Wednesday, February 4, 2009

6 feet under, or not

I attended a funeral over this past weekend. Funerals bring up all sorts of thoughts and emotions and questions that you don't think about on a daily basis, but are conjured up by this mortality-questioning ceremony. Of course sadness and grief are uppermost, but it is also good to see the joy of family members united once again, sometimes traveling great distances.

People gathering together to mourn the passing of a family member or friend is an important ritual in our society, and has its merits. In addition to the family reunion perk, I think one of the best parts is seeing children at a funeral, a visual reminder that life goes on. Well, that and the food (church covered dishes are the best!)

Funerals inspire self reflection and questions, "Am I ready to go? Have I accomplished all I set out to?"

And of course the big question, one that we can actually do something about right now is, "What to do with the body?."

Do you really want to take up 6 feet of good earth, be planted and adorned with a sea of plastic flowers? The cost of a burial must also be taken into consideration, the land, the casket, vault, professional undertaker services, etc.

I have always strongly believed in not being buried, that the body is an empty vessel, and why save it and preserve it and bring it flowers etc. (The mayonnaise jar theory - once all the mayonnaise is gone, toss the jar, don't put it in a place of honor and visit it and remember all the good sandwiches it made - but there are those who do save mayonnaise jars, so much for that theory).

If you want to remember a loved one, you can do it wherever you happen to be, because they are with you always in your heart.

Cremation could be the way to go, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Or maybe you want to be a cadaver? Let medical students dissect you, learn anatomy first hand (or foot).

There are probably a lot of other options out there, but the important thing is to think about it now, decide what you want to do, and let your family know.

And a quote from this recent funeral, "Call your mother and tell her you love her before it is too late!"


Daughter Carrie said...


janeywan said...

I sure don't want to take up space in the ground. However glad some don't feel the same way. The cemeteries and parks will be the only land not built on in the cities before to long.
My dad was cremated and I have some of his ashes, for some reason that brings me comfort.

Pam said...

Oh the conversations we have had over the past few years regarding this very thing. We lost Daddy, mother-in-law and Momma in less than 30 months. Dealing with it all confirmed we made the right decision to be cremated, have our ashes mixed and moulded into a form which we are designing for our kids to float out on the lake we spent our honeymoon at. The ash will disolve...our souls will have already been released from our physical bodies.


Joann said...

I have told my daughter that if she spends anything more than the price of a human heafty bag on me, I'll be peeved. I want to be cremated, and have my ashes spread on consecrated ground. I do want a marker. My funeral arrangements, my will and a list of people to contact when I die are all in a ziplock baggy on my fridge -- I even wrote my own obit. I try to make things as easy on her as I can.

You leave a legacy of handiwork that will be treasured for years and years to come. How cool is that!

Sorry for your loss. I hope it was at least a really, really old person. It's really disturbing my psyche lately at how many people I'm seeing in the obits