So many options now for our 'last wishes'
My trips around the sun are up to numbers I never considered when I was young. I suppose I should begin to consider what should be done with my "remains." (What a word! "Remains." Ugh.) After a great deal of thought, and the precedent set by my parents—who kind of surprised me be having their "remains" cremated—I guess cremation is my choice.
Whew. There. The hard part is done, right? Wrong. The hard decision is just coming. First, there's a word for "remains" now, which is "cremains." Who says the English language isn't versatile, if not a bit creepy.
Once one has decided to make the jump to cremains, then comes the decision of what to do with them. Although it creeps some folks out, I have kept a pinch of my parent's and my sister's ashes. They reside in a small shiny urn, and my personal theory is that it allows their spirit to visit. (Is that the creepy part?) Some of mom's ashes are on the Otter Tail River, around the bend upriver from where she caught a nice walleye. I'm kind of jealous that she can visit there, because there really isn't any access to the river anymore, so I cannot go.
There are multiple things your remains can do with your ashes. (If they don't come with me, they're remaining, right?)
A place in Europe will, by using a lot of heat and pressure—and money--, turn your ashes into a diamond. But then what to do with a diamond and who to give how many to becomes a problem. Relatively inexpensive jewelry can be made to contain a bit of you, jewelry such as a necklace, for example. Really, what's the difference between an urn and a necklace. With a necklace or ring or something, you get to travel around more. That's a plus.
Or you can turn your ashes into fireworks, and launch yourself into the night sky in a glorious pyrotechnic display. There's some justness in that for me, because I still have a two-inch scar on my right cheek from an incident with fireworks while a teenager. Fireworks also has some appeal, because our family has a history of having fireworks for get-togethers. I remember one rocket that tipped over and nearly incinerated several family members. Of course, there was alcohol involved, so.....
Some people turn the ashes into ink, which agreeable loved ones can then have made into tattoos. So, how would I phrase this in my will? Along with my estate, you shall make me into ink and tattoo a two-inch scar on the cheek of your choice? Since my children have independent senses of judgment, they might very well use the ink to write me a letter with my cremains, saying "Are you nuts?" So I'm not certain about the tattoo thing.
Some people cast their ashes into coffee cups, but what to put on the cup? After all, it would have to be identified as such, but how. Cremain coffee. It does have a nice ring to it. Ummm, nope. I cannot think of anything more humorously inappropriate. Perhaps this isn't such a good idea. Bottom of the pile for it.
A better idea would be to have my ashes pressed into an LP vinyl record, and some of the songs I've written recorded on them. When they're reading my will, the first response from my kids would be: "What's an LP?" I myself haven't had anything to play a record on for many years. No. This one doesn't rank too highly.
I've got a definite connection with my Viking ancestors because of the genetically inherited trait of my fingers curling. (Not the middle one, which could at least be used for, umm, communication purposes.) So perhaps a sort of viking "burning ship" funeral for my ashes would be okay. They could place my ashes into a boat, set it on fire, and direct it out into a lake somewhere. But what if it sank right away? I can hear my remains saying: "Well, there's another one of his ideas that was full of holes.
As you can see, I've got a lot to think about here.