General chatter - Why do people cremate?




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techwife
03-08-2007, 03:15 PM
*** I thought I should put a little disclaimer that this post may be offensive to some...but I have some real questions and things to get off my chest. ***

Just wondering...this may be a touchy subject for some, and if it is, please don't read this. I'm having a rough time in the last week or so because I found out the my daughter's estranged father passed away at 46 years old. Although he was a great aggrevation to me in the last 13 years or so (since my daughter was born and during my pregnancy) and I haven't seen hide nor hair of him in over 7 years, I'm having such a hard time with the fact they cremated his remains. I don't know why it bugs me so much...probably that I was intimate with him and we were once VERY close, not only as boyfriend/girlfriend, but as close friends, as well. I mean, we didn't hit it off as a couple, for reasons I don't feel like getting into here, but we went through lamase classes and childbirth together and I can't tell you how long he practically stalked me when I was 19 years old until I finally conceded and went out with him and had a blast with him. It was all SO long ago, but I'm having such awful images in my mind of him in a furnace and being burned to ashes...envisioning the father of my child lying on a slab, looking much the same way he used to look while sleeping and keeping me up all night with his incessant SNORING (!!), but that same profile (I loved his nose...very Italian) being engulfed in flames and turned to dust. Its just bringing up such emotions, I can't even tell you. And I haven't even seen him in seven years!

So, my point is...why do people cremate their loved ones' remains? I'm not trying to be gruesome or macabre...I just really want to know...is there a spiritual relevance? Is it to save money and/or space? Is it that maybe someone was so destroyed by cancer or other illness or destroyed to a point they wanted to destroy the body?

I suppose I'm ultra sensitive, as well, as my daughter looks EXACTLY like her father and it brings it closer to home...but I don't see the effects of this cremation on my psyche goign away any time soon and maybe some insight would help from those with opposing views. My daughter's father is the first person I've really known that has been cremated...everyone else I've known was buried in tact in a coffin and that didn't have any effect on me at all except to know they had passed on...I jsut feel like they mutilated him and its kind of bugging me...maybe mutilated is a bit strong, but its just BUGGING me.

My mother in law was cremated, as well, but she died before I could meet her and my husband says he has feelings that are the same.

Any help please?


Glory87
03-08-2007, 03:27 PM
I plan to be cremated. I will be dead, I don't really care anything about my body, cremation is a much much much cheaper option. I would respect any of family's wishes in regards to this final matter. If they want to be cremated and have their ashes scattered in some remote place, cool. If they want a big funeral and a crypt in a mauseleum, cool.

To me, cremation seems like a tidy solution. It's quick, it's cheap, it definitely doesn't HURT - I would be dead!

My philosophy - The shell is here, but the nut is gone.

Just curious - what do you feel about organ donation? I am an ardent supporter of organ donation and have made my intentions very clear in my will and to my family/friends. Would you consider that mutilation as well?

nelie
03-08-2007, 03:28 PM
Techwife, I hope I don't offend, I know this may be tough for you.

Death is difficult to cope with. I had a very tough time with dealing with death when I was in High school. I had a lot of relatives, especially close ones, die all in a matter of a short period of time. I was so tired of funerals that I stopped going to them. I haven't been to a funeral in a long time but that is more of circumstance than anything else. So death is hard but it is something we all have to cope with at some point or another.

Now having said that and being removed from your situation, I have had some relatives die recently and they too were cremated. It is unusual for my family to do cremations but there are many cultures that do cremate.

Your loved ones/former loved ones are no longer in the shell that was their body. Depending on your beliefs, you can say they are somewhere else or they cease to exist. One way or another, their bodies become dust, either through the natural process or through cremation. In cremation, their bodies are no longer there quicker than in other forms. So really, there body no longer serves the purpose it did during their life so why not cremate? I know it may bring home the fact that they are gone quicker than burying them. But do you really want to think of them as sticking around in their body while buried 6 feet underground? Whatever your beliefs, follow them and think of him somewhere else, somewhere better.

Give yourself some time to mourn, get angry, frustrated, etc if you need to then remember him for the happy memories that you had together and the fact that both of you created a life together.

Edit: Forgot to add that I don't care if I'm buried or cremated. I'd probably be cremated and then ashes spread somewhere. I don't feel like taking up burial space when I'm dead because I won't be there.


