Special Requests After Death

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Do you have any songs or poetry or things like that you want presented? What about a funeral or burial or cremation?

-- Renee (justme@justme.org), February 22, 2001


I was talking to my sister about exactly this on the weekend (although she didnít really want to listen). Having been through the funeral of my oldest sister a few years ago and the memorial for my best friend last year, Iím pretty adamant about being cremated and having my ashes scattered into the river that runs through the city. I want to leave quietly, definitely no fuss, with the last image in peopleís memories of me alive. (Sometimes I wake up at night terrified, remembering how my sister looked in her coffin Ė that is not how I want to remember her.)

-- Terry (fluff@cuttingthroughfluff.com), February 22, 2001.

George and I first talked about this when his father passed away. We both want to be cremated (and both the older girls have been told so, in addition to it being in our wills). But there is a special provision for his - if his mom is still alive, he'll be buried. She's got very strong views about cremation, to the point where it would be hazardous to her own health if she knew her son was cremated.

For me.. it's cremation because, as in your poem, I expect I'll be fully done with my body, so the idea of putting it in a box and taking up good land with it just seems to be focusing attention in the wrong place. If I could go back to the land, that'd be one thing, but the whole burial process is designed to prevent that and laws down allow anything less. I definitely want any viable organs used where they will do some good before the body is disposed of.

My biggest instruction has been that there absolutely be NO 'viewing' - anyone puts my dead body into an open casket to be looked at better hope there is no such thing as being haunted. Anyone who cares for me enough to be there will have (I hope) better images in their memory than they'd find looking at my corpse.

As to flowers and that.. I'd really just rather people to put it on their calendars to check into my family once a month or so for the following year, instead of all in a rush when they're in shock and then forgetting them.

-- Lynda B (lyndacat@bigfoot.com), February 22, 2001.

I want to be cremated. I'd prefer the ashes taken to my home state and scattered there. Or scattered in Hawaii would be nice, especially for whoever takes them there to do it. heehee. I do not want anyone to view my body, I do not even want a funeral. If my close friends and family want to get together and talk about me, fine, but no religous hubbub please.

-- Amethyst (honeybee@journalist.com), February 22, 2001.

Mixed up a bit, but family will do with my remains what they are determined to do.

For me, my body is merely the vehicle I drove while here in the world. I have never visited a junkyard to see the remains, nor grieve over one of my deceased four wheeled vehicles and see no reason to do different with my body.

If my family will do as I asked and want them to do, is to have a dinner at one of the places like Marie Callander's where there can be adaquate seating, eat and talk over the fun times, good times and serious times we had. Or if the weather be nice, a big picnic in the park. With the little ones running and playing and the grown ups meeting and eating in my memory. Sounds good to me.

If they decide to bury me, I would prefer that the funeral director and his employees plant me. I realize that psychologically some of the family couldn't handle that - - - - so it will be as they wish.

-- Denver doug (ionoi@webtv.net), February 22, 2001.

Years ago a friend and I talked about death after reading Jessica Mitford's book, and she was facing open heart surgery. At that time neither of us wanted the open casket thing.

She died suddenly and I remember how horrible I felt not seeing her at the funeral. It was like she was just away, not forever. Now I can barely remember her face, her voice, her.

My husband and I have our prepay stuff in order, after his brother and my dad died so closed together. We remembered that funerals are for the living, not the dead. I asked for a casket like my dad's.. maybe that doesn't make ecological sense, at the time it did.

I want lots of music and the last piece to be upbeat! In lieu of ecology concerns I skipped the releasing of balloons, so send them to my funeral instead of flowers should you wish. :-)

The poem I like is "To Those I Love and Those Who Love Me". Whatever you do don't let them put in the obit... "went to be with the Lord". Tomorrow my entry will be about this, suprising our minds are on funerals Renee.

-- bonnie (texasbonnie1@yahoo.com), February 22, 2001.

I think I would like to have this sung when I die

******* Please Donít Bury Me Words and Music by John Prine

Woke us this morning put on my slippers walked into the bedroom and died and oh what a feel as my soul went through the ceiling and up into the heavens I did rise

When I got there they did say John it happen this ole way you slipped upon the floor and hit your head and all the angle say just be for you passed away these were the very last words that you said

chorus Please donít bury me down in that cold, cold ground Iíd rather have them cut me up and pass me all around throw my brain in a hurricane and the blind can have my eyes the deaf can take both of my ears if they donít mind the size

Give my stomach to Milwaukee if they run out of beer Put my socks in a cedar box just get Ďem out of hear

Venus Dimilo can have my arms look out Iíve got you nose sell my heart to the junk man and give my love to Rose

chorus Please donít bury me down in that cold, cold ground Iíd rather have them cut me up and pass me all around throw my brain in a hurricane and the blind can have my eyes the deaf can take both of my ears if they donít mind the size

Give my feet to the foot loose careless fancy free give my knees to the needy donít pull that stuff on me

hand me down my walking cane itís a sin to tell a lie send my mouth way down south and kiss my ass goodbye

chorus Please donít bury me down in that cold, cold ground Iíd rather have them cut me up and pass me all around throw my brain in a hurricane and the blind can have my eyes the deaf can take both of my ears if they donít mind the size

-- The Man in the Big Brown Hat (cmhaynes21@yahoo.com), February 22, 2001.

