This is the part that naturally worries us after someone has died – what must we do with their body?
First of all – there’s no rush, take your time and consider the options. If the person died in hospital, or is with the coroner, they will take care of them, giving you some time to think and make arrangements. If the person died at home, there’s still no rush. The most important thing is to cool the body and keep it cool and covered. Use camping ice packs or bags of ice cubes wrapped in towels. We can help you to take care of their body at home, to give you that precious time – to think, to gather your family and say goodbye in your own way before the funeral.
So what do you need to think about?
You can find lots of practical help and advice online on how to take care of the body and how to arrange a cremation or burial from The Natural Death Centre or The Good Funeral Guide. You can call, email or you can borrow or buy a copy to guide you every step of the way.
Unless the body of the person who has died is donated to medical science, the law rather starkly requires that you have to “dispose of the body”.
There is no law that says you must hold a ‘funeral’ of any sort, nor that you must employ a funeral director.
The only pressing decision to be made is about the choice between cremation or burial, simply because extra doctors’ forms are currently required for cremation.
After that you can go your own way. There are those who say, ‘when I die just chuck me out with the rubbish, I don’t want anyone wasting money on a fancy funeral – a cardboard box will do for me.‘ Some may like the idea of a home funeral where their family takes care of them on that final journey. Others imagine a peaceful, perhaps private, natural burial surrounded by the sounds of nature. Others might prefer a real celebration of life with the emphasis on the ceremony – favourite music, family and friends saying a few words and sharing memories. Then there’s the traditional funeral cortege with a black hearse, followed by a black limousine with a sense of good old fashioned Victorian style and the formal procession arriving at the church or crematorium. There are many options in between – these days you really can go your own way. What matters is that each funeral is meaningful to the person who has died and to their families and friends.
If you decide you’d like help with arranging the funeral, call Evelyn’s Funerals. As I spend time with you and listen to you talking about the person who’s died, the right service will evolve. There are lots of choices available from the most simple no fuss, no frills direct cremation, to … well, to whatever you would like. We can look at all the available options and you can choose what best fits your wishes and budget.
Picture – Wooden memorial from Honest Coffins