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Steve Scher
03/19/2008 at 9:00 a.m.

First we live, then we die. Most of us do a pretty good job of planning for the living part, but not many of us spend a lot of time planning for death. Or, more specifically, what happens to our bodies after death. Why is it important to have a funeral? What happens to the body when it gets taken from the hospital or your home? Open casket vs. closed casket? Does anyone use a hearse anymore? And what are cremains anyway? Washington State is third in the country when it comes to the rate of cremation. Why? Do funeral directors take advantage of grieving family members to scam their customers? How do our spiritual beliefs affect our decisions about what happens to our remains? What will your final decision be and why?

John Eric Rolfstad is the director of the People's Memorial Association in Seattle.
Char Barrett is a funeral director who arranges home funerals.
Robin Heppell is a funeral consultant. He assists funeral directors and cemeterians with the latest technologies. He is also a fourth generation funeral director.

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