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Home Burial: The Option of Resting Peacefully at Home

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By Neetal Parekh on July 27, 2009 7:01 AM

Death does not usually share its Google Calendar with us.  In light of its unpredictability, making funeral arrangements can be an emotionally difficult and financially tolling prospect for loved ones.  The New York Times recently reported on an emerging practice of home burial--in which the final rites are conducted in the personal setting of home.

Perhaps a major driver for this option is cost, with funeral arrangements averaging $6000, families may find themselves worrying about being able to finance a dignified final farewell.  Beyond the potential to save thousands, home burial can be made into a meaningful and personal way to honor and remember the departed.   To guide families and hold their hands through the process, loved ones may decide to engage a death midwife. There are currently, in fact, over 45 organizations or professionals across the country to assist in the home burial process--where only two existed in 2002. 

State law is surprisingly permissive of home burials, with only six states requiring some involvement of a funeral director.  Many families choose cremation but burial on private land, contingent on a town permit, is an option.  With the burgeoning interest in this option, however, it is likely that states will step in to ensure safe and hygienic practices.  Certain states, such as Oregon, have already set forth the requirement that death midwives be licensed by the state. 

Home burials can be an unsettling prospect for some; however, if done in accordance with health and safety considerations, they can provide a viable option that may not only be more affordable for families but may also do more to honor the life and passing of their loved one.

 

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