An American Funeral

Funerals are the type of event most people never give a thought about until it is forced upon them. Yesterday, I was speaking with my father and the subject came up.

There was a young lady in this area who committed suicide last month by walking into a train. My dad’s building houses a large daycare and the deceased lady’s sister takes her children there so my dad knows her. The family has no money and it was left up to the sister to handle funeral arrangements.

The sister collected the bag of remains – there were pieces of the victim as you can imagine – and then went out to a plot in a field where her grandmother was buried. The sister then had to dig the grave herself and place the bag of remains in the ground. No easy task in summer let alone in hardened winter ground. She had no money for gravediggers or a coffin. This is how the life that was this woman’s sister came to an end.

Funerals are expensive. I know my dad spent 15k on my mom’s and we didn’t do anything fancy at all. We picked a casket from the low-end of the price range. My mom would’ve had a fit knowing we spent that much on her. (A fact that caused quite a few jokes while we were talking). As my dad and I spoke we reflected on the changing trends in funerals that has slowly been occurring across the country.

Cremation is more and more common. Mainly because it can be performed for a few hundred dollars as opposed to thousands for a traditional ceremony. You also don’t have to worry about buying a plot of land which can also set you back financially depending on where you live.

I know of some cities who have started permitting old-fashion funeral pyres. This particular trend has a couple contributing factors. There is a growing number of pagans & non-Christians in the population who favor this type of send off. Some people like the concept of doing it the way their ancestors did. Finances also play a role. It is much cheaper to set a body ablaze then the traditional ceremony.

One city I read about that allows this had to change the regulations on how it was done. There were so many people calling from out of State to arrange for this type of ceremony that the town simply couldn’t keep up with the demand so they changed the rules that you had to be local to have it approved.

It seems that even in the funeral business the reality on the ground is reflecting the changing social customs of the country. Unfortunately, like most of the changes going on these days, economics is the major driving force.

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Categories: Everyday Life, history, Politics, religion, travel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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