Wednesday, 25 July 2012
Most folks don’t sit and dwell about the last encore of their life….the closing act. There’s the responsibility of making a will, prearrangements, final wishes and the burning of hidden photos. Making final arrangements is seldom listed with clean up dog poop on our ‘to-do’ list, but things happen. I know….when you’re in your twenties, thirties and forties, death is just part of a Sylvester Stallone movie or maybe a 20 point score on a video game. So why worry? Well, fact is, 6,575 people slip into rigor mortis every day in this country. Most were not prepared for falling off that ladder or the consequences of flipping off that fat guy in traffic. But, things happen. Now, people don’t really know when their life-ticket is about to expire, except maybe the moment before the semi reaches their front bumper. This blog is a FFT, (Food For Thought), posting. In this case, the funeral.
The Funeral; (The goodbye parade)
In this country, funerals are as expensive as a HARLEY DAVIDSON . Because of that, almost 32% of all final arrangements are for cremations. Simple with no brass work or fancy fringes and only requires one pallbearer. The funeral is nothing more than a small box placed on a post for folks to gawk at with your photoshopped pic on top. Then the cremains are placed into a small niche in a granite wall and slab-dab, you’re done! Often, the in-laws will endorse the economy plan of just spreading the ashes along I-75 on the way to Denny’s following the service.
The all inclusive casket funeral accounts for about 64% of all arrangements in the US. This tradition is like a five act Greek tragedy. The body is stretched out on a stainless steel slab, then it’s pumped, gouged and filled with pickling chemicals. Afterwards, a lonely cosmetologist decorates the face and hair, so as not to disturb the family by having the dead look dead. Then the carcass is hoisted into a mahogany Celestial Repose, model #B2334, with burnished brass fixtures and inlayed silk bedding, $$$. Then comes the wake or viewing, as a slow procession of over dressed mourners file by the open casket and quietly thank their lucky stars it ain’t them laying there. Then comes the church service with too many words….then a slow motorcade to Slumbering Gardens, $$$ and more words and then finally they toss the dirt.
What has gained popularity among the tree huggers in the last few years are “Green Funerals.” Out in a remote meadow or in a peaceful forest, a simple grave is dug and the unembalmed remains are either wrapped in a shroud, (bed sheet), or placed in a biodegradable burial container, (wood or wicker), and just simply dropped into the bare earthen hole and covered up. The idea, I guess, is like all of nature, we should return to nature as compost. I can just imagine the varmints waiting in the bushes, licking their chops and patiently waiting for the mourners to leave. I think I just grossed myself out.
Okay, 32% cremations and 64% burials. The remaining 4% can be a puzzler. Sure, a lot of bodies are donated to science or given to carnivals, or whatever, and some also become cryogenic popsicles. Then there’s the half of 1% that no one is sure of. Bodies that just disappear, most likely into remote areas or backyards. That’s for CSI or X-files to figure out.
Final word; If you don’t want to end up as an exhibit in some county fair, or as a homework assignment in some remote medical school in the Caribbean……then make your arrangements.