Burials go green as more choose eco-friendly options - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Burials go green as more choose eco-friendly options

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For many, the thought of dying is just too much to think about. But for some in Central Texas, it's a chance to make plans for what happens during that final point in life

This is the Gemini Tree which is the inspiration for where we knew she would want to be if she was here with us. It's only been a few weeks since Chela Wendt-Weiland's mother, Ingrid, passed away.

She was a Gemini and immediately fell in love with this tree on their property.

Ingrid was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the beginning of June. They brought her into hospice care in August. But 10 days later she lost her battle.

"We had a lot of moments of a lot of hope that we thought she would be able to pull through, we thought we caught it early, but the way that the progress, it just went so fast," Wendt-Weiland said.

That lack of time kept the family from even thinking about planning her final arrangements. But they knew exactly what she would have wanted.

"My mom was very certain that she wanted to have a green burial, something that wasn't filling her with chemicals and unnecessary preservation," Klaus Weiland said.

So the family decided to not have her embalmed and picked out a wicker casket.

Solace Eco Friendly Funeral Services Director Janice King is woman who helped the family through it. She prides herself on intimate and eco-friendly funeral services. And most times she actually meets the deceased before their last breath.

"They want to somehow lessen the burden for their loved one. They want to make sure that they know what's going to happen so that financially they're cared for," King said.

King says the embalming process uses formaldehyde which introduces hazardous toxins into the environment and there is no law that requires people to be buried in caskets. So her motto is if it's not necessary, why use it, consume it or waste it. That's why she offers some that will naturally break down.

"A lot of them will see my banana leaf or some type of wicker or organic casket and they really like them," she said. "Most of my families, they don't want a metal casket. They want something biodegradable."

For Ingrid's family, keeping the whole process eco-friendly was a priority. But so was going through it at home. They had her viewing in their sun room and their mother never left their sight.

"There was smooth transition somehow. It wasn't all of the sudden she was taken away and gone and brought back to us in some form that isn't really recognizable and then gone again,"

Having a special place on their own land for her was just as important.

"I myself could not have thought it would mean that much but now…every time I come up the drive way I glance over and say hey sweetie, back home. It's the little things that bring the tears," Klaus Weiland said.

And going through Ingrid's death in this manner helped them with her loss.

"Wow, it gives you closure , it gives you a place to go to even though her spirit of course is gone but it still gives you a place to reconnect with her."

Also helping them lose their fear in death.

Ingrid's family also says they plan on developing where she was buried into a family area for her friends and family to gather.

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