So, what’s going to happen with my body after I die?
Early in my life, when competitive running played such a big part, I was all set on being cremated and having my ashes spread around Maine-Endwell High School’s cinder running track. I had a lot of great memories there.
Problem is, the school decided to turn it into an all-weather, Tartan track a few years ago. If my ashes were spread there they’d just blow off and spread on the surrounding grass.
Now what? I’m not really sure.
It was during middle age that both my parents secured burial plots (actually spaces in a mausoleum) at a local cemetery in Vestal, N.Y. My mom, Anne Figura, died first (age 51) and her remains and name plate are on the upper level of the mausoleum.
I visit the site about once or twice a year. She’s forever, though, in my thoughts.
Dad, on the other hand, remarried. Three weeks before he died, he pulled me aside and revealed that he wanted to be cremated and buried on his son-in-law’s property in West Virginia. That was done and my stepbrother, Larry, put a small monument on the location where the urn was buried.
As for his spot on the mausoleum in Vestal, dad gave it to one of my sisters, who is still deciding what to do with it.
I have no desire to look for a burial plot.
Since being married, I’ve moved three times. We’ve lived in Los Angeles, Upstate New York, the Catskills. The idea of buying a burial plot anywhere just doesn’t make sense or appeal to me. Who would visit it?
I was fishing recently with a mortician in Buffalo on the Niagara River and he talked about how this generation is rapidly getting away from expensive burials – preferring the quick, easy cremation approach. The idea of expensive caskets, he added, doesn’t sit will with many these days.
“Most of my customers are older Catholic couples,” he said.
My wife, Laura, and I talked it over recently and both agreed that we wanted to be cremated.
That decided, what should be done with my ashes?
My brother, who is really into golf, told he we wants his son or daughter to spread his along some golf course. No course in particular. The children get to chose.
I have a close friend, who when asked about his plans said he’d like his funeral to take place at one of his favorite fishing spots in the Adirondacks.
“I’d like to have my body put in a canoe, have the whole thing doused in gasoline, lit and then pushed off shore into the lake,” he said. “And while that’s happening, I’d like the Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” played loudly.”
A few years back, I heard of one woman who had little baggies made up of her ashes that were passed out at the memorial service. The idea was to have those in attendance spread them in places afterward that they thought she might have wanted to visit or be at. My friend decided to empty her baggie on the sidewalk at Times Square during a New Year’s Eve celebration.
I brought this subject up at work recently and one woman told me she’s decided she wants to be buried at sea.
“It’s all set in my will,” she said.
That’s the right approach – putting it in writing. The last thing I want is my kids and wife wringing their hands, fretting about what I would have wanted.
At this point, it’s probably going to be something outdoors-related.
I could have my ashes spread on a local trout stream, or on one of the islands at Lower Saranac Lake where we have camped over the years – or possibly on a high peak in the Adirondacks. Or closer to home, along the Charlie Major Nature trail where I frequently walk my dog.
Maybe I’ll insert a little humor into what otherwise would be a sad affair.
Take Jack, an acquaintance of mine on Facebook, who posted the following:
“Not to be morbid, but I was approached by a funeral home to start ‘pre-planning’ as they call it,” he said. “So I’m instructing my loved ones that when that day comes (hopefully years from now) that they are to have me cremated in my blue suit.
“The one with the fireworks in the pockets.”
Leave me some; I’m putting them in the horseshoe pit, you know where. If you’re good, maybe I’ll even put them around the stake!
Dave: My Dad was really into power boating. He used to be commander of the Power Squadron, and kept his boat at Troy’s marina on Cayuga Lake. The channel to the marina was narrow and shallow, so getting in and out of that marina could be tough late in the summer when the weeds clogged it. Since he had one of the larger boats in the marina, it became a common sight late in the summer to see the “Ambience” hung up in the weeds trying to get in or out of the harbor.
When he died, he was cremated. It was late in the summer. A group of family and close friends took his ashes and somberly spread them into the water at the mouth of the channel. As we cast them on the water, a mild breeze rippled the surface. The gentle waves picked up the ashes and carried them into a mass of algae just a few feet from the channel marker. The somber mood quickly changed to laughter as we watched Don’s final trip out of the harbor, all too familiarly hung up in the weeds.
Thanks for sharing. That’s funny. It reminds me of the final service when we buried my Dad’s ashes in West Virginia on my stepbrother’s property. ;My father, who often had things breaking down on him (particularly his boats and motors) was called “predicament Paul” by my uncles. Anyway, at the service, it was decided to play some spiritual sung by Elvis Presley on a cassette recorder. When it came time to push the button, my sister couldn’t get the recorder to work and we all laughed about how Dad was probably smiling on us from above.
My mother went to great lengths to tell us what she didn’t want..,
No burial of her remains underground, no embalming, no scattering her ashes in the ocean, etc…
She never did quite tell us what she wanted…
Her ashes are in a hollow in a rock….,
After keeping her in the trunk of his car for a year we finally got Dad to agree to that….
My Dad, or maybe his wife, wanted cremation..,
About 15 months after he passed I’m opening the XMas care package for the kids and there is 1/2 a salt & pepper set in there for me?????
Oops it was my 1/7 share in a stainless Steel urn…
Oh shit — I’m in the middle of the divorce slice and dice of property– where is that..