I've been thinking about death a lot lately. Liz got me started when she wrote about what she wants written in her obituary. I'm not an obituary reader myself, but my mom is, so I take a glance at the death page every once in a while when I'm visiting their house. Just like Liz, I'm bothered when the text of the obituary makes no reference to the cause of death, especially if the person died at a young age.
Besides having the cause of death listed, I don't really have a lot of strong feelings about what is included in my own obituary. Instead, I really, really care about what kind of coffin I have. I don't know that I've ever heard anything more ridiculous, in my personal opinion, than spending thousands of dollars on an ornate casket. If that's what the person wanted, that's one thing, but I am going to leave specific instructions (note to self: make wishes on this matter known somewhere other than just my blog) for my casket to be something simple like this:
I used to have my exact casket picked out at amishcaskets.com, but that site appears to have gone out of business. But you get the idea. Just a plain, simple box. And with the money they saved on my coffin, I want my family to go do something fun. That way, everybody wins.
I've also recently formed an opinion on what kind of grave marker I want. This summer, in Middlebury, Miriam and I used to go on walks in St. Mary's Cemetery near campus. I was hugely pregnant and while I enjoyed the quiet, peaceful atmosphere of the cemetery, more than anything I just wanted to SIT DOWN somewhere. But I figured that standing up for long periods of time was just one of those things you have to put up with when you're visiting a cemetery.
Friends, I was wrong. Jen commented on Liz's post that she wants a bench in place of a headstone at her eventual gravesite. Brilliant! That is definitely what I want - to be useful even after I die, just like Jen.
The final issue to deal with when thinking about death is where I want to be buried. This is a tricky one. There is no one cemetery where all my relatives, on either side, have been buried. We're all kind of spread out. I was born in Idaho, grew up in Oregon, and have lived in Utah, Japan, Russia, Syria, Jordan, Tucson, and Middlebury. Even though we've been married for seven years now, Jeremy and I really haven't put down any roots anywhere yet. So this question is still up in the air.
How about you? What kind of coffin do you want? How about a headstone? And where do you want to be buried? I'm especially interested to hear anyone's arguments for an elaborate coffin, or how you have come to a decision about where you will be buried.
(I'm really not trying to be flippant in this post. If any of you have had to deal with these issues recently for a beloved family member, I'm sorry for the timing. But these are honest questions that I've been trying to answer and I'm sure whoever has to deal with my funeral arrangements will be glad I made some specific wishes known. On my blog.)