It has been a week or two of mourning here in Hickery Holler. First was the death of Betty, my grandchildren's great grandmother on their father's side who also happens to be my husband's distant cousin. She was a remarkable woman who died in her late eighties. Up until just recently she remained vibrant and in her eighties, prior to a recent sickness, was considering going back to college. We also mourn the death of O Wise One's friend Ron, a friend of many decades who lost a short but violent battle with cancer. When we lived in Louisiana Ron and O Wise One spent many hours out on the Gulf of Mexico deep sea fishing. Both will be sorely missed.
One of the things that impressed me about the death of Betty was the way that the funeral was conducted. Betty and her husband are people that throughout most of their lives owned many different businesses and only recently closed their last one. They had already bought their tombstone and cemetery plots in the cemetery that holds over a century of their ancestors already. But even more impressive is that they had already picked out their own caskets and purchased them. They had been stored on their property until needed. Once she had passed away and I might add here, at home with her children and husband of almost 65 years at her bedside, she was not embalmed but rather sent to the funeral home to be cleaned and dressed. The funeral home provided a death certificate and her hair and makeup fixed and then she was buried the next day at the cemetery of her choice, attended by only family and extremely close family friends.
Almost 2 weeks later a small ceremony similar to a wake was held for the community to attend and pay their respects to the family and her memory. I not only love the way that this vibrant woman lived her life but also the way she took control of her own death. Making all the purchases before hand and leaving her family with very little expenses after her passing. She died as she lived "HER WAY".
This is the second such funeral I have been to in the last year or two where the person passing has chosen to not go the traditional way of expensive embalming, wake and funeral but chosen a different path. Both were pre-planned and implemented by the family more as a celebration of that person's life. The first was actually cremated and a small burial service for family only held several weeks after the death. But a week after the death a huge potluck picnic at the local park with lots of food, fellowship and people sitting around and sharing wonderful stories of their experiences with the deceased. A true sharing of the sometimes funny life experiences of this very colorful person. Her children, siblings, grandchildren and even great grandchildren sharing their memories of their favorite parts of her life. What a tribute!
What amazes me is that now you can purchase your own casket or basket right on line. Have it shipped to your door. Choose the location of your burial and purchase cemetery plots and by doing this save your family thousands of dollars at a very difficult time. I also learned that if the body is buried within 24 hours of death it does not need to be embalmed in this state. Once buried that leaves your family the convenience of planning a celebration of your life in whatever way they choose at their leisure.
My oldest daughter actually wants a green funeral. Instead of a casket she wants to be buried in a basket with no grave marker but rather a tree as her marker.
Or you can choose a more traditional handmade wooden casket (Amish made).
As for me I think the traditional pine box is lovely!
Just food for thought : )
What is the most non traditional funeral that you have ever attended?
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter