Gransnet forums


Green/Eco Burial

(46 Posts)
sprite66 Tue 28-Aug-18 18:06:10

Something we all have to consider sooner or later. OH has recently become disillusioned with the Catholic church so we are now wondering about a burial/funeral which would be appropriate for us both.
Another issue we are pondering is the interfering busy body who lives nearby and goes to all Catholic funerals be the person lapsed or not.
Does anyone have experience of woodland burials and as an aside from that as these take place on private land can they be private?

MawBroon Tue 28-Aug-18 18:25:00

They are not mutually contradictory, you know.

Diana54 Tue 28-Aug-18 18:31:21

I went to a friends Eco Burial a couple of years ago, a nice semi woodland overlooking a beauty spot, wicker coffin then plant a tree on top. I'm not sure but I think a few prayers were said, then back to the village hall for a cup of tea.
All in all nice and informal

M0nica Tue 28-Aug-18 18:32:42

You can be a catholic and have an eco burial, or a cremation. That hasn't been banned since the 1960s

mostlyharmless Tue 28-Aug-18 19:10:46

When my lovely sister died at 52, she had a woodland burial.
She had always been a hippy type and had expressed an interest in woodland burials.
It was a fantastic, life affirming, event with everything done by friends and family (apart from the actual digging of the grave). Friends and family carried her coffin onto the site. We decorated the willow coffin with dozens of white roses tucked around the edges. Children put drawings and messages on the coffin. Friends lowered the coffin and later filled it in.
People gave little speeches or wrote poems - coordinated informally by a friend.
There was a gazebo for light refreshments and music. Children and family dogs were running around.
We then went to a nearby small hotel where amazing home cooked food had been provided by the mourners. It was a lovely event and a good way to honour her.
It was very informal, but could be as formal or informal, or as religious as you liked sprite.

MissAdventure Tue 28-Aug-18 19:23:37

Funeral directors now offer woodland burials.

jenpax Tue 28-Aug-18 22:49:18

My darling mum had a woodland burial in 2007.
We chose a wicker coffin and decorated with big sun flowers.
It was a lovely service in the small chapel before hand and a mix of input from me, her only child, and her 3 DGC.
We had a wake at a local hotel afterwards.

merlotgran Tue 28-Aug-18 23:13:30

We went to a woodland burial last year. It took place in the morning and then there was a thanksgiving service in our local church early afternoon where everyone who didn't attend the burial was able to pay their respects.

It all finished off at the deceased's favourite pub/restaurant.

A long day but full of love.

sprite66 Wed 29-Aug-18 08:44:33

Thank you for your very positive responses.
Yes, I realise Catholic practices have changed, the problem being we wish to avoid Mrs Interference having any part of a local ceremony which is a public event Sounds a bit OTT but this person does not take no for an answer and under the guise of concern has often been an unwelcome and gossipy presence in others problems.

Very grateful for the descriptions of woodland burials, we are planning to visit 2 in the coming weeks.

cheneslieges132 Thu 30-Aug-18 09:40:41

But please be aware that if the person dies abroad (I have noticed quite a lot of Gransnetters live in France etc) the body has to be embalmed if it is to be brought back to the UK, and must be shipped in a zinc/lead-lined coffin. When embalming has been done, the body can NOT be buried in a Woodland/Natural Cemetery... I know this for a fact, as that is why I have stopped living in France myself - I bought my Woodland Plot 25 years ago, and these rules are strictly adhered to.

MawBroon Thu 30-Aug-18 09:49:00

TBH sprite it seems you are planning to go to excessive lengths to avoid the presence of one person.
I was not aware of any “intruders” at DH’s Requiem Mass last December, too many friends and family and frankly my thoughts were elsewhere - I cannot believe that would matter to you if you were in that situation. It totally pales into insignificance - my least favourite person in the world could have turned up and I would neither have known nor cared.
And secondly if it is the other way round, would you know even know?

Anniebach Thu 30-Aug-18 10:20:42

I was so unaware of who attended my husbands funeral , at the graveside after the service I had such a shock when a voice called - out x x police , I looked up and there was a rank of uniformed police officers saluting, I didn’t know they were standing there.

Bluekitchen192 Thu 30-Aug-18 10:23:06

I too was wondering about the lengths you will go to to avoid a local gossip. While woodland burials sound lovely, would it matter so much if this person attended?. You will be dead after all. Funerals especially Muslim and Christian funerals are often taken to be public events by the lonely and excluded. Maybe a friend deputised to takeof this person? or that person given some kind of task say handing out service sheets or making tea?. You'd be amazed at what a little acknowledgement can do.

jenni123 Thu 30-Aug-18 10:23:37

Because I went to live abroad when in my late 50's and did not intend to return here I have no life insurance. I have been back in UK for 5 years and as my children are not really well off i didn't want them to have the burden of having to pay for my funeral, I have only state pension. I researched it all and I have told my children to deal with the funeral the cheapest way, eco preferably . I found a company online who do really pretty eco coffins, so in with my will, I have printed a picture of one of these coffins and said to use something like this. The other thing I am doing is when I can save enough I buy premium bonds, these are also stored with my will and are to be used towards the cost of the funeral. My thinking is, should I have an emergency and need the money I can cash the bonds other than that, they are there to offset the cost of my funeral plus always the hope of a win of course.

