Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Drive-Through Funerals, Bacon Coffins, Modern Death Rituals (Video 2:41)

Through the years, funeral rituals have grown to new heights with awe-inspiring audio and visual displays including themes that would make the deceased proud. With the existence of drive-through cemeteries with low, tilted monuments that glow in the dark for easy reading at night, it’s no surprise that drive-through funerals where you can “have it your way” followed.

Drive-through funeral homes with bulletproof glass provide the opportunity for mourners and the curious to drive or walk up from the street, view the deceased resting in peace, and sign the guestbook. When the deceased is displayed just right, a high compliment might be expressed such as “Look how she’s dressed. Bless her soul. That looks just like her.”

Funerals have evolved in many ways including having the deceased posed in action positions such as riding a motorcycle. Some golf lovers are being funeralized with decorations, services, and food centered around a golf theme. Coffins created to look like bacon (with bacon-scented air fresheners), animals, plants, and vehicles are only a few innovations reflecting creativtiy beyond the traditional.

Bacon lovers can experience the satisfaction of bacon-decorated coffins with bacon-scented air fresheners.

Some say that all these modern death ritual innovations trivialize death and take away from the spirituality of the service. Others say they customize people's feelings while including the spirit of those who have been unfastened from this life. One thing most people agree on is that relatives and friends who die will keep on being mourned and celebrated. This video shows mourners paying respects at a drive-through funeral.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog


  1. Shani, I think I rolled my eyes when I first heard about drive-through funerals, but now that I'm working closely with elderly folks, I see that for many of them, getting in and out of a car is a huge ordeal. For those folks, there may be no other way to pay last respects, so I've softened my approach to that. But as much as I do love bacon, I think I can live (and die) without the bacon air-fresheners. To each his own, I guess.

  2. PJ, Minnesota, you bring up a very practical reason for supporting drive-through funerals. They would also be helpful for hose who are disabled, ill, or just not wanting to be around crowds.

    I'm sure the dead man posed on a motorcycle has opened the door for people in many occupations and with many passions being memorialized doing what they loved.

  3. Shani: It's the one ritual we all go through without really taking part. I have mixed feelings about things changing in that field. Dignity is of the utmost importance, so is compassion and sensitivity. I'm sure the modern funeral director knows the importance of personalizing the service to the family's wishes--regardless of how different that request might be. Thank you for keeping the conversation going. d

  4. Thank you for joining the conversation. I know how you feel. I have mixed feeling about a lot of changes in society these days. They keep coming, and I'm surprised sometimes that I have grown to accept some of them, like this blog conversation, as good.