Meeting Offers Information on Home Funerals
Jeffrey Weiss, The Dallas Morning News (April 12, 2010)
When the Death Reference Desk formally launched in the summer of 2009, it became clear that economic issues related to death and dying would continually pop up. Earlier this week, The Dallas Morning News ran an article on home funerals which echoes a July article on the same subject in the New York Times.
And the Death + the Economy section of Death Ref contains a wide array of related articles.
In a nutshell, all of the articles on home funerals explain that many people are interested in taking care of the dead body (without the assistance of a funeral director) because it is cheaper. While that’s true, and I am the first to say that funerals are too expensive, I’m not so sure that money is a huge force behind the interest in home funerals. From what I can gather, it seems as if the people exploring the idea of a home funeral are middle income earners and higher and that the interested parties want a more personal service. This all makes sense too. Indeed, the return of home funerals isn’t so much an innovation as a throwback to 19th century funeral practices. This is a historical point often missed by reporters working the home funeral beat.
The article sums up the Texas home burial workshop this way:
But why would someone want to take charge of his own funeral? The most obvious reason is price. Depending on how much of the preparation is done at home, the family could save thousands of dollars. But there are emotional reasons as well, Bates said.
His mother died in 2000 in Arlington. And while a funeral home dealt with much of the preparation, the family wanted her buried where she grew up, in Tulia. So they rented a van, put the coffin in the back and stopped at places along the way where she had visited.
“It was good for all of us,” Bates said.
So there you have it. A nice combination of funeral thrift and personalized memorialization. In the event that combination seems too poigant here is a predictably over-the-top CNN video about a graveyard offering a buy-one-get-the-second-grave-for-50%-off sale. The classy title sums it up.
CNN: “Sometimes you gotta think outside the box”