Not just for the skint

Charles Cowling

Nice home funeral story here:

When Cathleen, a registered nurse, passed away at Hinds Hospice in Fresno, no mortuary was called due to previous planning. The Fresno County Coroner’s Office transported her to their facility and kept her until her funeral Jan. 26.

The morning of her funeral, she was placed in a silk-lined pine casket built by her husband and family friend Roric Russell.

She was wrapped in a quilt, and her husband of 38 years placed her favorite pillow, a Teddy bear and her guitar in the casket. Bob Carlin and Russell then transported her to the North Fork Cementer.

“I just wanted to help Bob out,” Russell said. “I went with him (Bob) to the funeral home and the least expensive casket was $800. I asked if we could build a casket and the mortician told me that no one does that but there is no law against it. I asked Bob if he wanted to build one and he said yes. We bought the wood that day.”

Plans for building the casket were found from an old Mother Earth Magazine article.

The Carlins had been together since they attended high school in New Jersey prior to moving to North Fork.

Bob Carlin said he felt good about building his wife’s casket as it made the process much more personal.

North Fork musician John Kilburn gave Cathleen guitar lessons for 12 years and helped organize a life celebration, held Dec. 13 at North Fork Studio.

“We were able to honor Cathleen while she was still strong. She sang with us and people got to tell her what she meant to them. It was very powerful,” Kilburn said.

I’ve only chosen extracts from the full news story, which you can read here. It stresses how much money all this saved. Sure, it does save money if you do it all yourself, but alongside the emotional value of the experience, that’s a detail.

Two big misconceptions going around at the moment: home funerals are for the skint; funeral pyres are for Hindus. Wrong on both counts. They are for everybody. It’s a choice.

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