You were probably as surprised as I was when I first came across the concept of Do it Yourself Funerals (hereinafter, “DIY”). Funerals do not seem to be the sort of “project” that you would want to attempt by yourself. The further I dug in though, the more sense it started to make.
Granted this is not for everyone, but it is an interesting concept. Before you dismiss this article as something morbid or disturbing please hear me out.
Here are some of the drawbacks of traditional funerals:
- Cost (range anywhere from $2,000-$50,000)
- You only have certain times where you can visit the body
- Often times you are unfamiliar with those who are handling the body
- Overall the funeral can be very impersonal
Personally, I am not sure that a DIY funeral is my cup of tea. This is what I do know though. When my Dad died when I was 22, I got more and more closure every time I visited the body. The first time was hard to see, the next time I felt like I was seeing a shell, and every time after that it became easier to accept that he was gone. Luckily for me, we were able to go and see the body anytime we wanted and the Mortuary was only a few blocks away. I must have gone five or six times. My experience seems similar to the experience others I have learned about.
There is one instance where I think that I would like to take care of the body and prepare it for burial or cremation. That would be if I ever had a child that passed away. I would want to care for the body, dress it, and get it ready like have done hundreds of times before. I would want it close so that I could absorb every possible experience before the final goodbye. I would want to do this especially if there were not some sort of disfigurement.
Utah gives all rights to the parents/family to take care of their deceased. Funeral homes have replaced the family service and have offered every convenience possible. I have personally met with every funeral service provider in Southern Utah service and will pick up the body at the time of death and be the last ones to leave at the grave site. They can take care nearly all the planning and details. I think that going through these details helps the grieving come to terms with the reality and get closure.
If you are interested in a DIY funeral there are several resources out there than can help you. If you want to plan your own funeral in partial DIY way make sure you think through all the steps. These details range from the practical size of the homemade casket to the sentimental such as what items should be buried with the body. Just like any DIY project, extra planning on the front end will save frustration and regret in the execution. Please see below for additional resources.
This video shows the experience of one couple and the DIY experience.