Caring for the Body

Editor’s note: this the third in a series of posts about natural burial co-written by Kent Burreson and Beth Hoeltke. The first was “Pondering our Death.”

As we noted in our previous post, there is a wide spectrum of burial possibilities available to us today. Our main focus in these posts have been to look back in time, to look at the burial practices of a hundred or so years ago, the burial practices of our forefathers.

In natural burial, the focus is directed away from traditional funeral homes to handle and prepare the body and instead return these responsibilities to the family, loved ones, and church of the one who has died.

In this post, we will look at the intimate personal care of the body of our loved ones. Did you know that you are allowed to spend as much time as you want with your loved one after a death occurs? Did you know, by law, you are not required to have your loved one whisked off to a funeral home immediately following death? Did you know refrigeration is a viable option in order to provide time to mourn and process your thoughts rather than rushing into emotional decisions? Did you know you could keep your loved one at home, or return them to home, in order for you and others to care for the body? This could involve you in washing, drying, and dressing the body. Did you know, as long as the body is kept cool, usually via dry ice, you could have the visitation in your own home? These are just a few ways we can be intimately involved in the continual care of our loved one, even after death.

Society tells us, “Leave it to the professionals,” but who knows our loved one better than we do? Who would provide more intimate, loving care? We would like you, the son, daughter, husband, friend, or part of the body of Christ, to consider the possibility of caring for the body of your loved one after death has occurred.

In the next couple posts we will look at various ways in which you can personally participate in the burial of your loved one. What might it look like? How might you prepare for this sort of care of your loved one’s body?