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Why Natural Burial?


Why Natural Burial?

Natural burial is like having a midwife for the transition at the end of our lives. By returning to the traditional burial process, our grieving is clarified and it becomes a healing way to return dust to dust.

Bodies do not have to be embalmed, coffins do not have to be in concrete vaults, and any spiritual leader worth their salt will tell you those practices complicate and confuse the grieving process. It becomes an expensive production aimed at distancing us from the reality of death. In every religious tradition burial rites include practices for how to prepare bodies and let them go.

We met a midwife whose daughter died. She said she didn’t want her daughter to go to an undertaker so she washed her daughter’s body and brushed her hair and wrapped her in her own blanket. Then because they lived on enough land, the family was able to dig the grave for their daughter. Without prompting she said, as the grave was dug, singing rang out from the gathered group as they honored with sweat and tears this beloved child. To die into the arms of our earth as we make our way to the memory of God gives us hope for how we should all live.

Without a conservation cemetery those old traditions are harder to uphold in Tennessee and are contingent upon access to private burial grounds, economic resources, and individual research.