Tag Archives: funerals

Why I Don’t Want a Funeral

 
Don’t worry, friends and family. I’m not dying, at least as far as I know. I could have cancer right now, or maybe some undiagnosed heart condition. From what I can tell without an in-home MRI, I’m not dying. Not now. But, being the type-a person that I am, I like to plan and control everything, including what happens after I die. So, I want to be sure everyone knows what I want.
 
I’m not an emotional person. If you are into personality types, you should know that I am an INTJ. Look it up. It’s more of a thinking than a feeling type. Think of me as sort of a Vulcan. I watched maybe three episodes of Star Trek in my life (Star Wars is WAY better), but I know that Vulcans are logical creatures with nifty ears. They don’t want to hug you and talk about your feelings. That is how I feel about my own death. I don’t want people making a big fuss about it because of whatever feelings they might be having. Feelings don’t bring people back to life. They don’t do much of anything. Funerals just aren’t logical. What do they really DO?
 
First of all, it is super expensive to have a traditional funeral and burial. You have to buy a casket and a plot. You have to buy enough food for all of the people who attend this unnecessary event. What is the point of spending thousands of dollars so that a corpse can rot in the earth in a pretty, padded box?
 
Because that is what you are after you die. A corpse. You’re not a live person anymore. You’re already gone. So, you’re not actually going to feel the nice satin padding of the super deluxe coffin. You’re not going to know that you’re in your plot with your fancy marble tombstone.
 
And let’s talk about plots for a second. I haven’t done the research, but I would love to know how much land in this world is being used for the sole purpose of holding rotting bodies. I always hear about starving people in the world. So, why don’t we plant food instead of dead people? After all, it’s not like the people are going to grow into new people.
 
From what I can tell, we have funerals for the living. Living people need some sort of closure and seeing the casket and the corpse does that for them, maybe. I’m not one of those people. I don’t go to most funerals. I don’t see the point. It’s better to visit people when they are alive than to stand around and talk about how wonderful they are, or how peaceful they are in a “better place.”
 
When I die, I want my family to take whatever money they were going to blow on a funeral and give it to a cat shelter. I also want 20% of whatever money I have left to be donated to a cat shelter. I want to be cremated, and I want my ashes to be put wherever my family sees fit, but not in a plot with an expensive stone. And, if I’m being honest, not in the water. I hate water.

Stained Glass Welcoming

I think it's a crane.
I think it’s a crane.

I sat in the back of the funeral home visitation room and watched my son walk with his arm around my husband toward the open casket.  My Mother-in-Law was in that casket, kind of looking like she was sleeping from where I was.  Like most good introverts, I keep my emotions hidden. This is a trait I shared with my mother-in-law. As I thought about her, and watched my son comforting my husband, I tensed every muscle in my body to prevent any tears from flowing.  I was going to walk up to the casket with my husband, even though I’m not comfortable with viewings, but my son had him.  So, I sat on a small bench in the back of the room and stared forward, looking at the small part of her profile that I could see, and I thought about the first time I met her.

I had been dating Chris for about three months when he took me to meet his parents.  My stomach was in knots during the three-hour drive to their house.  All I knew about them was that they were very Catholic.  Here I was, your friendly neighborhood, divorced single mom, atheist showing up at their door.  I was certain that they would hate me.

They were very welcoming and nice.  Still, I was waiting for them to pull Chris aside and tell him to find someone else.  We had sandwiches for lunch, and Chris excused himself to use the restroom.  While he was gone, my not yet mother-in-law gave me a tour of the house and showed me all of the stained glass she had made.  At this time, she still had a studio in a guest bedroom where she made angel figurines, miniature houses and framed pieces.  As we were walking around the house, I was still nervous.

She stopped in front of a framed stained glass picture of a crane (I think).  This picture happened to be in front of the bathroom where my future husband was. As he likes to point out, this bathroom has “no fart fan.”  So, he could hear our conversation as he tried to, well, complete the task at hand.  My not yet mother-in-law, turned to me with a serious look on her face.  “Oh, no,” I thought. I braced myself for her to tell me that I wasn’t good enough for her son.  Instead, she told me that she really liked that I made her son happy, and she welcomed me to the family.  Then, she hugged me.  I was shocked, and so was Chris, who was hearing all of this while still in the bathroom.

My mother-in-law was always very nice to me and to my son.  She insisted that I call her mom.  She treated my son the same as all of her other grandchildren.  She never failed to give him cards, cash or presents on Christmas and his birthday.  She hated the word “step.”  So does my husband.  My son has never been a stepchild or step grandchild.  I feel lucky to have known my mother-in-law, and lucky to have my husband, who obviously learned a lot from his wonderful mother.

Mom, helping Sergio with his corsage
Mom, helping Sergio with his corsage