Posted by: Maryann McCullough | February 2, 2014

Story for February 2014

}

WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS

 

 

I’m a planner by nature.

In recent years, a fair portion of that planning has had to do with transition…the big transition.

I have carefully selected the readings and hymns to be used at my funeral. My husband and I have cleaned out closets and attic and garage figuring that in the next decade we will likely move or die and a simpler life means a simpler transition. And we have tended to all that legal stuff, powers of attorney, living wills, trusts. Done. I see nothing morbid or maudlin about this. I was bequeathed some of my mother’s organizational skills and we are in our seventies.

But there is one box within all those legal documents that remains unchecked and is getting in the way of completing my ready-to-go list.

What to do with the leftovers?

In other words, will it be cremation or burial?

Cremation has many practical advantages – less expensive, no upkeep, and if they kept me in a glass container on a mantle or such maybe I could still see what was going on in the lives of my children. I would like that.

But, on the other hand, I am a person who enjoys visiting old, weedy cemeteries, where the tombstones tell stories. While not one to go to family grave sites to converse, if I am visiting a town with an old cemetery, the writer in me is drawn to walk its rows and peek into the lives of that town’s former residents.

And if burial is the choice, one must consider the box. Plain pine for sure.,but I also thought it would be cool to have magic markers so those at the farewell could sign their sentiments right on my large-as-life carrying case. “She was a good old girl” or “Hope to see you soon” or “Save me a seat.”

I have pre-chosen as my epithet “SHE TRIED.” It would probably puzzle those like me who enjoy wandering amidst the gravestones, but would serve as reminder to God or any others aware of my failings that the intent and the effort were there.

My semi-claustrophobic husband has opted for cremation – alas, with a complicated list of various places to dispose of portions of his ashes. This is strange since one of his few husbandly failings is his lack of desire to go anywhere, his over-contentment of place. Oh, well, if I follow his request, I guess it will be like traveling together.

But my actual choice for Bill, my best buddy, would be to treat him like Roy Rogers did his best friend, Trigger – to have him stuffed. Add a little motor to keep him at a comfortable 98.6, plop him back on his side of the bed. One of his husbandly gifts is that he is a super hugger and cuddler and I would certainly miss his warm, loving presence in our bed.

It would be wrong not to honor his wishes, but then again…would he know?

And if all these musings sound disrespectful of that major check-out, I should point out that just as I inherited from her a focus on organization, I also witnessed my mother’s  wisdom in treating death with a certain degree of humor. My mother not only left the world as she came into it, having given everything away, essentially devoid of possessions (“There will be no house sale with my old girdle out for purchase”) but there were funeral directives. “I want you all to drive separate cars so the procession to the cemetery will be really long.” (We did.) “I want young handsome pallbearers.” (They were. She had quite the fan club.)  These dictums helped us to laugh as the mother we loved was laid to rest.

Not a bad final gift.

 

Advertisements

Responses

  1. From: Maryann McCullough — Sharing The Stories HiTo: margiepopcorn@charter.net Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2014 10:27 AM Subject: [New post] Stroy for February 2014

    Maryann McCullough posted: ” } WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS I’m a planner by nature. In recent years, a fair portion of that planning has had to do with transition…the big transition. I have carefully selected the readings and hymns to be used at my funeral. My husba”

  2. Refreshing look at life and death.

  3. Sunflower


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: