We live in The Age of DIY. From making your own porch swing and laying your own tile to handling your own divorce and even administering microdermabrasion treatments at home – if you ave a goal there’s a DIY product to help. With the plethora of DIY products and services available, it seems like people can pretty much do everything for themselves. This has led to some speculating on how they could handle their own funeral. Is this a practical option? Are there any benefits? Or is there no place for death in the world of DIY?
Over the past several years, family members are taking a more active role in preparing the body of their deceased loved ones and they are getting more closure from the death as a result. For some, it’s a way to save money on the rising costs of funerals. For others, it’s a special way to tell your loved one “goodbye” one last time. For many, it’s a combination of both. Some people even express the desire to have family members take care of the situation when they begin to make arrangements before their death.
Lisa Carlson is the President of the Funeral and Memorial Societies of America. Her husband recently passed away and she took the initiative to do a funeral for him. After doing some shopping around, she found a funeral home that took care of the embalming for $700. She also purchased a cardboard casket for $60. That’s much less than the typical funeral costs that include a tombstone and burial plot. Afterwards, she said she enjoyed doing this for her husband because it became more personal. As a result of her experiences, she created a handbook of local laws and permits for others who want to do this type of thing for their loved ones.
Obviously this isn’t a practical option for everyone. Putting aside the difficult emotions that this practice brings up, there are issues which simply cannot be handled by anyone other than a funeral professional. Embalming, for example, is a process that requires the handling of a variety of caustic, industrial-grade chemicals. Some funeral homes are open to allowing family members to be in the room during some or all of this process, but this isn’t exactly the norm.
At the end of the day, DIY funerals are unlikely to catch on in any meaningful way. Many of us prefer to be somewhat removed from the particulars of death and for those who want a traditional funeral complete with embalming, it simply isn’t practical. But there is plenty of overlap between these two options and that, perhaps, is where we’ll see the most growth.
Would you be able to do something like this? Could you forget about the traditional funeral service and procession in a line of funeral cars to the cemetery? Or would you rather leave it to the professionals? We’d love to hear your comments or stories related to this topic.