Sunday, May 10, 2015

Affordable Green Burial Option

I worked with a family this week, which I have worked with before.  This family is one of humble means, and the decedent lived quite some distance from my funeral home.  Upon notification of my client’s death, my husband and I immediately began our journey to accept her into our protective custody and bring her back to the area of her birth for burial.  In life, when funds are tight, monies are spent on survival.  We must often push to the side, things that we know are inevitable yet not impending, in order to afford the bare necessities of life.  This was the situation this dear family found themselves faced with this past week.

As I arrived at my client’s home, her daughter ran out and embraced me, thanking me for coming in her time of need.  She tightly held on to me, sobbing over the loss of her beloved mother, expressing gratitude for the kindness she so desperately needed this horrific night.  The loss of her mother was devastating, and she needed someone to understand her pain, her fear and her desperate situation.

My client’s survivors decided on a partial service known as an immediate burial.  An immediate burial is a viable alternative for traditional funeral services when funds are not readily available, and there is opposition to cremation.  In most cases, immediate burial does not require embalming, it therefore offers a satisfactory alternative to survivors seeking as little environmental impact as possible.  Generally, an immediate burial must occur within twenty-four hours of death.  If the survivors have chosen a cemetery that does not require a vault for burial, an earth friendly encasement may be chosen as well.

If you find yourself in need of a more affordable burial alternative and would rather an immediate burial in place of a traditional funeral, you will need to discuss it with your funeral director.  It is also a kind gesture to discuss it with your survivors before your death.  The abrupt schedule of events and the absence of services may impose a more complicated grief recovery upon certain survivors.

Keep in mind that funerals are for the living, not the deceased.  An immediate burial does not offer consideration to family and friends and is accomplished at the convenience of the funeral home.  If your family stands in need of a more traditional funeral service but finds itself unable to acquire the appropriate funding, a graveside service may be a better alternative.

My client's daughter understood the gravity of her mother's financial situation this week and was happy to find an appropriate and affordable burial option.  Although immediate burial lacks consideration for the decedent's family, we paused a moment while her son offered a word of prayer on her behalf.  My client was a good mother and her children deeply loved her.  It is my prayer that their moment of prayer will offer them the solace needed to avoid a complicated grief recovery.

My name is Tracy Renee Lee.  I am a funeral director, author and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award.  I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.

Please follow my blog at, follow me on Twitter @PushnUpDaisies and visit my website for additional encouragement.  For information on booking speeches, go to