Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'm Just Tired, Not Dead

Today I received an invitation in the mail to be cremated.

How lovely.

I have never heard of the Trident Society before and don't know these people, yet they addressed me as "Susan." It makes me uneasy that they got my name off some list which indicates that I am ready to die.

"Simple, Economical and Dignified...
that's our motto!"

Among the many advantages to making my arrangements now, they assure me that I will lock in today's price as well as protect my family from falling victim to pressure to overspend (also known as "up selling) at a time when they are emotionally vulnerable.

"Cremation just makes sense. If you are not interested in spending your family's inheritance on embalming, caskets, vaults, markers, fancy funeral homes or cemetery property, then we have the answer!"

Did you know that "over 50% of Californians have selected cremation as their preference?"

Neither did I.

Actually, I would prefer to live forever.

The Trident Society, which sounds like toothpaste or chewing gum, would simply like my permission to provide me with information on pre-need plans if cremation is my choice too.

The return envelope does not require postage. It's only fair -- they want my body.

I would definitely lean toward cremation if images of Joan of Ark and all the Salem witches were not inflaming my mind. The idea of being buried in the ground is odious because while I am not particularly claustrophobic now, I am sure that I would be in a box six feet under.

You know, there's always a payoff. We are born, we have a wonderful body which protects us against the elements, takes care of our needs and provides endless pleasures during the course of our lifetime. And then at the end, we have to arrange for its disposal.

It's not right.

I have always imagined being buried at sea as long as I am actually and completely dead before it happens. It charms me to think of becoming part of the food chain. And perhaps my family could combine dropping off Mom with a nice cruise to Hawaii.


daysgoby said...

Ooh, I like that!

Did you know there's a company that will take the ashes of your loved one (or pet) and make a diamond (ish) rock for a ring?

Right hand to God:

My mother recently called and wanted to discuss funeral services with her. As in hers ...and MINE.


Nick said...

Buried at sea and becoming part of the food chain? Great idea, never thought of that. Better than being buried on land and just attracting a few worms. But I think I'll still opt for cremation, cemeteries everywhere are running out of space for bodies. There's talk of stacking them six deep to cope with the demand!!

furiousBall said...

I think it would be fun (well I wouldn't know) to be shot out of a cannon into the ocean.

RED MOJO said...

If I got something like that in the mail, I'd burn it.

NoRegrets said...

Oh, that's way cool. Which is worse? An invitation to join AARP or to be cremated?

Echomouse said...

LOL Well said :)

But as someone who has experienced having to make funeral arrangements within 24 hours of a death - 3 times now - I'm all for people setting these things up on their own before they die. It's hell being left to make those decision while dealing with the loss at the same time. And few get it completely right that way.

Maybe you could just make your wishes known and not pay anyone? Leave money to cover it and that's all you need to do. Plus, that Hawaii trip sounds lovely :)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Hearts, you cannot be cremated! Do you really want to contribute to more carbon dioxide in the air and hence, climate change? Surely not!

thailandchani said...

Cremation is definitely the way I'll go. Cheap and efficient. I will be off to other adventures and don't really care what happens to the shell.

Being left out in the forest is also an option.. maybe. I do like that idea. Just become part of the cycle of life that way.

My second thought of course was that the relentless marketing never stops! :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I did not know of this. Amazing! I kind of love the idea of my children fighting over who gets to wear Mom today. NOT.

Your mother does realize that you are a generation younger than she is, I hope?

Except for occasional remarks from my mother about how she brought me into this world and could take me out of it, I don't think my future death was ever discussed with her.


That's appalling. It seems that land should be used to grow food, not bodies, when there is so much hunger in the world.

I will probably opt for cremation, too, but the idea of people with large ovens panting over my remains while I'm still breathing is off-putting.


You do mean AFTER death, yes?

Aren't Rice Krispies shot from guns, too?


How appropriate.


I am in receipt of your letter and have cremated it. You may pick up the remains, if you so choose."

No Regrets,

I've been getting the AARP death knolls for years. I stuff them in the garbage as fast as I would a dead mouse on my dinner plate.


That must have been truly awful for you.

I do believe that I should leave a directive which will take the responsibility off my children.

I suppose these people are performing a service, but it seems tasteless to remind me of my impending doom.


What do you suggest then? It seems that no matter what, my vacated body will be an embarrassment that needs to be discarded.


Certain Indian tribes wrapped bodies in red cloth bundles and placed them in the tree tops.

I think the marketing offends me far more than death does. Making money off a natural event is offensive, even as I understand that someone needs to tend to these things.

WNG said...

I'm not sure I want things eating me...
Mama G is absolutely set on cremation, she hates the whole idea of graves. I'd be ok with being shot off into space.

BTW daysgoby, life gem was lampooned on this week's Boston Legal :)

Rebecca said...

