Funeral Practices...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by iGary, Mar 2, 2006.

  1. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #1
    OK this is a dark topic, but I've been thinking about it lately...

    I always used to think that an actual coffin burial was the way to go as it gives people a chance to say "good bye." When my mother passed away, she was immediately cremated, which made me really mad. They did the same thing with my dad, and with my grandmother recently. Which, on first glance made me mad, too.

    So I watch an episode or two of "Six Fet Under," and I think that cremation is really the way to go.

    Now I know certain religions call for a funeral service, which requires embalming and a service, but honestly, the last thing I want when I go is for my family to have to pick out coffins, look at my artificially prepared body (and spend thousands of dollars in the process).

    That and I hate the idea of people cutting a whole in my neck, pumping me full of chemicals, putting a huge tube in my abdomen and pumping it full of chemicals, some stranger giving my dead body a massage to make sure all the chemicals go through...freaking yuck. And the cost??

    The last thing I want is for people to feel obligated to some visit my dead body in some gruesome cemetery.

    It cost 900 bucks to cremate my dad, he's sitting on the shelf in our living room and we plan to scatter his ashes this spring. We had a lovely memorial service without the gruesome coffin sitting in front of us. We could all remember him for who he was. The way we each remembered him. Why would I want my last memory of him to be in a satin-lined box? He would have hated that.

    Anyway, I guess I'm ranting, but I think I finally realized why people make the decision to be cremated. No muss, no fuss and easy on the family.

    </rant>
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #2
    It's hard for me to think about being cremated or cremating a family member - but that's because I "forget" that they or I would already be dead.

    I like the opportunity to be able to say goodbye to someone - to me, that's a nice perk of the burial process (not to discount the stuff that happens to get the body prepared, as you mentioned).

    But... afterwards, you're left knowing there's a body in the ground, and, really, that's not a great thought.

    So I guess, for me, I like the "standard" burial up to the point of the casket going into the ground, but then I would probably have wished for a cremation.

    I think the way to go is mummification - they do it for pets, still, and I think it'd be a great way to keep those family members around for holidays and, of course, to keep the social security checks coming.
     
  3. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #3
    I don't feel like taking up that much space once I'm gone. I've left instructions to cremate me, put the ashes in a plastic baggie, poke a hole in the bag and start walking south along the beach from the Cement Ship in Aptos until the ashes run out. If anyone wants to visit me they can go to the beach instead of a cemetary.

    When one of my parents friends died suddenly last year the families got together and sponsored a picnic table with his name on it in the same general location. It's a nice place to go remember him.
     
  4. cslewis macrumors 6502a

    cslewis

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    #4
    I've been reading Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.

    Although the title sounds gruesome, it's a fascinating (and funny) look at our bodies after death. It's a good read, if you're not too squeamish.

    After reading it, cremation sounds like a much better alternative to embalming and a casket burial.
     
  5. pdham macrumors member

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    #5
    Interesting post,

    I was just reading a supreme court case out of Minnesota that dealt with a town denying a permit for a cemetery to build a new crematorium. The reasoning, behind it was that cremating human remains releases 1/3 lb per year of mercury, 22 pounds of hydrogen chloride and unspecified amounts of dioxins. None of that may sound like much, but according to the EPA and rhe congress of Industrial Hygienists all of the substances are considered "immediately dangerous to health and life." The issue with this case is that the cemetery sat rather close to the source of the towns drinking water. The other interesting stat in this case is that the curent cremation rate in the US is 24% and it is expected to increase to nearly 70% in the next 10 years. Also, people that have been treated by a relatively new cancer treatment produce radioactive material when cremated.

    Now ultimately they have no evidence of any dangers to health. At this point it is mostly speculative, but if the demand for cremation does increase at such a drastic rate it makes you wonder about the enviromental and health risks involved.

    Just a little interesting fact.
    Paul
     
  6. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040

    dornoforpyros

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    #6
    meh when I go I wanna be cremated, leave more room on the planet for the living I figure.
     
  7. rdowns Suspended

    rdowns

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    #7
    I've already told my family to burn my ass. I don't get funerals.

    With my grandmother near death, I am so not looking forward to the funeral and graveside ceremony. She arranged for this years ago at some outrageous cost. Then again, it's what she wanted.

    Cemeteries are such a waste of beautiful real estate.
     
  8. iGary thread starter Guest

    iGary

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    #8
    I felt the same way as you, JSW, but honestly (and obviously it's up to every individual), my dad wouldn't have wanted a big fuss made over his body.

    Now that I think of it, I couldn't have dealt with picking out coffins, and burying him. It was hard enough bringing his ashes home. And the things they have to do to prepare you for a funeral are just disgusting. Then you lie underground for eternity. No thanks.

    We're going to scatter dad's ashes on the Chesapeake Bay where he and I used to go fishing when I was a kid. I have a ton of great memories of him coming in my room at 4 in the morning to wake me up to go. Bascially, as Mactastic said, we're gonna poke a hole in the bag and let him mix in with the propeller wash from the boat. He would have loved that.

    I dunno, I just think the whole burial and funeral process is so overwhelming.

    We had the nicest memorial service for him - I left the ashes at home, bought along a big picture of him and my sisters put together an awesome slideshow (powerpoint) of him through his life.

    That's the way I wanna go. Just saying. :eek:

    My whacky Unlce Mile arranged for a green funeral - no body preparation whatsoever. He arranged to be buried under a huge oak tree in a burlap bag at a nature preserve (private, obviously).
     
