Walt Whitman called the grass "the beautiful uncut hair of graves." At the time he wrote the poem "What is the Grass?" the bodies beneath the ground was probably feeding the vegetation since embalming did not become widespread in the United States until after the Civil War. In recent years, some people have embraced a green burial that does not use embalming or a standard casket. This method allows the dead to return to the earth as they did before the Civil War. If you are environmentally conscious or want to embrace a more natural exit, you should consider a green burial.
Embalming became popular during the Civil War as a way to preserve soldiers' bodies that were being shipped home. When someone is embalmed, their bodily fluids are drained and replaced by embalming fluid, which allows the corpse to look lifelike. Embalming will not preserve the body forever, but it does slow down decomposition. Many people find this method comforting, and the practice will undoubtedly continue for some years to come. Other people worry about the environmental aspects of embalming fluid and prefer to decompose naturally without introducing more chemicals into the ground. Others simply wish to return to the earth due to their personal beliefs. If you choose a green burial, your body will be preserved by dry ice or refrigeration until it is buried. Not all cemeteries accept green burials, so before you plan your service, you need to find one in your area that does.
For a green burial, you will choose a natural materials casket or shroud that facilitates your body returning to the soil. Your grave will not have a cement liner, either. If you desire a casket, you may choose from rattan, wood, bamboo, seagrass, or a biodegradable fabric. If you are planning to use a shroud, just about anything will do as long as it too is biodegradable. If you choose a green burial, you will not be taking any steps to preserve your body once it is underground.
A green burial will save you money, mostly on the casket. The service itself can still be as elaborate as you like. You can find a funeral home, such as Farone & Son Inc, to arrange the details of your funeral. Going green does not mean forgoing a church service or a visitation.
When planning your funeral, you have a variety of choices available to you. If you like the idea of quickly becoming a part of the earth after you die, consider choosing a green burial.