Revised Spring 2008: Foreman
Death and Dying
When one loses someone they love it is often heartbreaking. Death is something everyone goes through, or will go through sometime in their life. It is something that is often hard for people to talk about. In fact, just using the word death is hard for people, instead people use phrases or words like passing on, expired or gone to the Lord. The subject of death is often avoided; people have a problem dealing with this part of life because it is something no one can explain. Losing a loved one is hard enough as it is, but now we have to deal with making all the arrangements that follow a person’s death, and we often don’t have enough time to grieve. When someone passes away many things come along, such as funeral homes, mortuaries, hospitals, paper work, obituaries, cost, and carrying out the wishes of the person who has died through burial or cremation.
The support and help from family and friends can make the process of death easier. With help one can begin the grieving cycle and begin to move on with life quicker. However, there are also things that can interfere, such as arguing over how to take care of the body. If this does happen it makes the process of death longer and harder to deal with. Knowing what is legal and illegal can make this process as easy as possible.
There are many juridic controls related to the burial or cremation of someone after they have e died. Each mortuary is different and many states have different laws. Generally after death, paperwork has to be completed before burial of a body can occur. A death certificate has to be filled out and signed by the county coroner and a physician, then has to be submitted within 72 hours to the Office of Vital Statistics. A register of the grave, which includes name, address, date of birth, date and place of burial and the name of the “minister” must also be completed. After the body has been taken to the funeral home it is prepared either for burial or for viewing during the services, depending on the wishes of the family. There is often confusion regarding the laws of burial and cremation. This is because of the different rules of each mortuary and state. It is important that one reads over all of the different rules before making decisions. For example, burying the deceased outside a cemetery can be hard because you can’t bury to close to water sources or highways. Also, some places the headstones have to be a certain height if they are out of the ground. Knowing all the rules and guidelines will make it easier to make your decision.
One is able to take a sick family member that has died as long as they will be buried or cremated immediately. After the dead are buried the earth acts as a deodorizer, securing that there will be no further spread of disease. No coffin shall be buried in any grave with less than 30 inches of soil between the surface of the ground (Section 103 Burial Act 1847 chapter 34). This means you have to dig a hole that measures at least 3 to 4 feet, however, most are 6 feet. It is not necessary to have a coffin; the body can be dressed or naked with a sheet or in a body bag. All of these rules are listed in a book or hand out in a mortuary or court house. Rules such as these are not usually known by people because it is something that you don’t often seek for until presented with the situation of a loved one dying. There are penalties and punishments to not following these rules.
No one wants to experience death and dying, nor do they want to have to deal with the regulations that proceed. A loss of someone you love so much, followed by having to do all the paper work and deciding what the best way to take care of the body is, is burdensome. Dealing with the juridics of death is a huge frustration in life. It is something that we have no idea about, and that scares people. Some people have strong faith, and know where they are going or what happen to them post mortem, however for most, it is hard to explain the unknown. As human beings we like knowing the outcome of things, but in the case of death and dying there is no way of knowing. This is, I think, one of life’s biggest burdens. The being good through “direct action” is harder to describe through this topic. With religion for example, everyone knows what they will do or where they will go. Some people, on the other hand, have no idea what it all means and choose to ignore the word death. But, you must expect it because it will happen, it is, ironically, the only thing we are certain of in life. We will die, and we have to be put into the earth in some way.
Inactivity or Withdrawal
It is possible to escape the controls that follow death by conducting the burial of someone you have lost on your own but more planning is involved by finding land, or in the case of cremation finding somewhere to spread the remains. By doing this, one can escape controls from funeral homes, spending way too much money, and putting more waste into our earth. Do it yourself as a family and escape the controls that come with death.