A Burial during a Crisis

By Mike

A couple weeks ago I had the unfortunate task of burying my sister cat (little man). Not because she was physically unable to do but mentally unable.  It was about 11pm and very dark where I live. Knowing that we had to put the animal in the ground soon I went outside and proceeded to look for a good resting place for little man. I finally decided to on a spot and began to dig the hole. Now I know that digging in florida ground is not that hard but what I did not realize that it would not be easy either. What I found out that the dirt and sand mix in florida is extremely heavy and hard to dig into. Its hard because the sand likes to spread out and and collapse the hole when you get about a foot down. After I got the hole dug and let me tell ya it took a half an hour to dig a 3 ft hole I went inside retrieved the cat and buried the remains.

The next day after having a cup of tea and trying to wake up I began to think about what happened the night before.  The first question that came to mind was “what would happen if I had to bury someone I care about or anyone for that matter?”  That’s when other questions started to pop into my head. This article is about those same questions that most people don’t think about. Not because they don’t want to, no in fact because we don’t realize them. It truly amazes me how hard it would be to do such a task under such stress. Most of us have a basic plan on what to do with the remains, but have we really thought about how hard it will be?  Here some of those questions that I came up with.

What would happen if I had to bury someone I care about or anyone for that matter?”

After the initial shock of death it is best to get the body in the ground quickly. There are many mental factors that you will have to overcome. First of all your still grieving their death and that makes it alot harder to think and react to whatever you have to do. This is where your mental training and preparedness comes into practice. You must be ready for such a scenario as it happens, how you prepare is entirely up to you. However  it might be better to discuss this with family and/or your group first. This might make decisions and help get a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) ironed out in advance, that way you’re not trying to figure this out at the last moment.

 

     “LOCATION, Where do I bury/burn the remains?”

Sounds easy right? Well not really, see it would be more difficult in the city then say the rural areas. For those of us who live in urban areas it’s not like we may have a large backyard to lay down a corpse. Will I be noticed burying a body? More than likely you  will, and that will create problems of its own. In the cites you may not have a place to bury it and burning the remains might be an options. Your morals and personal beliefs will have to steer you in what direction you might want to go. In the rural areas it will be easier to find a location, and much more discreet than in a city or  town. Burning the remains have their challenges themselves. If you live in an urban area, burning something might get you noticed and attract others who might want to do harm. Ultimately burying might be the best option.

 

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    “How do I dig the hole and will it be difficult?”

Its not like you will have a backhoe readily available to use, (and would you use it if you did? That might attract attention!) Which means that you and a few others are digging the whole. That is no feat in itself, and please do not go by the tv shows or movies example where the hole is dug in commercial break. Graves take time, that time depends on many different factors. One is the composition of the ground your digging into, is it sand /dirt mix like mine or straight dirt? Is it rocky or packed clay? The conditions will differ from place to place. Weather will also be a factor as well, like rain or snow. You will not have the luxury of picking the time of death.

 

“How much time will I have to do this?”

Time is the key. Time is everything. You will not have a lot if it and may not have enough of it, but time will be the ultimate factor on whether or not  you decide to bury or burn it. The more time it takes to dispose of remains the more exposed you are. If you are noticed by others they might take advantage of you grieving and decide to strike. On the other hand they may feel your pain and decide to help out it’s a 50/50 chance. This chance is not only dangerous for your group but could be deadly. You will ultimately have to decide what to do and when to do it. I strongly suggest that you take a little time now and plan before SHTF so that you don’t have to waste too much time after. Discuss, Plan and Prepare.

 

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The post above was an entry into the ModernSurvivalOnline.com Survival & Preparedness Guest Post Contest which from through December 31st.


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13 Comments

  1. Good article, and one we all need to take to task. One thing to add is make doubly sure you are truly dealing with a dead person. More than once while working in third world hospitals we would move a person from the hospital bed to a makeshift morgue, convinced he/she was dead, and later find him or her lying their with their eyes blinking. This happened more than once. Obviously, if your dealing with a severe to the head gunshot wound the call is easy to make, but heart attacks, pneumonia, typhoid, and other diseases and wounds that don’t cause outside trauma can cause deathlike symptoms. Any other advice would be to stay as far away as possible from dead bodies, but when you have to, bury deep, the animals are always looking for a free meal. thanks and God bless.

  2. In a SHTF situation…I might tend to go with a “funeral pyre”. Dead bodies, whether animal or human, are breeding grounds for disease. Some may not agree, but, again, in a SHTF situation…better safe than possibly sorry later.

  3. Although Jews do not cremate people for religous reasons (I am Jewish) BUT after reading your interesting article I would also go with a Funeral Pyre !!! David here says basically why !!! Safer faster easier healthier and nothing really wrong with it mainly in an emergency situation!!!
    Its good for billions of people in INDIA!!!

  4. We have on our vacant land, where we plan to build soon, a couple of large holes where we had a perk test done. We have left these holes just in case this very scenario ever happens (shudder). I can’t imagine having to drag my husband to one of these holes, but, he has severe medical issues, and I just know that having to do this will be a distinct possibility in a long-term emergency grid-down situation. I’d have to use the come along winch and the pickup truck. Mike, it is best to think of these things ahead of time.

  5. Digging straight walled holes in sugar sand is easy without the collapsing you experienced. The trick is to thoroughly wet the soil. I garden in the stuff so I know exactly what you were talking about. Try it. Wet an area down well and dig a hole.

  6. I am blessed to live near three large limestone quarries and being the lazy sot I am I reckon we’ll have to load the bodies into the bed of the Ford F150 drive to the closest quarry, say a prayer and fling the body over the cliff. Sounds harsh doesn’t it? Well, coyotes and buzzards gotta eat too and I don’t think expending the energy to dig a grave is productive in a SHTF scenario where preserving your strength and time is crucial. Just sayin’.

    Snake Plisken

  7. Good article and good point re truly being dead. A dead corpse( after a day) feels very cold from my experience of being with my parents when they died and later at their funeral.
    Having a stethoscope handy is also good to listen for a heart beat or pulse.
    Legally one only needs to bury a body 3 feet down (here in NYS) but it must be away from sources of water for sanitary reasons. Yes the sooner the better . We plan on being buried on our farm.
    Talking about this with family members is very important.If animals get to a body then it is nature returning to nature-tough but a reality.Covering with rocks helps.Arlene

  8. Please see my Youtube video “Bring Out Your Dead”. I cover this topic. Keeping animals away from the corpse will require a deep hole, maybe not quite 6 feet.

  9. Over the years we have had to bury horses and cows and in winter we would cover with snow and rocks from a stone wall -and most times
    wild life couldnt get to them and by spring usually only bones were left. Arlene

    PS Sometimes we left the body out to help nourish wildlife -this is different than a person of course but we loved our pets also.

  10. Rourke and everyone- years ago all families cared for their dead- its the soul that lives on.
    May I pose a question? What did others give or receive this Christmas re: prepping items? I received a fun and useful gift from my sister- a barbeque lighter -in the form of a tiny AR 15 -its too cute to use !!! We gave some water bladders for a bathtub for storing water and some batteries. We are having a brutal cold snap here 9 now with a windchill of minus 3 .Take care everyone.Arlene

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