Washing and Essential Oils
While it is true that our bodies are not disgusting, we all do need a bath from time to time. This is true when we die. The body needs to be cleaned and patted dry. When we die our body starts to break down and skin is not as elastic. We need to be gentle with the body when we prepare a body in death. The body should also be anointed with essential oils. This not only has a pleasing scent, but helps remove the bacteria from the body. For fuller details check out the Midwest Green Burial Society’s Home Funeral and Simple Burial Information Sheet. Our grandparents and great-grandparents knew how to care for the dead. We have lost so much common wisdom in this area.
Keep the Body Cool
Keeping the body cool slows the natural process of the body breaking down after death. If you are having a home funeral, you can use dry ice and make sure the room is cool. If you are using a funeral director, he or she can use refrigeration to achieve the same goal. One funeral director told me that you can keep a body refrigerated for ten days or more with out problems. Sometimes our families live far away and we might need to delay the funeral for that purpose.
Direct Burial is usually done quickly with a small service at the grave. Usually the body is washed and prepared, but not embalmed. Some people might wish to have the burial over and done with and then a small memorial later. This works for some families. Some funeral homes like to use direct burial as their green burial option. While it is green and does suit some people, it is not the only option for people seeking an environmentally friendly or simple burial.