Here in NY they have green cemeteries in way upstate remote areas that don't allow embalming or coffins. You just go back into the food chain terrestrially rather than the burial at sea route. Part of me finds that very appealing. Then there is the genealogist that fights it..And i have gotten those pre-need phone calls. Blech. My husband gets the AARP material. And yes, he's old than I am.

meggie said...

I rather like the idea of the cruise & the flicking off of my bod into the ocean!
I have opted for cremation. Don't know why really, seems cleaner?

My mother discussed everything with us before she went, & though I hated talking about it initially, in the end we laughed as we planned, & were glad to have those memories when she did die.

Franki said...

My most fervent with is that I would have the strength to find a quiet hole in a cave or tree and sit down and just release my life.

My roommate wants to be pushed into the LaBrea tar pits and his hoping to be a fossil necklace on some giant someday.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


No, wait! Mama G is absolutely not allowed to go anywhere. We need her here for as long as humanly possible.

I'll have to check out Life Gem but maybe I'll wait until later because I just ate.


The green cemeteries sound very nice.

Now if I could just arrange to die in my home state...


Your mother was very clear eyed and she did you a tremendous favor. I need to decide what I want done and commit it to paper so my children won't have to deal with the decision.


I think that your idea is very lovely and natural, like a yogini meditating in a cave and just letting go of all this.

Your roommate's idea - not so lovely. But definitely final - if they can sneak her through the fences.

Molly said...

It took me a while to read through this post because after the introductory line I could not stop laughing! I've received offers like that, but instead of using them as a springboard to an hilarious post, as you did, I tossed them in the recycling bin---treasure thrown away! You have to wonder what kind of insensitive clods get paid to write that rubbish......

Have heard of those green,back to nature burial grounds referred to by Rebecca---that wouldn't be so bad---I mean our spirits will be long gone when the worms move in.

The most ghoulish thing I ever heard was on a National Geographic show last week about body farms. They interviewed a PhD candidate who was the head honcho at one of these places---on the grounds of a university. I forget which one. The[donated] bodies are just put out, uncovered, on the ground at the body farm, which is fenced off from the rest of the campus, and the elements take over. Notes are kept daily/weekly on the deterioration. All this in the interests of forensic science.....very creepy.

Burn me.


Los Angelista said...

Wowzer. I hope my invitation gets lost in the mail! So weird. They need to fire whoever thought this marketing campaign up.

I want to be buried in a plain wood box without embalming. I can't imagine some huge steel casket. Not for me.

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

I do actually know someone who's mother wanted her ashes to be scattered in Hawaii, and the entire family is on it's way there to make her last wish come true. It seems rather nice, actually -- at this time of intense grief, she's given them an opportunity to get away from real life for a while.

Jocelyn said...

Such practicality.

I'd like to be dragged out to the woods and propped against a tree--a veritable buffet for any animal in the vicinity.

The racket that is the funereal world makes me peevish.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I just googled body farms and was thoroughly disgusted. I can't imagine raising a child who one day becomes a decomposition specialist with clipboard and presumably, mask.

This is a persuasive argument in the contest for my last remains. I think the less there is of me, the better off I'll be. Burn, baby, burn.


That sounds peaceful, with an apple tree shading you and birds singing while they pull worms off you.



This is lovely, a last wonderful gift from their mother. They will always remember that she was thinking of them to the end.


Vultures, preying on people who are at their most vulnerable, exploiting their grief and possible guilt to make a killing.

the walking man said...

Set my mortal remains in a small Viking ship send it in the current and have the archers flame the boat so the Valkyrie may spot it and come get this old street fighter to take to Valhalla.



jameil1922 said...

lmao @ perhaps my family could combine dropping off Mom with a nice cruise to Hawaii.

hilarious. i really don't care what they do with my body. i won't be here. i've told everyone who will listen, "do what's cheapest." i don't want anyone going into debt b/c i died.

Danielle said...

Ok. I'm laughing hysterically! Not at the thought of you dying, of course. That'd just be grossly cruel. But rather of my own demise and "disposal" on a cruise ship to Hawaii. There they are, my family, in their flowered shirts and board shorts, hoisting a canvas wrapped me over the railing, toasting with pina coladas. They spend a silent moment and then, "Ok. Who's up for the slots?" I'm dying here...figuratively of course. LOL! Thanks for the image.

Slip said...

My father requested an old fashioned Irish wake, one day viewing in a rented coffin, cremation, and his ashes sprinkled on the lawns of anyone that owed him money. It all worked out.Myself I have donated my body through organ donation, skin me, tear out and reuse any good parts then fry up what's left. I believe when you are dead your dead.

WNG said...

That's what I said, Hearts! She's in the middle of rewriting her will though so she keeps calling me with tidbits of information that I DO NOT want. I want to live in a world where mommies never die. How 'bout we do that?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


That sounds fine if you intend to be slain gloriously in battle, but what if you die first?

At least you can probably get into the small hamlet of Valhalla, New York in that case.


That is the only sensible approach. Money should be spent on the living. It's bizarre to see people "enjoying" luxuries in death that they didn't have in life, especially when the real benefactors are the funeral companies.


