Saturday, June 22, 2013

Is a body in a casket really "creepy"?

I have to confess, it is a bit strange. I have always been a bit behind the times, but have never had the nerve to touch a body in a casket. I'd like to think it is because I have not had many opportunities. Either I was not close enough to the person or family, or there was no body. It seems like cremation is the way a lot of people are doing things these days. There is nothing wrong with cremation; in fact that is what I want.

I see this body/death thing as two parts. Part one is the viewing, part two is the internment.

Starting with part one - while the word “creepy” is used when viewing a body, it does give closure. I think it would have been more strange to not see my dad, then to see him. Did I have to be sure he was gone? Did I want to critique his looks? I don’t really know why, but I am glad I did.

I was fortunate enough to be able to see his body without anyone around (except for my very patient and supportive husband), and I am convinced it was a good thing for me. However, I think I just stared for the longest time at him. It was like I was in a trance. I stared so long; I could have sworn that I saw his chest move. The logical side of my brain tells me I didn’t, and dad taught me to listen to that side, so I did. Since there was no one around, I even got up my nerve and touched him. I was struck by how cold and hard he felt. I am not sure why…what the heck did I expect? (See there is the logical side again! Thanks, dad.) His hair was still soft, and he still had his bushy eyebrows.

On to part two - I totally get the cremation part. When I think all the land that is used for cemeteries. These are places that in a few years no one visits again, it seems sad and wasteful. You can walk in woods and run across a cemetery that no one visits possibly because no one knows it is there. That is until you try to do something with that land.

A lot of today’s cemeteries’ are beautiful places to visit. They go as far as to call themselves arboretums. And it can be very pleasant to be there, but really, do you go for the beauty or for the body? The person isn’t there. And I surely do not get (feel free to explain it to me) why a sealed, cement box, buried six feet underground. Are we trying to save the body for something? Are we protecing the earth? I just don’t get it why we do this.

Facts are facts, he is gone, I saw him gone, and whatever happens to his body now is irrelevant. That is how I feel about my passing too. I will be with my maker, and my physical body is totally useless. To me, that is a pleasant thought.

1 comment:

  1. Funny that you say that about touching daddy. I felt and said the same thing when I went to see him and touched him. I think that some religions feel the body has to stay in tact (no cremation) because God will come back and resurrect them, therefore the body will be needed again. Of course, I may be totally wrong. I agree with you also, cremation is my desire also. Didn't daddy always say you could just sit in solitude and speak to God and our loved ones? If you ever need to just sit and talk or cry, I am here for you sister. As you have always been for me.