In the early days of the blog I did quite a few ‘personal perspectives’ and I am not sure why I haven’t posted any for a while. This lady’s ponderings interested me, not only is it thoughtful, but it has a clear insight into the american way of thinking and highlights for me the debate in the US on the rise in cremation. In spite of everything talked about it is not cost based, although money is mentioned, instead centres around obligation and memorialisation.
I have directly cut and pasted the relevant section with a link to the full article at the bottom.
“That brings up an entirely new issue: the family debate over cremation. Which is better: having one’s ashes scattered over some bucolic mountain or ocean scene, or having a casket in a cemetery plot?
Some members of our family say that it is selfish to be cremated and not allow the rest of the family to have a place of memory. Is it selfish to be cremated? Or is it self-less? Seems to me not having any cemetery plot to purchase and mess with makes things easier and less expensive for the survivors.
My mom and dad have told us kids just to put them each in a green garbage bag, leave them at a landfill and spare the expense. We kids figure that must present some sort of health hazard and will pool our funds for the crematory.
Plus with cremation, there’s no issue of survivor’s guilt. Why leave loved ones behind to feel obligated to go visit a plot of land and ensure that it’s free of weeds or has not fallen into disrepair?
On the other hand, I can appreciate the need for the survivors wanting to have a place to go. There is sentiment in having a place to go and reflect on departed loved ones. And for plots with a waterfront view, that is not so bad for the living either. Who is to say what is the right answer?
Finally, that leads to the other family ethical debate — the open versus closed casket. Personally, I do not want to be remembered looking like some wax museum make-up laden dummy. Cremate me and show a video of when I had a human spirit in me (perhaps on my mountain bike). Scatter my ashes in some open body of water somewhere and then go have a big outdoor barbeque and celebrate.
But other family members say that viewing an open casket gives closure, that it allows folks to properly say goodbye.
And so the debate goes on. I say from ashes to ashes, from dust to dust. My body is just a vessel for my human spirit — one that loves a Sunday cemetery spin.’
So thank you Mrs Quinn from Richmond Virginia.