Thursday, September 27, 2007

There must have been a full moon this month...

I did make it to water aerobics this morning. As I drove there, I passed the church where a new columbarium is being installed, amidst much local debate. Seems it is illegal to keep human remains anywhere in Kingwood so the church is in the midst of legal challenge. It is too bad; the columbarium is very simple and out of view to anyone except those who would wish to visit it on the church's private property.

I wonder how many people around here knew about this law before? Once it becomes a bigger issue, and starts hitting the papers, I guess it will be adios to Great Aunt Opal's ashes on the mantle; people will be told to get thee to a mega Service Corporation property and place the urn there instead.

I personally have treasured church yard cemeteries. England's and New England churches always have somber yet reassuring grave yards; I love to imagine Resurrection Day, and the dearly departed joining in on Sunday worship songs albeit in heaven, even now.

The mega Memorial Parks reminds me of bus stations; people crowded together waiting to go somewhere, never before or after to have common reason for such assembly.

At the stop light I was treated to music not of my choosing. You know the kind; cranked up base thumping in a slow rhythm that bounces your bottom on the seat of the car whether you enjoy the experience or not.

My mind flashed back to the job I once held at a Mega Corporation Memorial Park for a brief time. There were caskets to be had which would gently pipe in music for the enjoyment of the deceased, or at least to the emotional satisfaction of whomever made such melodic decisions for the deceased.

This was almost twenty years ago that I saw such an option first offered. It was demonstrated with soft religious organ music seeping gently behind the pillow where the dearly departed's head would someday rest.

As the THUMP Tha THUMP THUMP, THUMP Tha THUMP THUMP beat assaulted my car, I envisioned visiting a Memorial Park, and coming across a memorial plaque vibrating to the heavy beat of the modern sounds. I imagined my elderly relatives (and myself) interned next to that, and shades of life in the dormitory, rising up before the Last Trump to yell out "Turn it down, I'm trying to sleep here!"

Or something like that.

In the pool, a collection of middle and late aged people arranged themselves in evenly spaced places, and the aerobics teacher cranked up the music.

First up: "Living La Vida Loca"

I imagine iPods for the dead, and play lists created "before need" or by distant relatives with less sense than pop culture affiliation. Yeah, I could see it now..."Inside, la vida loca"

Next: "Great Balls of Fire!"

Well, for cremation...that would work...

I don't own an iPod and those who know me best know that music adheres to my brain and loops endlessly, so I must be very wary of what music I expose my ears to. What ever comes in, stays in, for days at a time.

For the record: I do not want music played on an iPod in my casket. What I want is to be cremated. I want my ashes to be intermingled with my husband's ashes, and our urn either kept in a garden somewhere or on a book shelf.

My girlfriend, upon hearing me muse on this thought briskly commented "So, you want to be in an urn with Bern until the Lord returns."

Yeah. That'll work.

It's good to have these details settled ahead of time. Otherwise all kinds of craziness ensues. There is even a website where people post stories about this, it is a place called Etiquette Hell. Reading that site makes me laugh so hard; it covers miscues at weddings, showers, business and other situation where common sense might save the day, if sense was still commonly to be found.

One woman I know had a mother in law pass away. She called me to ask about Memorial Parks in the area, and commented that she was considering the one that was on the way to the mall.

I imagined the family gathered about, and as the final prayer was uttered, everyone pulled out their Sears Sale Circular and headed out, knowing the post funeral meal could easily be gotten at the food court, and afterwards, bargains could be compared.

Actually that is not such a bad idea. My mom and I always enjoy post sale brag sessions; someday it could actually be a comfort to call out as I drove by the Memorial Park:

"Hey, guess what? I got a Jones New York blazer at 50% off, and an additional 10% off because it was Senior Citizen's Get 10% off Tuesday!"

Well, Bernie wants to stop typing and help him with something so I've gotta run.
You know how it is with life around here...the beat goes on.


Marie Christopher said...

Well, my kids are going to have my body cremated also. And my ashes are to be divided and placed in three mason jars. Then the three of them are going to split me up all over - one to Vegas; one to the beach; and one to Colorado. I want to be everywhere! I told them that if they don't do what I have instructed, I will come back and haunt them for sure!

My mom and dad are buried as they wished in a cemetery west of Cleveland, Texas - plots that they chose in the caskets that they chose (except we fancied mom's up a little - she was too stingy on herself). They had their services completely paid for and instructions left for us.

My oldest younger brother passed away last October and I have kept his ashes, but it's time to give them to mom and dad on the anniversary of his passing. I kept him with me for another year - could not give him up yet. But it's time now.

I don't feel the need to visit the graves of my parents on a regular basis - nor do my siblings. We honor their lives by living our own lives as our parents wanted us to do. We see their love in each other and our kids and grandkids. And honor them by speaking of them often - keeping them in the young'un's hearts and memories. Even the little ones who did not spend much time with them while my parents were alive, know them well.


A Lady said...

I just told Jeff I'm not keeping his ashes for him. Or yours. Sorry. I guess Jeff will have to have them and mix them in with Mack's and Jennies and whoever else. I'll do my best to be eaten by a shark or something so I don't have to have any of that.
And it's "Vida." not vita, fyi. Does make it more interesting. Look up Vita in a spanish dictionary. much fun!
Love ya!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Laura and Jeff: Mack and Jenny can be mixed in too, and then just put all of us under a nice japanese maple somewhere.

(And I've corrected the Spanish...)

Anonymous said...

Oh, my! How funny! I was first going to give you praise for making it to water aerobics...but then, I got side-tracked by laughter! I was right there with you...thumping bass and all. Doc and I have made the same decision - same urn, mix it all up! The kids can then bury it, scatter it, or stare at it...their choice.

Excuse me...I'm still laughing!!! (By the way, I did my 42-minute cardio workout today!)

Marie Christopher said...

By the way, back to bodies and souls -- when I was married back in 1964, my husband told me when he died he wanted to be buried in the middle of a pasture in Central Texas with a pecan stuffed in his belly-button - no casket - just the old timey plant him in the ground. He wanted to be re-made into a big pecan tree. I told him that those pecans would taste mighty funny! Of course, through the years, he has gotten very serious about things, and has asked to be buried in the Veterans' Cemetery here in Houston. I asked him recently if he still wanted that pecan in his belly-button. He said yes! He is my ex-husband now, but I told him I'd see what I could do for him. Lovely!