I won’t be here Thursday. Husband and I have to go out of town to attend a funeral. I wasn’t particularly close to the man who passed, and have a very matter of fact view of death, so no need for condolences; I know it sounds cold, but I don’t mean it to. The thing is, human death is a very real thing, and though a part of nature, in many cultures, it has come to be against nature.
If you think about it, most people in America, and other countries bury their dead in boxes, pumped with fluids to keep them preserved. The boxes themselves also do their part to preserve the body. Most are steel, lined in plastic fabrics, and then sealed inside another steel vault. (Just in case you were wondering, the steel vault is unnecessary now. Its original purpose was to seal out rain water and critters, but modern day caskets do that on their own, so it’s simply an added expense.) These boxes are then placed in either the ground, or a mausoleum, to rest for eternity. With population where it is, eventually, we will run out of space to place our loved ones, but there are other options.
I used to work for an architectural firm that specialized in funeral homes, mausoleums and cemeteries. We received various trade magazines, and some held very interesting ways to preserve, or not, the people whom have passed, here are a few.
You can convert your grandma into a real diamond; she always was a real gem. Sorry, that was corny. But it is true. Humans are carbon based, and as such, you can become a diamond. They cremate you first, and then hit you with tons of pressure, turning you into a beautiful yellow diamond; if you want to be a perfect, white diamond, then you have to pay more.
Another option is my personal favorite, and is the ultimate in green, but it’s only offered in Sweden at the moment. What they do is dip you in liquid nitrogen to thoroughly freeze your body. Then they pound you with sound waves to break you into thousands of pieces, run you through a dryer, and then pass a magnet over you to pull out any metals you may have in your body, such as fillings. After you’ve been reduced to powder, they pour you into a box made of cornstarch – just like the disolvable packing peanuts – and lay you in a 12″ x 12″ x 12″ hole in the ground. Then they plant a tree on top. You will be completely reabsorbed into the Earth in six months! I don’t know if its the complete reabsorbtion, or the process itself that has me so hooked.
Husband and I tease each other all the time about what we will do with each other after death. I like to tell him that I will cremate him, and use his ashes to pave a race track; he’s really into cars. I tell him that I want to be entombed in my favorite architectural masterpiece, whatever that will be, and that in preparation, I shall include a small, secret niche in every one of my buildings for such purpose. I figure if Michelangelo and others can be buried in great architectural works, then so can I.
I know I’ve approached this a bit light heartedly, but just know there are indeed greener options for burial out there. Let me know what you think. If you could have anything, what would it be? Would you have yourself blasted into outerspace, or perhaps a viking funeral is more your style, just promise me that I can shoot one of the flaming arrows at your pyre.