Whether or not these practices are for the greater good of society could probably be debated. What is so disturbing is that New York is one of the states that by law allows the death care industry to hold our bodies hostage for services we might not want or need. If in New York an alternative death care industry was allowed to grow, perhaps fewer people without the means could in fact care for their dead. Who is to say that every person should be embalmed or cremated? Who is to say how much this should cost? Why can’t a nonprofit exist to care for the dead outside the egis of the death care industry? The death care industry and its strong lobby at the state and federal levels do.
Surely we must have laws care for the dead for those who are not able to do so, but to make it so difficult for people with modest means is not right and not just. We should not have to crowdfund a funeral. We should not have to feel that if we don’t come up with the thousands of dollars to have a “proper” funeral for our loved ones that they will end up in a mass grave. We need so much more education on the care of the dead in this country. We need more people who are willing to stand up and make a change. With the shrinking middle class, the death care industry must change to include more modest and dignified means of caring for the dead. If this does not happen, then they should move over and allow those who want to care for the dead. Who of us is free when we allow this to continue?