I surprised myself because nearly three years ago, I firmly wanted a coffin, which I called a casket. I would never call a coffin a casket these days, because I now know the use of the term casket is used by the funeral industry to get us to think that we are putting our beloveds in a special treasure box. So, I looked at shrouds, and pasted websites of my favourites into the body of the plan. You can find a nice list on the Midwest Green Burial Society page, Shrouds, Coffins and Home Funeral Guides. Because I live in Illinois, I had to include a funeral director in my plan, and changed that too. I removed the caterers from my list, because if I die there is a restaurant next door to the church we attend. (Score!) I still want a Jazz Quartet to play When the Saints Go Marching In after the burial rites are completed. I had a professor at seminary that had this at his funeral and I love the idea.
While making a plan for my death is uncomfortable, I know my family and loved ones will benefit. In the time of great grief, I found it difficult to recall what I had been told or in other cases, come up with an idea that made sense for a funeral. Read the Midwest Green Burial Society’s Planning Form. Our form is a formless form that should allow you to make plans that fit your needs. No two of us are alike, and that is why this form was created to meet most everyone’s needs. Start thinking about what you want and I encourage you all to start writing your plans. Take it slowly. If you come from a family that shies away from the topic of death, find one person and start a conversation with him or her. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your family, find a friend. If that does not work for you, talk to your clergy if you have one. You must find at least one person you feel comfortable with to tell him or her what you want and where to find the plan. I recommend telling more than one person. What you will find once you complete this exercise is a peace of mind you never thought you would have and a clearer idea what is important to you. I found that once I figured out what I wanted at the time of death, I could choose to live the life I wanted. You can change your mind as you go along. I did. Give yourself and your loved ones this gift.