Thursday, 2 November 2017

Conservation burial...the more eco way

And now here we are at All Soul's Day. Do you believe you have a soul? Do you believe in an afterlife?

Me, well, I believe that we are all star stuff. And that's enough for me. To know that when I die the molecules and atoms in my body will disperse and be part of something else is a kind of reincarnation. My husband and I were talking about this very thing the other day after listening to a report about organ donation. I told him I want to donate my body to science. He said, "even if you end up on a body farm?" Yes, I told him.

Body farm or conservation burial...I'm all for it. From the time I was a teen at my grandmother's funeral (she was embalmed and laid out for an open casket 'viewing') I knew what I didn't want. I didn't want what my Nan had. She looked so fake! And when I touched her hand...ugh. Cold, unyielding, and creepy.  I also don't want my loved ones to have to deal with the costs I witnessed add up during the organization of my brother's funeral and cremation. All that money spent on a casket (to be burnt), the urn, and the funeral service.

When my own mother died, well, I had her cremated in a cardboard box as that was the greenest option available to me. And there was no funeral. I had some people over and we toasted her. Although I must confess that later I did arrange for a marker and a memorial service in her home town. The marker was actually for my father's grave. It had lain unmarked since his death in the mid 60s (long, dramatic story for another time). On the stone I had my Mom and my brother's names and dates added. And, after they had excavated the hole for the small horizontal marker, I went to the cemetery and sprinkled a few of my Mom and brother's ashes into it "so they could all be together."

We do the weirdest shit in our grief.

I still have most of her ashes. In that nice urn. With most of my brother's. In the living room.

But I digress.

Yes, I totally agree with Caitlin. Most of our Western burial/disposal practices are a waste of money and resources. I do love a good cemetery, The older, mossy, mouldering stones are the better ones. But there are enough of those around.

So I'm all for becoming part of the natural cycle of life, death, and decay. As to a soul, well, I'm not sure what I believe. Suffice to say I do believe it has more to do with the effects you have on the planet, and beings who live on it, during your lifetime than after.

You can also read a good article about Caitlin's latest book, From Here to Eternity, at Paste Magazine.