I'm glad your dying is only figurative. That's a really nice visual of my family in Hawaiian shirts and muu muus taking a moment out of their merriment to throw my body to the sharks.


I hope your father is haunting the folks who owed him money.

I think that everyone should be an organ donor, but frankly, I haven't yet signed the card because I'm a bit paranoid about being mined for spare parts before I'm dead. I need to settle this soon.


I couldn't agree more. The thought of not being in my children's lives makes me very sad.

*~*Cece*~* said...

I want to be burried so I can guilt my family into visiting me weekly! BAWAHAHAHAHAHA!

meno said...

Well now i feel better about getting that AARP solicitation in the mail. It could have been worse! :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I hope they appreciate all you're doing for them.


First comes AARP, then comes Death. It's a continuum.

Irrelephant said...

They want you to make a real ash of yourself, eh? *snort*

Maria said...

My mother disowned me for being a lesbian when I was 25. After she died, my sisters found a plot that she had purchased for me next to her and my father; she probably thought that it was a kindness since I would die alone and penniless.

So, I have the plot. I just don't want to be buried. I already have a plan to be cremated. But, so far no one has recruited me. Maybe I should change my name....

Anonymous said...

Oooo, Joan of Arc and the Salem witches. Now you're talking turkey. Gave me all kinds of warm fuzzies. (Warm, not searing.)

I'm 100% pro-cremation. Never had a thought to the contrary. I'm also 100% pro-organ donation so leftovers go into the fire. Clean. Neat. Utilitarian.

No thank you.


heartinsanfrancisco said...


Ash not what your country can do for you, ash what you can do for your country.


Your mother gave heterosexuals a bad name.

My parents bought plots for my brother and me next to theirs when we were kids, but neither of us will be using them. He has his own family's and I am up for grabs.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Warm fuzzies? How warm, exactly?

Joan and the Salem ladies are a bit of a deterrent to cremation, but I do recognize that there are differences.

Cremation is to bonfire as --- is to --?

Old Scrote said...

I agree with the late Spike Milligan, who said:
"I don't mind dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens".

BTW, if you are not satisfied with the cremation, can you get a refund?

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Probably not, which would give new meaning to the expression "getting burned."

I always attributed that great quote to Woody Allen.

Josie said...

In BC they now have a thing called "green burials" where you can literally be planted underneath a tree, and decompose into the soil, etc. Einstein once said there are a fix number of atoms in the universe, and when we die and decompose, we become something else, such as a maple tree. I sort of like that idea. Well, I have occasionally been called a big sap, anyway.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm sure Einstein was right. All matter is energy and energy cannot cease to exist - it just changes form.

Canada is such a beautifully civilized country. Burial beneath a tree is so bucolic, a lovely way to change ones form.

the walking man said...

See your post above this one and tell me that every day is not a battle with one thing or another.



Wanderlust Scarlett said...

How ironic. I was driving home yesterday and saw a thick billowy plume of smoke shooting powerfully up into the air and thought... oh no, there's a fire!

And then I realized that it was coming from the mortuary down the road from my place... EWWWWWWWWWW
I was so sickened. I didn't breathe as I drove past it.

It's clean, it's cost effective and environmentally sound. It's efficient. It still makes me cringe, and it is my preferred method of remains disposal.

I am hoping to be cremated and put to sea... as near as possible to San Francisco, actually. I told my sister, make sure you dump the box DOWN WIND...

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Open Grove Claudia said...

I've always wanted to be buried at sea. I thought just being dumped overboard would work but... I guess that's illegal now. Trident here I come! :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


You ain't lyin'. I think people die because they just get tired of dealing with increasing incompetence and absurdity in the world.


Oh, dear. I wouldn't like to live near that billowing cloud of human smoke. It would give me nightmares about Nazi Germany. It might make flowers grow quite well, though.

And yes, definitely down wind.


I think you have to be alive to walk the plank these days.

Mariposa said...

I'm laughing so hard that I have teary eyed and my jaw hurts...I missed this site! Glad I'm back!

Anonymous said...

Personally I wouldn't mind a viking burial. I rather like combining fire and sea together. This way the hungry ocean beasts would get bbqued me. I feel I'm generous that way.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm glad you're back, too!


I think they like their meat raw.

Angela said...

Oh, my. How disturbing. Of course, in my dichotomy, I want to be cremated and have my ashes spread both at the beach AND the woods. Who is actually going to do this, I'm not yet sure, but I am hopeful it will happen.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I agree with you. I also love both beaches and woodlands, and jungles.

You're still a long way from this being a pressing matter, though.

Melanie said...

i like that too!

whatever. burn me, chop me up, use whatever viable organs I have left to help someone.just don't bury me. I have severe claustrophobia.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Yeah, but you have nice toenails.
(I'm sure somebody would like to have them.)

Quiet Rage said...

I guess people will try to sell anything. I don't think about dying much. It's the last thing I want to do.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


LOL. Me, too. The very last thing.