Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Say my name

Saturday Amy Winehouse died.

Sunday the theme of our church service was Green Burials. Don't know what that is? Google it. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Okay. So I am a Unitarian Universalist and it stands to reason that many UUs (who are pretty environmentally responsible as a group) are interested in green burial. Me? Not so much.

Of course, I am all for losing the concrete vault, the shiny casket, the embroidered satin lining, all of which make me a little sick to my stomach, but I am not a "plant me in a pine box or a cotton shroud and I will decompose and literally push up daisies" kind of girl.

Cremation for me, please. And I would like the environmental offset fees paid, as well. But I won't know, so whatever.

As for what to do with me, my husband jokes that he's going to scatter my ashes on the crab grounds in the Bering Sea, since King Crab is my favorite food and I LOVE the television show The Deadliest Catch. However, as a girl who hates the cold and the snow, I think that's just cruel.

So I decided to document my choices here. I understand that nothing is legal or binding about this but I have hope that my family will honor my wishes.

Cremate me. Don't buy a casket or anything fancy. Do NOT burn my jewelry, including my wedding ring. For heaven's sake, I don't need it. Jewelry should be worn.
Divide my ashes in 3 parts: one to be scattered at Maple Lake, Minnesota in Polk County near my grandparents' cabins; one to be scattered in the ocean, one to bury. Bury those in Bethel Cemetery in Clearwater County, MN. I am in the process of finding out more about that cemetery and obtaining a plot, but I have chosen it because my great-grandma Anna's brother Arne is buried there. He was 2 years old when he died and it was the cemetery nearest the farm. Later the family moved to a different farm and everyone else is buried in a municipal cemetery nearby.

Bethel is out in the country. It's small and a little overgrown. In doing genealogy research I have spent a lot of time in many cemeteries and I know what I like. Bethel is friendly. There are trees and shade and it's peaceful. There are lots of different sizes and shapes of headstones. And as long as I'm talking about what I like in a cemetery, let's talk about Sunnywood Gardens in Grand Forks, ND, where my Grandpa Don is buried. I HATE that cemetery. It is right in the middle of town at the intersection of 2 very busy roads. It doesn't have enough trees and feels commercial, too sunny, and just yucky. If I die and it hasn't been done yet, I want him moved to Bethel. Leave my grandma where she is ... Grandpa, Arne and I will have a grand old time in a shady, quiet corner.

I want a headstone -- not fancy or ornate, plain is fine. And for now, I simply want the epitaph to read, "She Loved." I may change my mind, but I think that says it all.

And then -- don't come back. I mean, visit if you want to, if it makes you happy. But if it makes you sad, or you feel any guilt about not visiting, or whatever, then don't. Think of me. Have a drink. Listen to some Springsteen.

Say my name out loud.

1 comment:

  1. What a great read Jennifer, definitely thought provoking. I've never been too on the idea of being buried, especially since I'm claustrophobic (I know, it's kinda silly) . . . but the older I get the more I appreciate cemeteries and the history they hold. I think my preference is going to be to bury my ashes, and I know the perfect location.