I know the death care industry has very well meaning and good people who are in the industry to help families when someone they love dies. I know many are doing what they think is right and honorable for families. Why is it then that I see so many crowdfunded funerals lately? Why does it have to cost so much for us to care for our loved ones in death without breaking the bank, or asking people to help us pay for the services? Where did we go so wrong? It’s no surprise to me that people are turning to cremation more and more. It’s a whole lot cheaper and you have more say in how and what happens in terms of burial and memorials. What about those who want a full body funeral? Why must the cost be so high to embalm and bury if all that is needed if something very simple like refrigeration or simple washing of the body? Doing very little to the body or nothing should not cost the same or more than embalming. If what people want does not correspond to the death care industry, then perhaps they should be allowed to take their business elsewhere. In those eight states, we are not allowed to do that, and people are forced into the industry. Somehow that just does not seem very American.
Crowdfunding funerals grows out of the natural reaction to the status quo. To be fair, it makes sense to me. It breaks my heart every time I see someone needing to crowdfund a funeral. I have contributed to those in need. I wonder about the need, the real need for a crowdfunded funeral. Why do decent burials need to cost so much in the first place? Why are there not more affordable alternatives that are honorable and beautiful? Is death really just for those who can afford it? What about the rest of us? Do we need to ask our friends and neighbors to help pay for an event that brings so little joy? It is totally absurd.
The situation must change. The cost for funerals goes up about 5% every year like clockwork. Crowdfunding has helped many families meet the cost for funerals, but maybe there might be a different way. Maybe if we all set aside our own fears of death and emotional pain, and speak more openly about the topic, then maybe we would not be so afraid anymore. Maybe if we did our research into what we want done for us in death, we can help our loved ones make the choices so they don’t have to feel so overwhelmed. Maybe if we contacted our state representatives and senators and ask them to give us back our rights to choose, we could make a difference in so many lives. Maybe if clergy were required to understand the death care industry and help their flock make funeral and burial choices. Maybe if those who work closely with the dying could help the families more and more through the process. Physical death comes to us all. We might not all get married. We might not all go to college. We might not all have well paying jobs, but we all die. We all are potential customers to the death care industry. In the end, we are all in this life together. Take the time today and make a choice about what you can do to help lower the high cost of dying.