What do you want done with your earthly remains, once you have shuffled off this mortal coil?
I got to thinking about this because the fifth anniversary of my dad's death is coming up. He actually died on March 31, and all of us kids were thinking how pissed off he would be to realise that he missed dying on April Fool's Day by thismuch.
So he now resides in a really nice wooden box, usually on my brother's piano, but sometimes he goes to visit my mom at her nursing home. To me, though, that's not where I find him. To really connect with him, I would need to take a trip to the land where he lived before being incapacitated by a stroke, a homestead deep in the forest, miles from the nearest town, with the field up on the hill that he was reforesting with pine trees. There, among the tidy wood piles which he kept stocked for his wood-burning stove, wandering the razor-straight rows of the garden he tended, I would find the essence of my father.
The trappings of a traditional funeral and burial simply don't speak to me. I abhor waste and although some cemeteries are quite lovely, they still take up a lot of valuable land, which are filled with indestructible coffins and big massive headstones. I don't deny that there are some cemeteries that I love wandering through, but most are sad flat unlovely things.
Here's what I want: Take any useful organs and tissue and put them to use. Alternately, use my corpse for teaching medical students or learning about decomposition in a body farm. Then, when there is no more value to be gleaned from my remains, throw them in a burlap sack, tie it up with a rope and plop me in a hole under a tree in the woods.
There are woodland and ecological cemeteries established in the US and the UK, but not in Canada, as far as I know. And although they do have biodegradable coffins, I think though, that they still don't allow the use of burlap sacks. I don't know why not.
Interestingly, the Parsi of India and some Buddhists deal with death by placing the body on a high tower and allowing the bones to be picked clean by birds. This appeals to me as well, but I can't stand too much sun. The forest sounds ideal.
Any plans for your final resting place?