Going Home…

Reparation of human remains is the process of returning a person back to their homeland.  This process goes back many years and is still going on today.  Recently, the practice of repatriating deceased loved ones to their homelands has significantly grown.  As the population ages, many Polish people living outside of Poland are asking to be buried in their home country.  Many family members may also decide to bury their loved ones in Poland. There are many personal desires to be buried in the native country.  Some people even believe that the person’s soul may not be at peace if the body was not buried in their country of birth.  Countless immigrants struggle emotionally and miss their mother country, customs, traditions, relatives or childhood friends.  Likethe saying goes, “Your home is where your heart is.”  For many, it is heartbreaking not being able to visit their loved ones’ graves, especially on days such as All Saints’ Day, which falls on November 1st, or on the anniversary of the death. Practice of shipping human remains or cremains is very popular among Polish citizens.  Every year Consulates General of the Republic of Poland issue hundreds of permits to ship bodies or cremains to Poland.  Just this year of 2012 in New York issued over 160 permits.  Since 2008, just for Tri-State Area, they issued over 1,200. The cost of burial in the United States (grave, vault and opening charges) is very often equivalent to the cost of shipping.  Repatriation costs cover expenses such as obtaining death certificates, securing and translating documents in Polish, mortuary services in both countries, transport to the airport, overseas transportation by common airlines, and transportation to the place of the disposition.  There are many reasons why Polish citizens want to be buried in Poland. Maria from Stalowa Wola said, “My mother was buried in Poland and we have a family plot so when my father passed away here I knew I would have to ship his body to Poland to be buried with my mother.  I couldn’t see any other option.”  When Stanley from Passaic passed away, he shared a room with his friends, since he did not have any family here.  His friends collected money to ship his remains to Poland to be buried at his hometown cemetery.  Many people feel insecure that if they will be buried here nobody will ever visit their graves.  Polish people very often go to loved ones’ graves, light candles, and bring flowers.  It is part of their upbringing.  Even All Saints’ Day in Poland is a day off from work.  On this day no grave is left forgotten.  This tradition is very beautiful and we should pass it on to our children because one day they will be standing over our graves.  Losing a loved is very painful since our life will never ever be the same and visiting graves plays such an important role in the grieving process.  More and more Polish citizens want to preplan their funerals including their wish of being shipped to Poland.  Elizabeth from Lodi said “I want to make sure I won’t be buried in a potter’s field, here even “pies z kulawa noga nie przyjdzie” (a Polish saying meaning nobody will come) She goes on to say, “I was never married, I do not have any children.  At least when I lay to rest in Poland my family or neighbors will look after my grave.”  John said “I have a few years left to my retirement.  When my wife died, I decided to ship her to the cemetery in Rzeszow. I told my daughter to buy a grave for two.  Once I retire I am going back home, and when I die I want to be buried with my wife.  I feel at peace knowing that she is “home” and one day I will be with her.”  Halina from Clifton said, “When my mother passed away we contacted Izabela Funeral Service which offers a complete repatriation service to Poland. We were able to ship my mother in less than a week. Izabela told us when the body was being shipped so I could book the same flight to take my mother home.  So when my mother arrived in Tarnow, we were ready with our funeral.  It was a very emotional experience but I felt at peace following my mother’s wish.”  To reduce some costs to ship human remains or a crematory container, make sure the funeral home is registered as a “Known Shipper” with The Transportation Safety Administration, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.  Passengers are allowed to carry an urn as a part of their carry-on luggage but must have the required paperwork from both countries.  The container must pass through the X-ray machine.  Some airlines require to be notified 72 hours prior to the departure. If you wish to be buried in your homeland, perhaps a family grave or a church cemetery where members of your family have always been buried, you should state in your Will or discuss your wishes with family, close friends, or an appointed funeral agent so that they are prepared to see to your final wishes…Going home…

By izabelafuneralservice

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