When You’re Dead
Not too long ago I had a brief stint at the hospital, there was a complication at one point and I needed blood transfusions and everything. I’m a vampire now. The whole experience really got my noggin’ joggin’ about life and death and all that rot. Even more interesting to me were some papers they gave me to fill out. It was all a bit like a will, instructions for when I take off.
My old plan was cremation. I remember as a youth driving through a town that was, in parts, just a road with cemeteries on both sides. I thought it was a terrible waste of prime real estate. I thought it was so sad, a town of all dead people, no houses, just a business here and there and tombstones as far as the eye could see. I’d never wanted to take up space as a corpse when the living could more productively use the space.
More recently I’ve started looking into composting as a form of organic reduction and in so doing, I heard about aquamation. It just keeps blowing my mind how many choices there are, and the list is growing. I know some people want to be eaten by carrion birds and there’s always the burning pyre or burial at sea. So many things people would like to do yet there are laws to follow, common sense to follow and all too often people are reluctant to let go of their antiquated ideas about death, dying and the aftermath.
To be fair there are people who take it too far. I read that back and think, who am I to decide what “too far” is? I believe the dead should be respected. In other words, their wishes should be respected. You’ve heard of the musician whose band mate attempted to steal his remains and cremate him in the desert, as he had wished. Apparently, his family didn’t respect those wishes. A lot of people were stunned by what the man tried to do, some were shocked. Still others just thought he was trying to do the right thing.
The subject of death and dying is a fascinating one to be sure, yet our culture is frightened of it. It’s time for that to change. It’s been time for that to change for a long, long time. Consider driving through a town with more corpses than living people, tombstones as far as the eye can see on either side of the road. This isn’t an image I had to conjure from imagination, it’s reality, and it’s only going to get worse.
All that being said, I do respect religious beliefs despite the fact that I’m more spiritual than religious. One thing that I’ve seen a lot of in religion are exceptions. There are loopholes in almost every religious tome out there. Find the loophole and consider towns instead of tombs, playgrounds instead of plots and day cares instead of dead bodies. After all the steps backward that have been taken during and even prior to the pandemic, it’s time to take a step forward to prepare for a journey you’ll only ever make once, and it’ll be the last one you ever make.
If you’d like to know more about Death and Dying from the perspective of a Mortician, connect with Caitlyn Doughty on her YouTube channel, Ask a Mortician. Caitlyn makes informative videos about things you may not have considered. For example, most people have thought about the Titanic for one reason or another, but have you ever considered how the dead were handled? Caitlyn has. Maybe you want to hear about a musician whose remains were stolen by his band mate to be taken to the desert, if so, check out Caitlyn’s video about it at Ask a Mortician.
Also check out The Order of the Good Death website. The site is for anyone interested in the Death Positive Movement. In a world with too many “movements” that only move backward, the Positive Death Movement is a breath of fresh, forward moving air. There’s far more detail about it at the website, I highly recommend checking it out. The Order aims to present solutions to finding practical resources, new and amended legislation and support systems for alternative death care in a culture that has a broken perspective on death, dying and the aftermath.
Death will come to us all, wouldn’t you rather be more prepared for it?