Woman continues giving back to earth after death thanks to new funeral trend

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On to a subject that's not easy to talk about…a new trend in funerals is helping the environment.
 
A valley woman is sharing her story knowing it passes along her mother’s passion for saving the earth.
 
Fox 10's Anita Roman has the story.
 
Beautiful, vivacious, and a classically trained pianist, Robin was just 61-years-old when she became ill. 
 
“She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the fall of 2013, so it was a pretty quick decline,” said her daughter Lianna Kissinger Virizlay. 
 
Lianna says in just six short weeks her mother was gone, leaving behind one last wish, which was to be buried the same way she lived. 
 
“She had heard about green burials from a friend of hers because she was always committed to living in harmony with the earth and generally committed to making as a low an impact as possible,” her daughter said. “She lived in a tiny house with solar paneling.” 
 
Robin was laid to rest at the Sunwest Funeral Home.
 
“We go ahead and do something and do something that is the least intrusive as far as identifying it’s just a disc with a number and then family members know what number is,” said Bill Gabriel with Sunwest Funeral Home. 
 
Her number clearly marked, her spirit alive in the tree indigenous to the desert planted above her.
 
“The box is placed in the grave and then before the dirt is placed, we place palm prawns bushes to help in the break down process… the natural breakdown process and the dirt is filled over,” said Gabriel.  
 
Gabriel says the all-natural green burial is becoming increasingly popular...a trend he believes started in the northwest.
 
10 years ago there was one green burial council approved funeral home. Today there are 300.
 
The body is not embalmed...instead wrapped in a biodegradable shroud and placed in a biodegradable box. 
 
“I think people feel like they are leaving everything natural…a natural break down after their internment, everything is very simple.”
 
“It was very intimate,” said Lianna. “We didn’t have a big church ceremony. We commemorated her at  the burial plot.” 
 
While she will always miss her mom, Lianna finds comfort in knowing...even in the end she made a difference. 
 
As for the cost...the funeral home says a green burial is more expensive than a cremation but less expensive than a traditional funeral with a visitation and service. 

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