I am a mortician who tells you that you don’t necessarily need a mortician.
The definition of ‘morbid’ is an unhealthy preoccupation with death. Unfortunately, there’s no word to mean the perfectly healthy preoccupation with death, which is what I have.
Vaults and caskets are not the law; they are the policy of individual cemeteries. Vaults prevent the settling of the dirt around the body, thus making landscaping more uniform and cost effective. As an added bonus, vaults can be customized and sold at a markup. Faux marble? Bronze? Take your pick, family.
The home funeral – caring for the dead ourselves – changes our relationship to grieving. If you have been married to someone for 50 years, why would you let someone take them away the moment they die?
Not only is natural burial by far the most ecologically sound way to perish, it doubles down on the fear of fragmentation and loss of control. Making the choice to be naturally buried says, ‘Not only am I aware that I’m a helpless, fragmented mass of organic matter, I celebrate it. Vive la decay!’
Dying in the sanitary environment of a hospital is a relatively new concept. In the late 19th century, dying at a hospital was reserved for people who had nothing and no one. Given the choice, a person wanted to die at home in their bed, surrounded by friends and family.
I was fascinated by mortality. Most people are, even if they don’t admit it.
One of the things that was most shocking to me about starting to work in the funeral industry is just how industrial the environment is.
I think about death most of the day, every day. We can’t escape death, and choosing to ignore it only makes it more scary.
All the body wants to do biologically is decompose. Once you die, it’s, ‘Let me out here! I’m ready to shoot my atoms back into the universe!’