Monday, March 03, 2008

A principled departure

Apologies to those who find the discussion of death depressing (I don't).

I mentioned recently that some people we know are grieving the loss of their wife/mother. And Dave Snowden blogged about the death of a friend a few days ago.

Inevitably, the direction of my thoughts has been affected by all of this.

When it comes to dealing with our own bereavements, my husband and I face a challenge: he wants to be buried, not cremated. I am opposed to burial. I find it morally indefensible to allocate all that prime land to dead people.

As to my own arrangements, I'm keen on whatever's greenest - as far as I'm concerned, there's little point in concentrating on the envelope once the letter's gone! My husband is certain he couldn't bring himself to agree for me to be cremated or treated with anything other than what he would consider deep respect.

I have always felt funeral services are for the benefit of the bereaved - an opportunity to pay their respects, say their final farewell and get some sort of closure. To this end, I would like to have a cardboard coffin and a pack of coloured flipchart pens, with which those present can write their message of farewell... like an exaggerated version of signing a person's plaster cast.

I found a few suppliers whose products appealed to me on these grounds:
These ones are totally plain and easy to write on, but mourners might find the uncompromising cardboard box look a little hard to take
This one is slightly better looking and easy to write on, but still shaped like a box, which, while I have no trouble with it, might not sit well with everyone
Ecopods look funky, but I don't know if they come in an undecorated version for writing on
Cambridge Funeral Services has a few that look more traditional
Ecocoffins are traditionally shaped, but decorated in a range of styles

Right. So that's the coffin arranged for such bits of me as science doesn't need.

My husband has already told me that this is the song he will be playing, and I have made known my selection of more sacred music known (I think we discussed it after my father's funeral). Having always been a lover of music and the vocalist in the church band, I have sung many people on their final journey down the aisle. So let it be known: there will be singing at my funeral - loud singing. And I'm blowed if people are going to have to struggle through songs that only ever get sung at funerals - they will get to sing songs with familiar tunes, songs that (if they have been church goers) they have sung often. My Dad was known for his beautiful singing voice and his great love of music that could be sung with passion and volume. Yet, except for an instrumental version of Unchained Melody, no-one knew any of the songs played during the service and this family of singers mumbled our way through the unfamiliar, dreary tunes. Such a shame.

There will be no black, either - partial as I am to the colour. I have a larger than life personality, full of bounce and verve, passion and volume. Clothing is please to reflect this fact. Purple for preference, and if someone sees fit to read Jenny Joseph's poem on the subject, so much the better!

Oh, and since my family and friends are all over the flipping place, there will have to be the option to attend online. A webconference funeral? I don't see why not - it would save people a fortune in travel costs and be a lot greener to boot.

So there you have it.

Not that I have any plans to go anywhere any time soon, of course, it's just that events have got me thinking.

1 comment:

Rina Tripathi said...

de me think too I will be cremated like a Hindu is. I would like to donate my eyes and whatever is useful to any one desiring. Your writings are deep. I am not moving as my kids, a 12 year old son and 5 year old daughter are in just that dream school you talked about. Nice to share your life. Thanks for sharing Karyn Hugs.