"Foot in the Grave."
I don't give it a lot of thought, although I did have a lawyer go over some documents some time ago to be sure everything is in order and my survivors won't be thrown into the street. However, I usually subscribe to the advice of the fellow who noticed that nobody has any control over his/her birth and not much control over death. "So, enjoy the interval!" he said.
The missus asked me recently if I had given any thought to what kind of farewell service Iíd like. I donít plan to be there, of course, so itís immaterial to me. Besides, the virus scare has put a lot of memorial services on hold. Besides, anyone yearning for a sermon will go away empty handed from my funeral. The casket makers will, too. It seems such a waste to bury a steel casket containing enough metal to build a small refrigerator. In fact, the Wall Street Journal once reported that Americans bury one million TONS of steel caskets each year!
My foster father was a New England Congregational minister who conducted many funerals in his day. His own did not occur until he was 92. I was not surprised that he opted for cremation. I once overheard him remark to a friend that our remains were destined to return to dust anyway. Why delay the process with costly caskets and concrete vaults?
We hear that burial at sea is relatively popular with those who can afford to have it done within the confines of the law. The U.S. Coast Guard permits committing human ashes to the seas three miles or more offshore. If one wishes his carcass dropped into the sea without benefit of cremation, that must be done 25 miles offshore.
Another alternative - one of the forty environmentally friendly cemeteries here and there across the United States. An organization called The Green Burial Council can supply details. Itís uncomplicated. A hole is dug, the body in shroud, cardboard casket or other biodegradable material, is buried and the location is recorded by the proprietors. Nature runs her course and the final resting place remains in its natural state. No headstones or bronze markers. And no metal vases with plastic flowers. Itís reported traditional funeral directors are not happy with this "green burial" scheme.
Iíve asked my offspring to keep my ashes in a sturdy cardboard box or other suitable container until my lady departs this life, at which time her ashes and mine will be mixed together. (None of this side-by-side stuff for us.)
At some appropriate time and place we will be ďsprinkledĒ someplace where we can help Mother Nature in her work. The missus says a rose garden would be nice. I maintain one cannot eat flowers and therefore weíd do more good in a vegetable garden.
Weíll leave it to our descendants to settle that detail.
(A lightly edited version of a piece first posted in May, 2013.)