when I put the urn in the vault, I decided to place the Snickers bar in the vault, next to the urn. Then my other son came forward and wanted to put a red rose in the vault. One of my daughter's stopped, wrote a note on a slip of paper, folded it small and slipped it into the vault, patting the urn and saying "Goodbye Baby Brother." The other sister slipped something I did not see into the vault. A friend added a prayer card he had used to pray for my son when he had taken him to the hospital. Others added small things. I put the top on the vault and laid the tube of elephant glue, (found it inside the vault when I opened it to place the urn inside), on top so the ground crew could seal it. I moved the flowers and the table with the help of two of my son's friends. We waited while the ground crew buried the vault and replaced the turf. Then I went back and spread the flowers. I took people home who needed rides. We went to eat and people went on talking. I was pretty tired but it was a calm, quiet weariness. I had not been able to sleep unless exhausted in weeks.
I went to sleep. The first time I had slept well in a over a month. Unless someone really feels the need to spend a lot of money on polished wood or metal or feels that they could only be satisfied with the most expensive final send off for their loved ones, they can provide a funeral for a modest price and it can be much better than the professionals offer.
-- Jo (Joeydee37@yahool.com), October 29, 2001.
I have often thought of doing the same thing, but am wondering what plans you have for leaving your land to someone when you do die? We've got 22 acres and will leave it to our son and daughter, but what if they want to sell and move on? I guess we've got to be pretty sure this land is going to stay in the family for a long time before we bury ourselves here.
-- Rose Marie Wild (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 30, 2001.
Prior to my Mom's death it was decided she would be cremated (at her desire) and buried between her parents in Minn. We found everyone involved to be extremely cooperative. She was cremated two days after she died. Local Catholic church (in Fla.) had a nice memorial service for her with her ashes where a casket would normally be. Funeral home shipped the urn and ashes to Minn. where they were stored until they could be buried in Spring (since it was winter). The priest came and, we were told, did basically the same service as a casket funeral. She has a ground-level marker between her parent's headstones. Since none of the family could be there, the Minn. funeral home took a roll of film for us of the gravesite and surrounding area. Arrangements satisfied everyone in the family, which is no easy trick.
-- Ken S. in WC TN (email@example.com), October 30, 2001.
About five years ago my wifes grandpa died. He lived up in the state of Washington by hisself. One of his son who lived in Oregon drove to Washington and hauled his body back down here to Oklahoma. The funeral home in Washington sold the family a cremation box so his son could use it to haul the body back to OKLA. After they arrived here in Oklahoma, the family made arrangements with a local funeral home to record the burial site and day (to keep within the law). He was buried without a vault and was layed to rest in the cremation box.
This old man didn't have anything to do with his family and the family wasn't going to spend a lot of money on a man whom they hardley ever got to see. What was funny about this whole ordeal was that I and my brother-in-law (whose married to my wifes sister) we both got to be pall bareirs and neither one of us even knew that he even existed until he died.
-- r.h. in okla. (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 31, 2001.