I need you to go read this tale of two deaths–a widow’s account of her husband’s traditional/commercial funeral, directly juxtaposed with the home funeral done at the very same time for the friend who died alongside him in the same accident.
Some visual spoilers:
And are some excerpts, in case you’re like me:
Their funerals were complete opposites. It wasn’t only that one of them went into the ground and the other up in smoke. It was that one funeral, green and at home, healed and helped, and the other didn’t.
Which one is more what you want? Does anyone know that?
What happened after [my husband] and Scott died – in two houses across a quiet village street from one another – mattered. I didn’t have the information or the support around me to find a way to have a funeral for Nick that was aligned with his, with our, beliefs. So I gave myself up to the traditional approach to funerals, where there is very little room for what is unique, something that fit our family and our values. And I paid for it.
Does the person who knows what you want know how to make it happen? Does she know how to find help?
I have a thousand regrets about this. Like so many errors we make, we would surely make them again on that day, in that place. I didn’t know any better and I couldn’t have done any better then, I suppose.
Still, I owed Nick a huge apology. It was bad enough he died, but then, I got him buried all wrong. It’s not like I didn’t know what he wanted.
“Lean me against a tree and walk away,” he said.
Every time, that’s what he said. And he meant it.
It’s not enough to just know. IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO JUST SPEAK IT or write it down. Much like fire drills and natural birthing–you have to write it down, commit to it, and then practice it, until you can execute the path without thinking about it, because (like our author) you can’t even know how stressful and chaotic it will be until you get there.
Even if you aren’t fully “prepared” (because who really can be?), the research and practice you do will at least give you the resources and community contacts around you that can help you through the chaos.
If you think you might need or want that help, now is the time to source it.
The last words of BTDT wisdom from our widow:
What I now know is that a family given choices to keep it real and in alignment with what their views are matters more than anything. For those who want a traditional funeral home style funeral, it’s all set up for them, by default. For everyone else, know that there are options for a home funeral, or funeral homes who will work with you to do what is right for you
Isn’t that what we all want? Deathcare that honors who the person was, and makes good space for grieving and healing while keeping with our values?
It’s your job, our job, to make it happen!