In the post I'm delving into death, specifically mine. So if that makes you cringe or whatever, well, stop reading now.
I'm really not a morbid person, but from time to time I do think about my funeral. It all started when I was 16, in my first college writing course, and we were assigned to read Jessica Mitford's essay "Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain," which describes embalming at some length. It was disgusting and fascinating all at the same time. Not long ago I I read this post over at Chocolate Chip Waffle and decided I might as well post about this, so I started a draft so I'd remember...then of course I just read "Stiff," so I finally sat down and finished the post. Like I said, I've been thinking about it (on and off) for years. ☺
Hubby has said he'd like his body to be donated to science. I think that's fantastic--do something useful with your dead self, you know? Well, Hubby never was big on modesty or clothing, but I am, so I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with laying around naked for lots of pre-med students to study, or for surgeons to practice on, or for forensic scientists to study my patterns of decomposition on the Body Farm. I just don't like the idea of public nudity, even when I'm dead.
I DO heartily support organ donation (yes, I'd support it by donating my heart if my heart could be of use to someone). I have no desire to be kept alive on machines, so if I'm brain-dead then by all means use my insides to fix up somebody elses. Hubby and I have already discussed this and know each others wishes on the matter, so there won't be any delays to get familial approval. If I don't need it any more then by all means it should be helping someone else. (It's a little sad to me that around 50% of families of brain-dead patients are not willing to let the organs be given to those in need.)
But once I'm past the point of being helpful, when the useful stuff is gone and it's just a dead body, I lean more toward the 'green burial' notion...dump me in the ocean please...or stick me in a plain pine box and bury me in the woods. Alternately, I like the book's suggestion of being composted. Freeze me, use ultrasound to blast me into tiny organic bits, then use me to fertilize a tree. What a fabulous way to go!! It sure beats cremation, not only in price but also in eco-friendliness and practical usefulness of the residual matter (and I confess that cremation has always turned my stomach a little bit. Go figure.)
In any case, please don't bother with an expensive funeral, or that embalming junk. Seriously. I have read at some length about the embalming process, and there are two things you should know:
1--you will still decompose (did you know that? The embalming process is mostly designed to keep you pretty and non-stinky through the funeral, that's it. Many of the enzymes that eat you come from the inside out, not the outside in, so even in a sealed casket you're gonna get gross).
2--I honestly believe that pumping a corpse full of formaldehyde is pretty much as damaging as letting critters gnaw on it. In other words, your body is going to be thrashed before the resurrection anyway, and I'd rather be doing some good in the world via feeding little critters, you know?
So there you have it. I want to have my organs given to other people, and then be eaten by critters.
I guess a certain degree of nudity is inevitable, but this is a less public option than, say, the body farm... and I never was fond of chemicals. Really, I think if I'd posted a poll first, most of my regular readers could have guessed that I'd go for composting. ☺