  9. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    #9
    I like burn to ashed, to me seems points less to fill of the earth is dead corpse, also the coffin route seems creep, dead bodys seem werid. Ashes seem nicer
     
  10. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #10
    Although... if they were not cemeteries, they'd probably be housing tracts. Not a real improvement, IMHO.
    And they love to play on your guilt... as though the coffin really matters, but they're all lined up from cheap to "beautiful" - it makes me sick. It's not like people are feeling happy anyway, and then to have to pick out a coffin thinking they'll look bad if they choose a cheap one....
    That actually sounds very peaceful... too bad it isn't a viable option for most, as it seems very cool. Given a choice between standard burial, cremation, and that... I think I'd choose that.
     
  11. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #11
    My grandfather was cremated when he passed away. The hardest part was watching the pain in the eyes of my father and uncle when they pushed the button to start the oven. But, I think it helped get much of the grief "out" more easily than a burial would have.

    I am not sure what I would like, and I have not made any decision. It's funny - I have my living will all done, but I haven't taken care of stuff for after.

    As for the environmental risks - wouldn't much of that material be leaking into the groundwater when the coffins and bodies decomposed? Even the (i think it's the) zorastrarian method of placing the body in towers for nature to process it would mean toxins for birds. Hazards are everywhere. So, "meh" to MN.
     
  12. iGary thread starter Guest

    iGary

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    #12
    Phew - luckily I had nothing to do with the cremation.

    Most states require that coffins get placed in a crypt (concrete usually) in order to avoid contamination.

    Anyway, I was thinking about this because I just finished my living and real wills and had to make a choice. My "burial" wishes are to be cremated immediately upon death, no fancy urn, and then to have my ashes scattered into the Pacific at Julia Pfeiffer Falls near Big Sur. It is the one place I have felt the most at peace in my life. :eek:

    Didn't want you all to think I was about to jump off a bridge or something. :p :eek:
     
  13. iGary thread starter Guest

    iGary

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    #13
    Seacliff is beautiful. :)
     
  14. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #14
    Sounds beautiful. Truly.

    Are you sure that you don't want to also specify in your will that ashes (from a grill, not yours!) should be scattered outside your current dwelling's management offices, with a small sign reading "Here lie the remains of Gary, finally at peace" - possibly with some bird feed sprinkled on top?

    Edit: PS No ashes on the MR servers as well? Just so we'd know you were always "with us"?
     
  15. iGary thread starter Guest

    iGary

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    #15
    :D :D :D :D

    That would rule!!! Then the birds could poop me all over Harbour Gates.

    I LOVE IT!!!

    The guy who rediscovered the Ivory Billed Woodpecker is speaking at my bird club tonight. I should put up flyers all around our complex. :D
     
  16. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #16
    I thought you might enjoy that. ;)
     
  17. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #17
    This I think is the most difficult decision for a person who chooses cremation - what to do with the ashes. It is also the reason I have yet to decide on whether to go under or burn. If I get put under, I'll just go to the nearest place to my house. If I burn, I want to be taken somewhere special - I just don't know where that is yet.
     
  18. iGary thread starter Guest

    iGary

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    #18
    I just ordered it. :eek:
     
  19. XNine macrumors 68040

    XNine

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    #19
    I want to be cremated and put into a shell, then blasted into the side of a mountain. I figure this way no one has to worry about who gets my ashes, and I'm not scattered across the ground for people to step on and get stuck on their shoes. This way, I'm being put right back where nature wants me, and not using up a lot of space.
     
  20. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #20
    I knew someone who left instructions to have his ashes scattered at Wrigley Field. His widow complied, but it turned into a rather interesting story for her... so the lesson is, make those final requests realistic.

    Forget funeral services. I've only been to a few (including one open casket) and they are universally grim, awful, depressing affairs. These days, it's memorials all the way. I went to one of these just yesterday. It gave everybody a chance to share their memories of their lost friend. A much more positive experience.
     
  21. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #21
    It's also available as an audio book, FWIW.
     
  22. iGary thread starter Guest

    iGary

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    #22
    Yeah, dad's memorial service was awesome.

    His best friend that he went to boot camp with spoke, one of his best friends from NSA spoke, one of my brother in laws spoke, and then I spoke. After we had the slideshow.

    I agree with you - funerals are just gross, depressing and as you say "universally" depressing. I imagine dad's ash scattering will be an emotional affair, but so much more celebratory of one's life than tossing them in the ground.
     
  23. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #23
    personally i feel crementation creepier than burial

    that aside not in every country it's allowed to scatter the ashes in rivers etc.
    here you are not allowed to keep the ashes in your home they have to be keep in a graveyard but that is still discussed

    open coffin ceremonies are unknown over here, i only know it from US movies...
     
  24. iGary thread starter Guest

    iGary

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    #24
    I guess a lot of people feel that being burned to your simplest elements is more natural than being pumed full of chemicals, the rigor mortis massaged out of your limbs by some stranger, having a plug put into your orrifices, having some stranger dress you up and dust you with baby powder, etc. Then be put in some box and burried. Like I said, it is personal...but.

    And yeah, we will be breaking the law when we scatter dad's ashes in the Bay. See if it stops me.
     
  25. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #25
    They aren't very common over here anymore, either. I think this is mainly a Roman Catholic tradition, but I'm not certain.
     

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