Thursday, November 13, 2008

Appropriately Enough

Today I suppose I'll stick with the theme. Feel free to fill in the blanks with your own answers in the comments section. Feel free to print out your answers from the comments section and give them to your next of kin.

I'm pretty sure I'd like to be cremated. There's an environmental trade off between taking up less space if you're cremated or spending more energy in the burning. There are a ton of other choices, too, but so far none appeal. Generally my people get cremated and it's much cheaper than burial.

Please, if you must read from the bible for me, use the classic King James version. There's a "new" King James and frankly I prefer the musical original version with all the thees and thous and comeths and the like.

I would, I think, like to be interred in the same place as my paternal grandparents. At this point it might be more appropriate to be interred in New York but I wouldn't even know how to begin narrowing that down and I like the place up north. Scattering might be an option, too, I suppose. I do like the beach but I'm afraid of the ocean on some levels so scattering might be counter-intuitive.

Have lots of music when you release me back into the wild. Or, you know, the carefully manicured graveyard. Sing in multi-part harmony.

Eat good food and drink good drink and display a bunch of photos. Take some photos, too. It might seem weird but it also might be the only time that particular group of people ever gets together. Serve alcohol, bring a flask, pass out chocolates or rum balls, seriously they don't call it comfort food for nothing. Think party with one really lame guest.

Use a church if you want but if you can avoid it do. Just have a party and let people talk in turns. If you feel even remotely like you might want to speak go for it. I'll be flattered and it'll be good for you,too. If you have to use a clergy person I won't be mad and haunt you or anything but it will seem weird having an emcee who didn't know me at all.

Kids are allowed at my funeral. Kids should go to funerals. We all deserve an opportunity to say goodbye. Yes, sometimes it's hard for kids to sit still, it's a lesson they can and should learn and I'm OK if they practice on me.

You don't have to cry. You don't have to laugh. You will feel better if you do both. I speak from a place backed by years of field research.

Take your vitamins because, the way things are looking, I'm going to be around a long time and you have to keep up with me.


  1. I, too, would like to be cremated, and I'd like my survivors to have a party (as opposed to a staid, mournful funeral). I would NOT like to be laid out for a "viewing," though - I singularly HATE those and while I understand why people do it, that shit doesn't work for me.

    Beyond the burning and the party, though, I have no specific requests. My survivors can do with my remains what they feel will most bring them comfort. I know some people need a place where they can go to "visit" those who've passed on, but I don't feel that way (I drive by the place where Grace's ashes are buried, and I've literally NEVER stopped to visit after the interment. I don't need to "go" anywhere to visit her). I have no particular affinity for any one spot, so I'm going to leave my final physical disposition up to others.

  2. These are extremely thoughtful musings, Kizz. My sister and I always joke about how we want to be scattered at the superdome after cremation. We get such hysterical giggles plotting the logistics of how that could be done without someone getting arrested. But, man, her husband gets so angry with us when we do that. My sister and I have always been that way about the procedures after death. He is not, and quite frankly, he gets offended by our casualness. So, we've toned it down in other people's presence.

    But, really, in all seriousness, I do want to be cremated, I do want to be sprinkled not interred, and I've got some tunes picked out for the show.

  3. Anonymous9:20 AM

    Jews aren't big on the cremation thing, but my mother wants that and if it is in my power to make it happen, then I will. I imagine I will have to fight for it, and we've already discusses it, although my father keeps looking pained and changing the subject.
    I think funeral should be a celebration and not, as Chili said, a staid mournful, and even too reverent an affair. The last funeral I attended, my cousin spoke for our aunt and told humorous stories that had us laughing through tears. I think that is what she would have wanted and it's certainly what I want. I am part of a faith, but I am essentially human and would want people to play my favorite music, eat my favorite comfort (!) foods and have fun.
    SO many people get ooked out by this conversation. Denial, much?

  4. I too think it's a good idea to write out your wishes while you're alive and functional.

    As for the scattering, I wonder how many people's ashes are scattered in Fort Greene Park?

  5. There are environmentally sound burial places. They're few and far between, but they don't use chemicals or coffins or stones. They just get you back to the earth whence you came so you can start feeding the worms.

    You can also donate your corpse to medicine, which also serves humanity. I think I'd like that.

    It's nice to have a celebration of a life, rather than a mourning. This is fine in cases like my 94-year-old grandmother. I was happy at her funeral because she lived longer than she really wanted to and she was finally out of pain, whether you believe she went somewhere else or not.

    It's not so easy when someone leaves prematurely. When my brother dropped dead at 37 there was no celebrating. It was staid and mournful and appropriately so.

    Each death is different. And the mourning process is different for everyone too. Let each grieve in his/her own way.

  6. "Think party with one really lame guest." Love it.

    Is it wrong that I want my ashes to be scattered at the summer camp I grew up at? And that I want all of the girls to be told that I wander around at night?

  7. so.
    this made me cry this morning.
    but ok. I will do whatever you say. point is, we're going together, so somebody better include me in all those I want's.
    for real.

  8. Anonymous1:18 AM

    I'm in for cremation and my family know my wishes. We had all these conversations one Christmas Eve while my father was waiting for his second heart transplant. Merry Christmas!

    My father was cremated and the funeral home put a bit of his ashes in little urns for my brother and me and the rest of them in a large urn for my mother. I like having him hang around the house and I talk to him frequently. I had my beloved cat, Pookie, cremated and her urn sits next to my father. They like to hang out together.

  9. If you cremate me, someone has to scream, "She's a witch! Burn her!"

    I really don't care what you do. I haven't a particular tie to any place, so scatter me wherever you would like to visit. Mourn my life or celebrate my life in the way that best helps you get through it. I'll be dead, and will not likely notice.

  10. I actually think I want to start a new, 21st century funerary business where people can be composted. I know I'd like nothing better than to know that my body was nourishing a beautiful rosebush somewhere.

    Actually, I don't really want to start the business. I'm not THAT ambituous. But I do think it would be cool.