As my years ooze by, Stability turns to debility, Blood pressure gets high, Victim to creeping senility, Seems you know, Only thing left is to go !

Biggest event in my life draws near, And I am here ! Function of aging ?

-- Denver doug (ionoi@webtv.net), February 22, 2001.

I, too want to be cremated. I can't bear the thought of rotting under the sod. I've been told that blueberries thrive on ashes, so I'd like to be helping out a blueberry patch.

My husband and I are going to Belgium in a couple of months. The most important thing I did Just In Case was to find loving guardians for Pat the Cat and Fergus, our dog.

I don't want people crying and grieving, although I know tears are a good release. I'd like people to think that I am in a place where I finally get all the answers to all my questions. I told my husband I want to have my funeral before I die, so I can be there to see all the people and share in the love.

I haven't thought about music or poetry or anything like that. It would be just like me, though to videotape me giving a lecture to people to treat one another well, live authentically and intentionally and stay away from drugs and credit cards!

-- annie (anne.stewart@bms.com), February 23, 2001.

Cremation. Ashes to be kept in a nice box in my husband's desk. Donations to local library or Planned Parenthood in lieu of flowers... though I wouldn't mind a single bouquet of white roses and lilies of the valley if they happen to be in season.

"Dear Weaver of Our Lives' Design" (my favorite hymn). "Kaddish" by Salomone Rossi (Renaissance Jewish composer)

The following quotation from one of my favorite books, Susan Cooper's _Silver on the Tree_:

"For ever and ever, we say when we are young, or in our prayers. Twice, we say it [,Old One], do we not? For ever and ever.. so that a thing may be for ever, a life or a love or a quest,and yet begin again,and be for ever just as before. And any ending that may seem to come is not truly an ending, but an illusion. For Time does not die, Time has neither beginning nor end, and so nothing can end or die that has once had a place

-- Peg / mechaieh (nashchick@ivillage.com), February 23, 2001.

Wow, it's amazing how many people want to be cremated after they die. Just about everyone I know wants to be buried.

But I think cremation is the way to go. Take the parts that are useful, give 'em to someone else, and then burn me.

The sad part is, I don't have a clue where I'd want my ashes scattered. I don't know how I'd feel about a big production like that, with some loved one having to take them somewhere and get rid of them. But I don't want them kept in a jar, either. I guess I'll leave it up to whomever is left behind.

-- Amy D (amyd@amyd.org), February 24, 2001.

Jeff, my husband wants to be cremated. I'm fine with that, if he dies before me, I'll handle it. I've told him he's getting a plaque though, if he's not having a headstone. I love old cemetaries, the history they contain, the information about people long gone. If there's no plaque, there's no history in there, so he's having one of those. Me too, with the cremation and the plaque. He doesn't want to donate his organs, but he might not get that choice if he leavbes before I do! Me, I'm happy for every bit of me to go towards the living. Not scientific experiments, but given to live people. I know, experiments are needed, but I'm not giving my bits for that. I want enough ashes to have some sprinkled in the USA, and some in Australia. Same thing with Jeff.

-- Amanda Page (amanda@amandasprecipice.com), February 26, 2001.

I want to be buried, not cremated. Cremation gives me the squigglies.

I want "Amazing Grace" played on bagpipes, preferably live but a recording will do.

I would also like something witty enscribed on my tombstone.

The wake should be a good party with lots of food and drinks and people laughing and remembering as opposed to wailing and mourning.

Most of all i just hope that i contribute enough to the world that i have a full house there to see me off.

-- Sherry (sherina@masc.ca), February 27, 2001.

Sherry took part of my answer. Amazing Grace, played on the bagpipes.

I actually have most of these things written down. Since Beau died so young, I knew that it was important to be prepared. (Beau was a lawyer, so we were both prepared. I just never knew how important having these things written down could be.)

I want to be cremated. I want my ashes mingled with Beau's. We'll both be scattered across the fields where we used to go riding.

Beau wanted that for himself, but his father had a real problem with that. Beau was cremated and his ashes were buried in the family plot.

Now that his dad is gone, I suppose I could spread Beau's ashes, but I'll want until I can join him.

I want this poem to be read...

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground. So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind: Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you. Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust. A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew, A formula, a phrase remains, ó but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love, ó They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve. More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind: Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave. I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

-- Laura (lbhelfrich@yahoo.com), February 27, 2001.

Sorry about the formatting of that poem...

-- Laura (lbhelfrich@yahoo.com), February 27, 2001.

I used to want to be cremated, but now that I'm probably going to marry a Catholic and they aren't for that, I may be buried. But I want a really simple headstone.. I don't want people spending alot of money on my burial... heck, just plop me in the ground, I don't care. But I would like the songs, "I Hope You Dance" by LeAnn Womack and "Old and Wise" by Alan Parson Project played at my funeral.

-- Katie (katiemermaid@yahoo.com), March 10, 2001.

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