The topic is Green Burials.
I first became intrigued by the topic of burial when my cat died. She had a stroke, lost use of both of her legs and it was not fair to have her live like that. She absolutely had to be put down. The ordeal besides being emotional was expensive. This fee this and that fee on top of that. I thought my goodness this typical animal burial scenario is an industry and I wanted nothing to do with it. I wanted to bury her in my yard. Somehow it’s not that easy.
In my BNI group we have an advisor that represents a local funeral home. Her sharing each week has been fascinating. I think she’s truly terrific at her job. She emphatically believes in pre-planning and I can see why. There is, after all, the expense, not to mention ALL the details. Who knew about all of this stuff? She once shared a list of fifty things one needs to do or know about to bury someone. FIFTY!? Much of what is on that list personally does not match my sensibilities. She represents a traditional burial.
I am not a traditional person.
The average person doesn’t question or wonder different ways to approach this topic. Many don’t pre-plan. Often it’s a fiscal hardship on the family of the deceased at the time it occurs.
I asked my green mom friends what they thought about the end of there lives, specifically green burial. Many had a few inklings, some were just beginning to explore it.
I am so glad Deanna spontaneously asked for us to carnival about it.
To begin with if I could have the choice not to be embalmed, I’d prefer not. I didn’t appreciate chemicals in my body during my life. I don’t want them when I die either
Prior to cremation I’d like to be simply wrapped. Perhaps in some herb infused gauze or something natural verses being places in some satin lined pre-fabricated box.
I absolutely can not be part of paying thousands of dollars for something that is going to be incinerated. I actually want to by pass the horrendous expenses attached to burying me.
If there was a common yet sacred place verses a formal institutional type place for cremation – that would be better for me. I don’t know what that is. Maybe a large flat rock somewhere? In different cultures I bet that might be part of what they do. Again for me here is this country what are the options?
No visitation. No hearse. No pastor or preacher, no undertaker. No headstone. No hothouse flowers. Seeds are fine. Seeds are actually a cool idea.
Could my ashes be scooped up into a cookie tin of some sort verses some ordinary made in china urn?
Here — I actually have just the tin.
I want my kids and grandkids to slink around in the night with flashlights and/or candles and shovels and bury my ashes under the tree I’ve picked as my resting place. I’d love them to giggle their way through digging that hole in which that cookie tin might go in. I really want to be buried by or near something that is terrifically rooted and grounded. I want the symbolism of that tree and it’s reaching branches to be me continuing to wonder about those around me. Touching them all somehow.
I want my son to speak – he mentally gathers mom quotes – perhaps he could share them. I want my daughter to sing, not just one song but many and not my favorite songs, but songs she loves. I don’t need or want a special song. I want and love the vibe that comes from her singing. I want my grandkids to be part of all of it…
I want an email sent or a notice on my blog and have all my friends arrive for a gathering. Can you even imagine my blog 30 or 40 years from now? What a thought!
If there is a man in my life, a treasured significant other I want him to lead the shovel brigade…be the rock he may have been for me and continue to be so for my family and friends.
I want a big potluck dinner, mucho libation, warm embraces, laughter, and memories – music playing from my lap top, randomly - much of the music in my life has been gifted, perhaps the play list will be fondly remembered of times gone by.
I don’t want a special outfit, as a matter of fact, I was born naked, lets have me wrapped up naked too – no fuss.
How can all of these natural, simple, organic, ritualistic, and a rather idealistic green burial actually occur in these times? In our culture? In this country ? I am not sure. How can I make this happen?
When I was thinking about this post I was trying to imagine a bit of a video outtake; a brother and a sister, a beaten vintage red truck, the uneven lumpy remains of their mother in a long canvas sack. The dead weight of it ( no pun intended! ) Digging the deep large hole by truck headlight, singing and crying as they do so…cursing me and my wishes, yet respectfully wanting to do as I requested. The glance between them as they navigate the you’ve got to be kidding heavy awkward sack. The exclamation – oh my god this is our mother. The tossing her/me into the hole. The sound as I hit the dirt. The adding of soil on top of me. There she goes. There goes mom, back into the earth where she wants and needs to be.
Gosh — this sortof made me cry.
Is this illegal? Like harboring a dead person or something? Could we just do it anyway? I suppose from a sense of order and all we can’t have mish mosh willy nilly home made burials happening. I mean there are legal issues, and safety and sanitation issues, and whatever other issues there are. But gosh how did they do it before funerals became an industry? In the old days?
Tell ya what let’s just do this thing my way. I won’t tell anyone if you won’t!
Hey can I add this here link to my will?
The collective green burial commentary can be found here