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Over at LJ we were asked:

What do you want done with your body after you die? (View answers)

This is actually something I've thought about. My first priority is practical good. So if my eye corneas can give someone sight or my bone marrow can save a sick kid with leukemia, then I'm all for it. I spend too much time in the pediatric oncology ward not to be all for it. And yes, I am officially an organ donor.

Beyond that, I see three goals that need balancing: comfort to those I leave behind, a philosophical statement about my values, and ecological preservation. Personally I think there is something beautiful in cremation: the sudden reduction of the body to ashes, the reincorporation with the earth. Personally I would prefer to be scattered somewhere, perhaps in the wind, so I can think of myself as being reintegrated back into the things still alive. It's like embracing the world. Ecologically, cremation makes a lot more sense than burial, too.

That stands (maybe) against the views of those I'll leave behind. Some family members probably prefer a traditional burial, and I can understand that. I wouldn't have a problem with it for their sake; any benefit I get out of imagining myself cremated is negligible, compared to the benefit they get after I'm dead of seeing me buried in the traditional way (if that is what they want). But to the extent that what's done with my body - after organ harvesting, of course - should depend on what I want now, I think I'd prefer not to be eaten by worms. :-)

This entry was originally posted at http://fidesquaerens.dreamwidth.org/17099.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 30th, 2011 01:36 am (UTC)
I feel very, very strongly that I want a green burial. A hole, a shroud, and me. I derive immense comfort and satisfaction that I will return to the earth and nurture the things on it. And having read "The American Way of Death," I want no part of the Funeral-Industrial Complex: the unnecessary expenditures, corporatized funeral home conglomerates running small family undertaking practices out of town, predatory sales practices on grieving families, environmental pollutants... No thank you. There's a place up near Ithaca and one in NJ that I've gotten info from and have made both my husband and parents aware that this is my wish. My husband doesn't like talking about it; my mother and I find it quite practical.

Any and all useful parts can and should be taken first, of course-- I'll be done with them, and more than happy to pass them on.

On that note, there's a lovely documentary on the resurgence of home funerals-- whether for personal, practical, economic, or ecological reasons--on PBS called "A Family Undertaking."

(Note that it does deal very bluntly with death and funerals, and while I found it incredibly poignant and touching, your mileage may vary)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )



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