Art of Dying Art of Dying_Volume III_joomag - Page 30

CAITLIN DOUGHTY If you come to us, we start with the premise that you want to be more involved. you through death and after death. I'm going to be your social worker. I'm going to be your nurse. I'm going to be this person who can liaise with your family to have these difficult discussions. We're going to know what you want. It's all going to come together in a way that is meaningful.” Funeral directors may have a constituency that has seen a PBS special or New York Times article on green burial. Families are saying, "Hey, what about this?" Funeral directors are having a change of heart. That's wonderful. That's how the revolution happens. That's how we change the industry. But there is a concern that the funeral directors who proclaimed, "You know it's a hippie myth. Nobody wants green burial” will start to come around and figure out how to make it work financially for them. All of a sudden, you have green embalming fluids. There are ways to see it as a good thing, but I don't want to see green embalming used when it's not necessary. One of the essential components of having a home funeral is not having unnecessary things done to the body. Not having all of the blood drained and filled with chemicals, even organic 30 | ART OF DYING green chemicals. It’s not having the family spend more money after a long fight of cancer or other debilitating disease. In the past, women were in charge of the death process and of the dead body in the home. It was part of the domestic duty. Only in the 20th Century did men sweep in and professionalize the experience and say, "Now you have to pay for this. We're going to come in and take the body away. We're going to wear a suit. We're going to charge a lot of money. This is now a commercial industry and by the way, we don't really have room for women in the industry. You can be the secretary, or the accountant, or the flower gatherer, but the real work with the dead has to be done by men." Women were taking care of the dead just fine for thousands of years prior to this. For me, it's connected to feminism. It's connected to my history. It's connected to women wanting to reclaim relationship with the dead body. I started in the industry eleven years ago, and public advocacy a little over seven years ago.