I have made some strong decisions about my last days or months to be in this "earth suit." You see, I believe the Spirit is eternal and the body is its 3D container for the duration of biological life here. The last breath of my mother was not surprising. I surmised her Spirit had left about 3 days earlier with the family gathered around saying goodbye. She went into a coma after that and never responded again. In addition, she had been "seeing" beyond the confines of the room for a good many weeks.
So my decisions around the dying process have become proactive. I will not burden my remaining family...daughter, grandchildren, etc...with trying to figure out where to "put me." Also, I don't want to intrude on their lives to come and take care of me 24/7. I've made a pact with myself and my daughter (not that she likes it) that there will be some way to get out of this earth space with dignity, grace, and determination. If I have to physically relocate to use measures for "easy release", so be it. Death is not something to worship or fear. It is a sweet transition through another door.
My mother had her final burial wishes lined out, and had them in place for years. No embalming, no visitation, next-day burial. So even at 94, she had a green burial in a way. A 2017 survey of the National Funeral Directors Association found that 53.8% of Americans were open to exploring"green" or natural burial, that experts say has the least carbon impact. "The term green burial is just a 2018 phrase for what we used to call 'burial'," says Joshua Slocum, executive director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, a nonprofit organization based in South Burlington, Vermont. "You simply have the body placed either in a shroud or an easily biodegradable container, then buried directly in the soil. That's it."
The false perception that not embalming is illegal is slowly being rectified. And the usual alternative of cremation is being clarified, as evidence of carbon and mercury emissions are coming to the forefront. The Green Burial Council (GBC), a nonprofit, states that the caskets and concrete vaults/grave liners are not eco-friendly at all and also unnecessary.
Finding a cemetery that accepts "green" burial is a challenge at this time. Some hybrid cemeteries have a section for such. A list of available spots is on the GBC website, https://greenburialcouncil.org/.
The future holds some innovative alternatives, like flameless cremation with alkaline hydrolysis and biodegradable burial pods with trees. The greatest innovation I see is the demystifying of the process of dying. Opening the conversation with relatives and exploring together final wishes and preparations is a start. Death doulas and "in home" visitation/wake practitioners are becoming more and more available. I believe it is only in releasing the fear of death and dying that we truly can be free to live!