One must admit that having two options at death cannot meet the needs of our society filled with such a variety of cultural perspectives. What about traditions that also do not fit into the death care industry’s romantic ideas of dealing with a body following death? Either the industry wants us to imagine we are Egyptian kings and queens or we have become ash and spirit.
First I object to so many things that the industry does to families. First I object that funeral directors have insinuated themselves as the authority into one of the most tender and difficult times in a family. I object to the language used by the industry that obfuscates the truth. I object to the fact that in ten states, citizens are required to hire them, even if they do not wish to. I object to the fact that people cannot easily get a traditional funeral where no embalming or cremation takes place. I object that if they have to hire a funeral director at the time of death that it costs so much? How can simply cleaning and dressing a body following death be so difficult to obtain? Our ancestors did it all the time. We used to care for our own dead. We used to have community supports for families in grief. Some traditions still easily care for their dead. I know in some spiritual communities, people are beginning to return to care of the dead as a ministry. That is all good. The state of the industry can change only when we change. For so long the death care industry worked in the dark, changing our perceptions ever so slightly until we would not ask if the services of a funeral home no longer serve the community’s interest. Change can only happen when we decide to take a good look at the truth and have the desire to change.