Monday, November 23, 2009

The modern American-style funeral

Totally DIY:

HOCKINGPORT, Ohio -- Jesse Hayes' family, already overcome by grief after he died in a house fire last month, quickly had to come to grips with another unthinkable reality.

With no money for a funeral, they would have to bury him themselves.

And so the day before Hayes' graveside service Oct. 15, his cousin and a handful of volunteers gathered with their shovels at Stewart Cemetery, a quiet spot in the woods not far from the Ohio River in southern Ohio.

They spent four hours digging with the shovels before finally being forced to bring in a backhoe when they hit rock about 3 feet down.

After a brief graveside service the next day, the family went to the nearby Lions Club for a meal provided by friends while the volunteers returned to cover the casket with dirt, finishing the grim task.

From the Columbus Dispatch, via zadok in this iTulip thread. This wasn't always so:

The state once provided assistance for indigent funerals, but the aid was eliminated a few years ago and not restored in this year's budget. The burden had fallen to counties, townships, churches and community groups to bury the dead when money is short. But many of those sources are running dry, too.

"Now, what's started happening is people are digging their own graves to make it more affordableit's the result of a long cycle of picking away at programs and cutting benefits, and because the economy is bad, other resources that may have been available before just aren't anymore," said Jack Frech, director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services.

It's noteworthy to see the responses, both the comments on the story itself and the replies in the thread. One of the comments reads as follows:
This is a tough situation .......... been there and done that .......... my brothers and I dig our father's grave , there wasn't enough money . But we understood , that is not the Governments responsibility , it first of all was our job to provide for our own, and when that isn't possible , it is the church, that needs to step in , even if they were not members , and of course the relatives and community are responsible.
My emphasis. How ironic that many people support separation of church and state, but then advocate that most of the state's functions be transferred to the church.

1 comment:

Ixion said...

Such big issues here and all I find myself wondering is if they were obliged to provide their own casket and do the embalming themselves.