Don’t get me wrong. I love the… gatherings after the funeral. Is that what they’re called? We call them “sad parties” when talking to my son. As in, “We’re going to a sad party at Jim’s daddy’s house. We’re there to cheer up Jim.” Never mind why; he doesn’t need to know that yet.
And I honestly enjoy the “sad parties.” You get to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while, you get to make yourself a tiny turkey sandwich, and best of all, you get to share your memories about the deceased. At my grandfather’s funeral, I heard so many funny stories about him that I’d never known.
That’s the funeral I want. All “sad party,” with none of the other stuff. If you’re new here, I’ll mention again that I’m an atheist. Moreover, I don’t believe in anything supernatural, so the whole point of a funeral is lost on me. No service in a church or temple. And open casket… Ugh, why?? I want people to remember me how I actually looked, not as some creepy, chemically-treated wax doll. I feel like the whole concept of an open casket must be perpetuated by people who have never seen an open casket. If you’ve never seen one, let me tell you now: they never get it right. I won’t go into gory details, but they cannot make a dead body look like it is alive. They just can’t. Please stop trying.
In fact, I don’t want any casket. I don’t want to be buried. It strikes me as really weird and selfish that even when they no longer exist, humans still insist on taking up a spot of realty. Hello, we’re going to run out of room one day. But really, have you ever driven past a graveyard and thought of all the other things that could be using that space? A school? A park? Low-income housing? A homeless shelter, animal shelter, soup kitchen… Do I need to go on? Who the hell are we to demand that even when we’re dead and gone, we still need a big slab of marble proclaiming, “Hey, you kids! Get off my lawn!”
Not for me. Burn me. I shouldn’t even say “me,” should I? Burn my body, because that’s not me anymore. The same way my fingernail clippings and my placenta and that wisdom tooth I had removed aren’t me, when I’m dead, my body isn’t me. I am over. And that’s a bummer for the rest of you, so please feel free to get together for turkey sandwiches and warm Pinot Grigio while you discuss how funny I was.
Edit: I decided to add a little something helpful to this post. You may know that I had a shitty father. I mean, really shitty. When he was dying of pancreatic cancer, my brother moved in with him and my mom to take care of him. I couldn't stand the thought of them spending a fortune to "honor" him. Then, I remembered hearing something as a child about his parents "donating their bodies to science." So I Googled it, and found LifeLegacy.
Finally, he could do some good in this world. I printed out the paperwork and had my brother broach the subject with him, withholding the fact that it was my idea, lest he turn him down based on spite. He agreed and signed it. When he died, they called a toll-free number and notified LifeLegacy that their package was ready. LifeLegacy instructed them to contact a local funeral home that they work with. The funeral home came and took the body away, free of charge, and sent it off to LifeLegacy.
When they're done doing whatever they do to it, they cremate the rest. If you want the ashes, they'll put them in a white plastic box and mail them to you for $20. So, that's it. If you don't want to blow your savings on getting rid of a dead person, I highly recommend it. I've done a little more research since then, for my own body, and I'm going to have my family donate it to a medical school. Luckily, we live near Boston, so there's no shortage of great schools who could get some use out of me.
For your last act, why not give instead of take?