Dust to Dust

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Pondering my own mortality isn’t something that I really enjoy doing, but the conversation comes up from time to time.  I was recently talking to my husband about what our plans may be for when our time comes.  I don’t really have a preference when it comes to being buried or cremated.  I suppose that I’ll leave that up to my children and their needs for grieving.  What concerned me most was the unnatural state of things and traditional embalming for viewing.

A few days later I saw a news story about a local funeral home that is now offering green funerals.  I decided to do a little reading.

Did you know that you can opt not to be embalmed?  You don’t have to be and you can even have a viewing.  There are refrigerated caskets (used just for the viewing) and/or you can use dry ice to keep the body cool.  I even read many articles about holding the viewings in one’s home.  One such story was touching about a woman and her recently passed husband.  She expressed thanks for being able to say goodnight to her love in the home they shared, as she had done her whole life.

I also came upon an alternative embalming fluid called ENIGMA that is safe, non-toxic and suitable for short term preservation.  ENIGMA is based on a complex mix of essential plant-based oils.

Beyond the viewing is the choice to be cremated or buried.  I’ve read some awful things about the energy and pollution related to being cremated, but of course traditional burials are also quite damaging to our planet.

In Ohio, there is an amazing nature preserve cemetery called Foxfield Preserve.  This is not your typical manicured lawn cemetery.  It is first and foremost a nature preserve.  After reading through their FAQ, I am sold.  I don’t want to think of myself being gone, but when the time comes, it would be nice to leave this world into nature, like this preserve.  A natural setting, no chemicals and a biodegradable casket.

Traditional cemeteries place 1,000 plots per acre.  Foxfield Preserve will only place 100-200 per acre.  Additionally you will not find huge, costly and wasteful head stones.  They must be flat and not much larger than a sheet of paper (max 12″x18″).  It is intended that markers will also serve an ecological function.  If you don’t want a stone, that’s fine too.  They are optional and detailed records are kept to keep the locations of plots.

I encourage you to browse their site, or find a preserve and/or participating provider near you.  To do so, start by trying this database on the Green Burial Council‘s website.

In my search for more information, I found this video from an Ohio news station about Foxfield Preserve.  The view of the fields is just beautiful.  I would imagine feeling as though my love one was laid to rest respectfully in such a location.

I would like to thank WTAP (my local news station) for running this story and Leavitt Funeral Homes for bringing this option to our area.  I am happy to see these sorts of stories and changes in my area.  Kudos to them!
Amanda Hearn
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5 Comments

  • I'm glad you wrote about this. I don't think people think about these things often, but it's something we will need to ponder eventually. I wasn't even aware that there are green burials. I just assumed that you either had the formaldehyde, or were cremated and that was that. Thanks for the info!

  • In history, viewings were held in people's homes – it just seems more natural & peaceful to me. I would definitely talk to my family about it though, I'd hate to make them uncomfortable, kwim? Great post, well written as always.

  • Thank you. I know what you mean. I think that's why I kind of look at my preferences as somewhat neutral. The above appeals to me, but really my preferences would benefit no one. I would prefer my children and other loved ones to choose what would best help them be at peace. If they coincide, that's great 🙂

  • Thank you. I know what you mean. I think that's why I kind of look at my preferences as somewhat neutral. The above appeals to me, but really my preferences would benefit no one. I would prefer my children and other loved ones to choose what would best help them be at peace. If they coincide, that's great 🙂

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