Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Death Do Us Part

Some one left a people magazine in the break room, so I thought that would justify taking 10 minutes to actually sit and eat at work today. Usually I try to bring something I can eat one handed, standing and working, since the shorter the break, the less time I am there total. There was an article about green funerals which I thought was really cool and outside the scope of People's journalistic coverage. I first started thinking about green funerals after the topic came up on Six Feet Under. It appeals to me very much, and I had forgotten that ever since I was kid I wanted to my body to be placed in the top of a tall tree.

Not that I plan on checking out anytime soon. I have a mantra that goes, "I will live a long, healthy, happy life surrounded by loved ones". I believe in mind over matter, to some extent. Like placebos. One time I squished a caterpillar, the furless kind, aka my arch nemesis ultimate evil, on my finger. To stop from blowing my own mind with ceaseless screaming, as I frantically wiped my finger over and over on my jeans to the point of rugburn, I jabbered over and over "It was just bird shit it was just bird shit it was just bird shit". And luckily, it was just bird shit. Wormy hairless caterpillars are like zombies. They will suck right into your skull and eat your brain, and so I am justifiably terrified of them. Spiders? I am the official catch and release person at my office. Rats, brought in alive by our darling kitties? While CommonLaw screams like a woman and jumps on the bed I'll grab it and throw it outside. But caterpillars.... omg. The horror.

So anyway, despite my destiny to live a long happy healthy life etc., I have many a time considered what should be done with my remains when I cease to live. I think it's awesome that green burials, and body farms (where forensics peeps study bodies in various situations, decaying) are gaining ground. Huh. No pun meant there. I really hate puns. Have you ever noticed how many newspaper article headlines are $#@*&^% puns?? Anyway. I love the idea of refrigeration (LOL mmm leftovers) versus embalming fluid, and a shroud or simple unstained rough pine box versus a mohagany and steel $8,000 monstrosity.

However. Worms are just about as terrifying as caterpillars, and even if I'm dead I don't want them crawling through my body. Ants, that's fine, slugs even. Gross, but fine. So I am excited to think that my dream "burial" could actually happen some far far away day. My body, wrapped in a nice blanket, tied in the tippity toppest branches of a tree, to sway in the wind, feed the birds and ants, witness the sunrises and rain, and finally rain bones slowly over the years to the soft dried leaves on the forest floor below. Okay, it ain't that poetic or pretty, but I never saw death as morbid ( as the photos of dead animals I occasionally take can attest). Pumping corpses full of poisonous chemicals and sealing them in element and nature proof boxes, now THAT is morbid. It freaks me out a little.

Don't get me wrong. Death is insanely, unbearably sad. Most of the time I can only cope by using serious denial or force forgetting techniques. Unfortunatly, I think instead of getting all the grief out at once, when I shove it down and seal it away, it makes me leak tears at much smaller things than I might otherwise. Like when the cartoon baby deer almost died. There I go, using humor as denial. It's just that crying over death is like a crying that could go forever. Yeah, death SUCKS. It's just good to know that there are earth honoring ways to deal with the physical part of it. Maybe once America can wrap it's mind around de-artificializing death, maybe then we can do something about the grief dealing part.

Death sucks! And it's natural. Same with sadness. It just seems right to start treating these things in a more back to basics kind of way. When friends and loved ones and even strangers mourn, we can offer an embrace. And when we die, we may return our bodies to the beatiful planet earth they came from.

Just one more thing. Can I get some Green kleenex up in here?


Teryn said...

I'm all for cremation (though I haven't read up on how green it is) -- then I can be composted or something.

hermitgrrl said...

LOL yeah.

Anonymous said...

dint know you wanted the up in the tree thang , me too! now you know. i will most likely croak before you , so would you please put me up there.... and i won't really be gone i will be the light that shines all around you forever and always.... as i am always with you now.....

i love you bunches sweet pea, mom

Anonymous said...

ps, that sunset photo is magnificent!