[Comment is free] Time for burial to die a death

Originally published in The Guardian.

Counsellors talk about “letting go” as the last phase of the mourning process, but before the bereaved can get there, they have the urgent problem of “getting rid”. Human bodies need to be disposed of, although not primarily for health reasons – corpses are surprisingly benign, according to the World Health Organisation. Funeral practices are about much more than hygiene. Dealing with the dead is a last tribute to their humanity; but there’s also a powerful element of disgust involved too. Continue reading