A couple years back I met a group of gentle people at their favorite pub for a funeral arrangement. Wanda’s friends were stumped that I couldn’t list Wanderer as her occupation, and The Earth as the accompanying industry on her death certificate. After all, this is what she was and what she did. Her friends felt they could only truly honor Wanda the Wanderer by laying her to rest on the 15 country acres where she lived. So I made some calls, confirmed with the county’s Land Planning and Zoning Department regarding home burial regulations, lined up a backhoe, and we were set.
Wanda’s funeral service was top drawer. Wanda’s friends and family played drums, chanted, and spoke of her kindness. We all held hands to form a circle around her newly dug resting place, and stood in silence as her three sons lowered her gently into the ground. Her tiny frame was cloaked with a quilt she had made as a teenager. Soon the plain grave was covered with earth, with a knoll of dirt on top to compensate for settling that will happen over time. There was no marker, just native foliage. After a closing prayer we feasted on fish caught in the local river.
This beautiful experience opened my eyes to the fact that burying loved ones at home can help people through the grieving process by adding an immense amount of joy in caring for the body of their loved one on their terms. This intimate time for the family allows privacy in saying goodbye, and also provides a convenient place to visit their beloved.
Elizabeth F., Boring, Oregon