Sheilasue Thu 30-Aug-18 10:39:39

We had a dear neighbour buried in a casket, we thought that was a great idea.
Personally I will be cremated, my parents are buried and h and I are the only ones to look after grave, my sister lives to far away and my brother isn’t interested. No one will look after it when we are gone.
So cremation for us can catholics have a cremations?

Anniebach Thu 30-Aug-18 10:43:02

Yes Sheilasue , last year My son in laws father’s service was in the RC church followed by cremation so his ashes could be taken home to Ireland

Izabella Thu 30-Aug-18 10:45:22

A straight committal to the crematorium would be the only way of excluding anyone. Much cheaper too, although not for everyone I know.

starbird Thu 30-Aug-18 10:57:50

If you do not have a service in a church, you can make it known to your family that your funeral will be by invitation only. There is no need to announce it, funeral directors can be told it is family and invited friends only and not to tell anyone who rings up any details or put it on their website (some have a forthcoming funerals page with details).
But if you want the church involved, and even if not, why not show some Christian compassion and let this woman attend? It may be her way of feeling useful. You can feel pity for her as you look down from wherever you will be!

MawBroon Thu 30-Aug-18 11:27:23

Jenni123 don’t be too sure about any “economies” in green burials!
Unless you are comparing with the six plumed black horses/casket with brass handle and knobs and trimmings type of funeral I think you will find that willow coffins, natural fabric linings and green burial ground fees actually work out as more expensive.
OK there are cardboard coffins too I suppose, but “simple and eco” does not necessarily equate to cheaper.

homefarm Thu 30-Aug-18 11:29:39

We have just given my father a green burial. My mother wanted cremation so he saved the ashes and she has been interred with him at his request.
It was a lovely and very peaceful event.
Minister did a grave side service. No hymns just as he wished.
Yes, it was private, just family and one close friend of his. It will depend on how widely you advertise the event.
If you don't want gatecrashers don't make the date public.
The site he chose is beautiful at all seasons of the year.
I can certainly recommend it, we followed the event with afternoon high tea, I know he would have enjoyed it

Stella14 Thu 30-Aug-18 11:50:38

Hubby and I both want an ‘eco’ natural burial ground, burial. We have put a letter with details together with our Wills. We both love the idea that it can be a picnic tea, with good music, flowers from our garden etc and that our disposal won’t damage the environment.

OldMeg Thu 30-Aug-18 12:17:58

Not all woodland buriels take place on private land. Our local council has a woodland burial site.

MawBroon Thu 30-Aug-18 12:30:16

About 14 months ago while Paw was very poorly in hospital he told me that he wanted to be burned in the Green Burial Ground abou 5 Miles from our village. When I looked them up they were full with pre-booked plots so I had to tell him to jolly well get better and get himself home.
(which he did, after a fashion)
When the end came last November I found I could have a plot in our lovely peaceful village churchyard, looking down over the fields and a short 10 minute dog walk which Hattie and I do every day. So I brought him “home” to his place of rest.
I respected his wishes as far as I could though, a simple oak coffin without twiddly bits, (the wicker ones looked too much like a picnic hamper) natural cotton linings, no artificial fibres and he will have a Cumbrian slate stone in due course.
We must each of us do what we feel is right and for me, that kept him closer to me.

GreenGran78 Thu 30-Aug-18 12:52:34

Though it doesn't suit everyone many people are avoiding the expense of a 'proper' funeral, especially if they are not religious. The deceased is taken straight to the crematorium, and the family hold a 'celebration of life' get-together instead. From what I have heard it is often a more happy and satisfactory way of remembering them.
It isn't always easy to keep the details of a funeral secret. A lot of churches publish the details in their news bulletins and websites. Many 'nosy neighbours' are lonely people seeking to connect with others. We have one at our church who attends all the funerals, weddings, baptisms, and anything else that is going on. She is welcomed with an indulgent smile.
Whatever you decide, I hope that you both have many happy years of life ahead of you.

Granny3Rose Thu 30-Aug-18 13:06:04

I have buried two of my sons in a natural burial ground - yes, it's a private burial ground. It's a peaceful place way out in the countryside, full of wild flowers and trees. It is where my husband and I will also be buried - the plots are booked. My sons' funerals were the most beautiful I have ever been to. For each one only close friends and family were invited to the burial where a humanist celebrant conducted a short and lovely but heart-wrenching ceremony. We then went to a hired hall back in town for a much longer 'celebration of life' humanist ceremony then food, attended by the wider circle of friends and acquaintances.

We had a humanist celebrant for each funeral and they spent a very long time with us 'getting to know' our son and gently suggesting what form the ceremony might take and tailoring it to include our own ideas. When they had written the ceremony they emailed it to us so we could make sure it was what we wanted. Each of the funerals was a very loving experience for us and our family and all our sons' friends.