First, let us look at greed for a moment. How were these states able to take rights from families and require families and persons to hire a for profit enterprise. The simple and cheap answer is greed. The death care industry lobbied for a law and they got it. When you live in a state with these kinds of requirements, you are forced to seek out a funeral director. Clients are funneled into funeral homes where they are faced with a number of services and products and an average citizen might not know his or her rights. One can not call this a real monopoly, but there is not room for true competition in the market place either. Without true competition consumers cannot put pressure on the market to change. If you live in one of these states, you can have a home funeral. You can have a green funeral. It makes it more expensive and more difficult to acquire, but it can be done. People have to know their rights and do a lot of work, but you can have a simple funeral. I know that not all funeral directors are out there trying to upsell clients. What I do know is that this kind of law places vulnerable people where they can be taken advantage of more easily.
As I said before, the real reason we have laws like this is more complex than just simple greed. Yes, I think the death care industry has more than enough influence on the public, but does the public really want to know what their rights are when it comes to death? This might be the real issue. If we all decided that this nonsense of requiring people to hire a funeral director was unfair and unjust, which it is, then we would have the laws changed, and people would be free to choose. Our stumbling block most likely is our own sense of fear. We fear death. We fear death more than wanting to know our rights. We fear death more than making decisions for ourselves upon our death. We fear death more than we fear paying for things we might not want or need. We fear death more than we fear having our loved ones sit in an office and not know what to do because we too afraid to tell them. We fear death more than we fear what might happen to the earth with our use of terrible chemicals and the burying of precious resources. We fear death rather than look at it square on and know that one-day, death will come to us, and those we love. We fear death, and we don’t look at what it has cost us all. What it costs us is our voice and our rights to have a simple burial without influence from the state or an industry. So many people come to me and tell me they want to be buried in a simple pine box and I know that they can have it, but I know that it can be quite difficult to get because we have allowed the death care industry to dictate what is a conventional burial.
I know that modern life is busy. Who has time to look into things we want to do let alone things we would rather never look into like death? I know that the fear of death is very real and keeps us from truly living a full life. What I hope is that we can set aside our fears for a short time and do some reading into the death care industry. Maybe if enough of us do this, maybe the rights of families can be restored. The industry will do what industries do; try to make money enough for profit and to stay in business. What we can do is shine light where people do not want to look in hopes of bringing about change.