“If any of you cry at my funeral, I’ll never speak to you again!” – Stan Laurel
As I pedal my bicycle all over the county I pass little memorials erected on the side of the road. Signs and homemade crosses, plastic flowers and stuffed animals mark the spot where someone loved was killed in a car crash. Our county coroner marks the spot of automobile fatalities with a white cross painted on the road. Honestly, I think the average citizen would be surprised how many of these memorials exist. Most people miss them because they are traveling 45 mph texting someone. I see them because I am pedaling 12 mph on the side of the road watching out for the people traveling 45 mph texting.
I find these memorials interesting. I wonder what the mindset is to create them in the first place. I understand the emotional aspect in the beginning but why maintain the memorial and continue to live through the pain, relive the event? Maybe it is healing to some, but I would find it difficult to drive by it every week and be reminded of the loss.
Over July the 4th my father mentioned to me and my siblings that all of the “instructions” for his funeral were in a folder in his file cabinet. Being the smart-ass that I am I asked how would he know whether or not we actually followed his instructions? He didn’t think that was funny. Apparently my Dad has lost his sense of humor in his old age.
My parents have a problem though, my Dad wants to be buried in his hometown in the same church cemetery his parents, and grandparents reside. My Mother on the other hand has zip, zero interest in being buried in this town, also her hometown. Honestly she doesn’t want to buried at all. She said she wants to be cremated and doesn’t care what we, her children, do with her ashes.
Both of my parents visit the graves of their parents once or twice a year. If my Dad truly wants to be buried in his hometown I honestly doubt I will make that trip very often to “visit” him. I don’t live close to his and Moms hometown and it isn’t on the way to anywhere. I will though keep some of my Mothers ashes in a mason jar, she would like that and keep her on my dresser or maybe next to the ashes of my favorite Labrador Retriever.
My Father has some kind of deep rooted theological issue with being cremated though he can’t communicate nor quote the verse to back-up his concern. Even though he has been a Presbyterian for 95% of his life his faith is rooted in his Southern Baptist, Primitive Church, small town upbringing.
I don’t want to put words in his mouth but I think his anxiety stems from his possible Resurrection, can there be one without a body? This is not some backwoods, uneducated individual. This is a man who has traveled the world, a very successful man both in life and work but a man who comes from very humble beginnings and it is those beginnings that have dominated his every action, his very existences.
I have no interest in having my family buy a $3,000 shiny casket and sticking my big ass in the ground. I agree with my Mother, cremate me or better still send my body to the Medical University and let some cute twenty-year old nurse see what she has to look forward to when her studly boyfriend gets to be an old fat bald guy like me.
If there is a Resurrection event in the future I doubt the body, the vessel we used here on earth will really do us much good. But faith and beliefs are a fickle beast. People follow a path of the unknown, they think they have the answers, they believe they have the answers, but their faith is simply the hope that they chose correctly. We shall see.
“I had a friend who was a clown. When he died, all his friends went to the funeral in one car.” – Steven Wright