Archive for the ‘Coffins / Caskets’ Category
I want you to remember that you can rent caskets, and maybe the corny graphic to the left will provide a visual reminder to you later. I think it’s incredibly difficult to remember everything you have to do when you are in the midst of planning a life celebration or funeral.
Here’s the good news, you can save yourself $5,000+ and refrain from purchasing a fancy casket for your Dear Aunt Betsy’s burial. The bad news is, unfortunately, not ALL funeral homes rent caskets, but many do, and it may be worth it to you to ask. A funeral home may still charge you $600+ sometimes to borrow their caskets, but, it’s a lot better than paying $4,500. Sometimes family members buy a fancy casket for wakes, and then opt to cremate their loved ones in a separate cremation container.
There are no warranties with caskets. None. Zero. Zilch. No warranties for fancier caskets, “sealed” caskets, gold caskets, metal caskets, etc. Read the fine print. Once your loved one’s remains are buried, you will not ever (hopefully) see the casket again, and it’s worth it to consider renting a casket and then opting for a more eco-friendly wooden burial container for the earth. Renting is definitely your greenest and most economical option if you are interested in a wake or service with a traditional casket.
Just a reminder. You have the legal right to ask for a price list before you even set foot in a funeral home. Funeral Directors, by law, are required to give you price information over the telephone.
This image is taken from Nature’s Casket (.com).
You may be asking… why would I want to? The answer is… you might save some money and go through a therapeutic process of building a casket with family and friends.
In 2003, Mother Earth News, wrote this article with instructions on how to build a plain, wooden casket:
Here is a tapered casket you could build from wikiHow: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Coffin.
These clever folks at Casket Furniture charge for design plans. Buy a simple, plain wooden box downloadable plan here for $40: http://www.casketfurniture.com/casket_plans.php.
Or, you can click here and get plans for free from Eco Coffins (.com): http://www.eco-coffins.com/page6.htm.
Here is a build-it-yourself coffin kit from the appropriately named website Build It Yourself Coffin Kit (.com): http://buildityourselfcoffinkit.com/. $800
Or, you can get a very similar unassembled kit for around $475 from Nature’s Casket: http://www.naturescasket.com/Unassembled.html. Assembled caskets are about $200 more. They use sustainably harvested wood, minimal amounts of metal nails, nontoxic glue, and raw linseed oil (all readily biodegradable.)
One other eco kit $499 + shipping: http://www.arkwoodcaskets.com/ (toxin free glue, 6 pieces of wood)
I found this local company on-line. They have some green casket options, and offer free delivery to Chicago. It looks like their woven caskets will run you a little over $1,000 with tax and shipping.
1030 East Northwest Highway (Route 14)
Mount Prospect, Illinois 60056
Phone – 877/368.7005
Open 24 hours a day
Free next day delivery
Their caskets accepted at all funeral homes, by Federal Law
All caskets made in U.S.A.
Visit Their Chicago Area Show Room:
Illinois Casket Depot
1030 East Northwest Highway (Route 14)
Mount Prospect, Illinois 60056
(Nice Photo Slideshow of the Cairo Museum)
I am slowly reading the book, Caring for the Dead, Your Final Act of Love, by Lisa Carlson, and came across this poignant statement on page 147:
“Jig is Up. There is no amount of embalming or any particular casket that will preserve a body in a life-like condition forever. But perhaps history has to repeat itself several times before the industry will stop perpetrating such myths.”
I never really thought too much about embalming or life preservation growing up. I do remember my grandmother telling me that her father, my great-grandfather, really appreciated being able to see his wife, my great-grandmother, dressed up with make-up on one last time. He needed to say good-bye to her. I appreciate that. I know that he loved her dearly for many, many years, and he wanted to see her again in full color.
For me, I do not need to see someone one last time. I might need to see someone if he/she died suddenly, but I do not think I need to be there and see the body in life-like hues. I might just want to hug them and touch them one last time. I prefer to remember the person I knew alive and view them in photographs and videos. That feels more real to me than an actual body without breath or soul.
I think it’s a personal preference, and I don’t want to tell you what to do with your loved one.
That being said, I wish that we were more like Egyptians and chose to embalm with herbs and natural materials rather than harsh chemicals like formaldehyde.
The only way I can imagine that would actually preserve a body indefinitely would be to freeze it forever. But, what if the back-up generator goes out? Then what? I think you can prolong decomposition, but you will never stop it. A true, airtight container in a controlled air environment does wonders for museums, but I have never seen a mummy that looked alive with color. Maybe that is why Egyptians chose to place elegant masks over their pharaoh’s faces.
What do you think? Why would you choose to embalm? (or not to embalm) Would you choose a fancy casket to preserve remains longer? Did you know that you can rent a casket for viewing?
From the jacket of Grave Matters by Mike Harris:
“A typical 10-acre swatch of cemetery ground contains enough coffin wood to construct 40 houses; nearly 1,000 tons of casket steel; 20,000 tons of vault concrete; and enough toxic embalming fluid to fill a backyard swimming pool.”
Whoa, Nelly. Sheesh.
Here is an article on Grove Funeral Memorial Chapel and Funeral Home in Elk Grove Village:
CBS2 Chicago reported on a customer who purchased a coffin from an outside source and then was discouraged to use it for her relative.
As a reminder, the FTC protects consumers who are interested in purchasing coffins from a separate location (i.e. Costco, Wal-Mart or an on-line source) in order to find a less expensive option.
As you have probably heard by now, Costco sells caskets. Here is a link to their FAQ on the why and what of Costco Casket land:
The funeral industry on-line is possibly weirder than the funeral business in town. Granted, not all funeral places are weird, and not all funeral directors are mean. We do hope to find some wonderful, caring funeral directors as we navigate our way around Chicago, and will offer up a rating and review service for funeral homes soon.
In the meantime, we will continue to provide you with links and resources to help make your life celebration as seamless as possible.
So, what is a coffin? What is a casket? What kind should you buy? What are caskets/coffins made from? Here is some information about coffins. If you click on the pictures the links will lead you to on-line sources. We do not know who is running this website, but we do like the content and the descriptions provided. If you have a question about a coffin, go here:
So, who says you have to buy your coffin from a funeral home? Quick, you guessed it, the Funeral Director! Truth be told, there are laws protecting you from Funeral Directors. You do not HAVE to buy your coffin from a funeral home. You can purchase it on-line and have it shipped to you quickly. Or, you can walk right over to Costco or Wal-Mart and order one, or call funeral homes in Chicago and sort out which one offers the one you want at the lowest price. (They are REQUIRED by law to give you accurate pricing and you do not have to even tell them your name!)
Good news! There are now eco-friendly coffins for those of you who would like to go a greener route.
If you know of funeral homes in the city that have green options please share them with Wake the Memory, LLC , so that we can report on them! We are all for supporting local suppliers when there are options available.
Here is an on-line green source for you in the meantime:
Recycled corrugated cardboard, unbleached cotton. The only caveat is that you have to assemble it. 100% biodegradeable and 100% combustible. (Text taken directly from site. Wake the Memory, LLC has not tested these out.) Pricing is $125-$325. Caskets are shipped, unassembled from St. Louis. It could take three+ days to arrive in Chicago.