Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Some thoughts on cremation

Not long ago my mother suddenly announced she wants to be cremated when she dies. Also, she wants her ashes to be spread in Wyoming because (she said) she's never liked Utah that much anyway.

This was news to me. "You want to be cremated?" I asked her.

"Yes," she said. "I have always wanted to be cremated."

"This is the first I've heard of it."

"Perhaps you weren't listening."

"But how will I visit you on Memorial Day with my peonies and snowballs and irises and so forth? Can we just cremate your foot or something and spread those ashes in Wyoming?"

Anyway. I was thinking about that conversation today as I was running in Liberty Park because--how weird is this?--I think if I were to be cremated, I wouldn't mind having my ashes spread there. I've enjoyed that park ever since I was a little girl, and I love it in all its seasons. So yeah. Take my urn to the top of the Ferris wheel and, baby, let the ashes fly.

Where would you have your ashes spread? And yes. I know. I have officially gone around the bend.

18 comments:

Lisa B. said...

Two words: Idaho.

Margy said...

Everyone in my family who has died (at least since I was born) has been cremated. I don't think it's weird at all - it's the most normal thing to me and I've told my husband I want to have my ashes spread in warm tropical waters, maybe someplace I haven't been yet but want to go - though apparently it's a bit scandalous in some circles in Utah. I was six when my grandpa died. We buried his ashes in a Chicago cemetery. I remember holding my mom's hand and asking her how they fit him in that little can. I don't remember her answer, but I remember the way she stiffened when I asked as though she was afraid she might scar me for life with her answer. My other grandpa died when I was in college. He loved to sail. We sailed out to the middle of Long Island Sound and spread his ashes. On the way to the marina, the can full of his ashes rolled around in the trunk of the car (why we put it in the trunk, I have no idea!!!). Lots of jokes about what it would mean when he rolled over in his watery grave. My Grammie's ashes were buried in the rose garden by the Presbyterian Church she loved. My other grandmother instructed her oldest son to figure out where to put her ashes. He ended up splitting her in thirds: part spread in Lake Michigan by her home, part spread in the lake by our Wisconsin summer cottage, and part buried next to my Grandpa in the Chicago cemetery. As someone who valued roaming the globe, I think she'd be pleased her ashes didn't end up in just one place.

I do think the idea of turning someone's ashes into a gemstone and wearing them on your finger is weird, though.

Dr. SWILUA said...

As long as your official bend doesn't include a tunnel with a shiny bright light at the end, I'm good. xoxo.

Dr. SWILUA said...

and the first time I heard about the ring thing, BTW, I thought it was cool. Nice and sparkly, make a ring and have something pretty to remember. Then I kept thinking... Instead of, "Oh, isn't this ring lovely? It was my grandmother's," it would be "Oh, isn't this ring lovely? It IS my grandmother." And, um, not so much.

Anne said...

At our cabin in Brighton for sure with my mom and my auntie Meem.

Valynne said...

This sounds like it would make a great picture book!

BBB said...

Well, I have been thinking about this since last night. I decided that I would rather be cremated than buried, if only because the thought of resurrection as a cremated being seems lots cooler and Harry Potterish. Resurrection burial style, I'm sorry, but all I can envision is zombies.

I've decided I don't want my ashes spread. I want them kept in an urn in the family room. :) I don't know what this means about me, but I've thought long and hard about it, and that's what I want. I even looked up urns for ashes online. I will have to pick out my own urn before I die because I definitely do not want anyone else picking that stylish ornament out.

Only thing is, in this scenario, I absolutely am going to have die AFTER my husband. He'll never go for the cremation thing.

Louise Plummer said...

Tom and I are going to be cremated. It's clean. We bought a cemetery plot in the SL cemetery years ago. Maybe we'll spread a few ashes there and put up a memorial, so you can bring peonies. I would like that.

Most of my ashes I'd like spread over the Northumberland Strait from the ferry going from Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island. si

Geeoff said...

Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Tiffany said...

I really like the thought of being cremated, much to the shock and horror of my family, though I've never given thought to the location of my spreading. Something new to ponder...

Donna said...

I would like to be put in a hefty bag and set out on Thursday.

Jim said...

I like the idea of only cremating part of the body. Cremate my right weenus and spread it over Capistrano beach.

wjmom said...

I've wanted to be cremated since I was a teenager and learned what embalming involves. Yuck! I don't want all that junk in my veins. Why bother with any of it? I'm dead.

I guess my family will have to decide what to do with the ashes, but I'm all for going out with Donna on Thursday.

Karim said...

Funny you should mention this....

I told Chris about a year ago that I, too, would like to be cremated. We then went back and forth about the logistics since he would like to be buried next to me. So, I think a good compromise would be to bury some of my ashes together with him, and the rest I want to be buried in my family's plot in Santiago de Maria, the small town my mother grew up in El Salvador.

This next comment might sound weird, but I saw it in an episode of L.A Ink (a show about a tattoo parlor.) I know we're discouraged from getting tattoos, but if Chris were to die, I'd totally cremate his finger and then put the ashes in the ink, and then get his initials tattooed to my wrist. I know, this makes me sound weird, but I know you won't judge me :)

Bob the Woodworker said...

I have to confess that I don't want my loved ones cremated, mostly because I love to visit graves. When I do, I don't think of the dead corpse of the person under the headstone, I think of the vibrant, living person I knew (or didn't know). I have no problem with cremation, I just find visiting a physical place like a grave brings the person to mind.

James Curtis said...

Very well said blog. Cremains can be placed in urns or scattered in the sea according to the family and the deceased wishes.

Bill Stewart said...

These are some good thoughts on cremation services. I have often wondered how I would like to be taken care of after I die.

costlules said...

Not long ago my mother all of a sudden announced she wants to be cremated when she dies. Also, she desires her ashes to be spread in Wyoming as a result of (she stated) she's never favored Utah that a lot anyway.


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