I have concentrated on burial so far because that is what I thought would be best. The best burial I could imagine, at this point, would be in a shallow grave, in a mushroom suit, and in a woodland. It would be free from the ravages of council demands, free from exorbitant undertaker costs, and be as eco-friendly and green as possible – the shallow grave reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the mushroom suit taking care of all the toxins – even dental fillings.
However, I would like to leave something for future archaeology – and that seems to be frowned upon by the green brigade. You just can’t win, sometimes.
The drawbacks are that it places a bit of a burden on the grieving survivors – it is far easier to just call in a random funeral director to take care of it all.
I can’t get a mushroom suit quite yet, and the woodland locations are not very convenient at the present time, so it’s far from being particularly planet-hugging – being driven miles and possibly kept in a fridge – and without my time capsule of memories, I may as well consider cremation.
Cremation is always cheaper than burial. I don’t see the point of burying ashes – which is good because that is an extra cost.
The cheapest type of cremation is Direct Cremation – this is what David Bowie picked.
The dead body is collected during normal working hours and cremated at a time convenient to the undertakers. No family viewing, ceremony, mourners, and often no ashes to take away – this is usually extra.
According to the Money Advice Website,
“We suggest a budget of about £1,600. We found several companies online offering direct cremation for around £1,000. This price normally includes third party costs such as doctor’s certification and crematorium fees.
“If you’d like to have the ashes returned to you, this can cost an extra £100. And collecting the body outside of normal working hours, or from a nursing home or residence is about an extra £500. This brings the total cost of a direct cremation to £1,600.
“Costs may vary depending on location. So, shop around and check whether the company offers a reasonable price for covering your area.
“If you choose to hold a ceremony afterwards, you’ll need to factor in these costs as well. However, there are a variety of low cost ways to have a ceremony, such as having it at home.”
Clearly, it is possible to have an almost free funeral on a completely DIY basis – personally digging a shallow grave in the back garden. But Direct Cremation seems to be the cheapest option using a funeral director.
It is cheap, and frees all burdens from the bereaved at an emotional time. But it lacks niceties, and smacks a bit of “good riddance”. As such there is a risk of upsetting people in a state of grief.
I suppose it could be considered as a baseline or starting point – adding only those things that are needed, to create a package that ticks all the boxes.