Spinymouse
03-08-2007, 03:33 PM
I am sorry to hear of your ex's death and your rough time.
I grew up in a Catholic family where there was big time resistance to cremation, that I don't understand. With the growing population there is simply not enough room on the earth to have everyone buried in cemeteries. So for me it is a matter of land use that causes me to want to be cremated. Also as others have said, I believe that when the soul leaves the body, the body no longer has any use so I don't see a reason to attempt to preserve it. Just my opinion.
Hope you will find peace with what has taken place....

junebug41
03-08-2007, 03:37 PM
First, I am so incredibly sorry that you are going through this. No matter the current status of your relationship, it's never easy saying goodbye to someone you share such history with.

When my best friend's mother passed on at 45, she was cremated as well and her young daughters (13, 19. and 21) had a very difficult time with it at first. They lost her so suddenly and at such a young age, that it was like insult to injury that they wouldn't be able to grieve "with" her at her grave.

But that was her wish and she had made that very clear to her husband and the girls did find peace with it, especially since she lays in inturnment (or however you say it).

My parents both want to be cremated and it is the common practice in my family, so I don't know if I will have an issue with it or not when that time comes. My mother is a "free spirit" of sorts and I think her thoughts are that she wants to be scattered in the wind and she finds it silly to take up space when she's not really "here". I think in cases of cremation, it does come down to the person's wishes. I have always assumed that burial is the practice if the person didn't specify their wishes. I do think that it is harder for family members to accept sometimes, but the people I know who have experienced that have always found peace.

Again, I'm sorry that you and your daughter are going through this. I hope you find your peace soo as well :hug:

jillybean720
03-08-2007, 03:39 PM
I want to be cremated when the time comes as well. My mother has also decided she wants to be cremated. Her mother (my grandmother) passed away about 2 years ago, and my mother said it was the hardest thing she's ever had to do in her life to sit in the funeral home during the viewings and service and have to see her dead mother's body laying right in front of her. She said that when the time comes, she wants to be cremated so that my sister and I don't have to go through that same thing (not that losing a parent is easy by any means in either way, but I completely understand her point).

I guess the way I see it is that there is no real reason to keep the body intact. The person inside is gone, so what's really the point of keeping the body together just so it can rot in the ground? I know that may sound harsh, but it's true--is there really much difference between turning the body into ashes right away versus letting it decay and crumble naturally over time?

And, yes, it is much less expensive as well. No sense sticking my loved ones with tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary (IMO, of course) expenses.

I guess I'm quite the opposite--I would think the only reasons to keep a body intact might be spiritual, and based on my own personal beliefs, I see no benefit.

Poltergeist
03-08-2007, 03:45 PM
No matter what is done to a loved ones body after they die, it's never pleasant. Personally, even though I had very similar thoughts as yours when my father was cremated, it was much worse for me for years to wonder about my grandfather, who was locked in a little box somewhere below the ground. And it's probably that thought that makes me want to be cremated also, and in fact I want my ashes scattered, not kept in an urn. I know that once I'm gone, I won't care, but I can't stand to think of it now, so I've had to make that desicion, to make it easier to LIVE with the thought - does that make sense?

My father was cremated for similar reasons, which was his own wish.

I guess my point is, it's never easy, but some people are more bothered with the thought of burial than cremation. Anyway I think the most important thing is to respect the wishes of the person who died, if they had any.

FrouFrou
03-08-2007, 03:45 PM
I am sorry for your loss. Lots of hugs to you :hug: :hug:

I was going to say basically the same thing as Nelie. First DH had wanted to be cremated when he passed (didn't think it would be so soon) and that is what we agreed on. I honored his wishes but when I started thinking about it I thought what a horrible thing to do. I could see his body burning in that stinking oven. Do you know that if you wish you can actually watch them do it? Ummm, no thank you. But I remembered our talks about death and burial. He did not want his whole body to be put in the ground...he said he just kept picturing bugs and such crawling all over his dead body, even though they wouldn't be able to get in the coffin, I think. Anyway...my whole thought is that once a person dies they are no longer with us. Their physical body is but their soul/spirit has already moved on and that is what helped me not think of the process of cremation. After losing a baby a few years ago we did the same with our little baby boy and it didn't bother me this time. I too plan on being cremated.

alinnell
03-08-2007, 04:05 PM
First of all, hugs to you and your daughter at this difficult time.

When my grandmother died, she was cremated, which I didn't quite understand at the time (I was 16 and this was the first person close to me who had died). Turns out her husband had also been cremated and their ashes would be together at the mortuary. So that made it a bit more understandable.

Years later, I found out that my mother also wishes to be cremated and both DH and I feel the same way. Why take up space? We won't be there. No one is going to come and visit us. Spread my ashes somewhere--anywhere really. I just don't wish to be "planted."

On the other hand, it is the wishes of my father that really throw me for a loop. He wants his body donated to science. He will be a cadaver for medical students. That totally grosses me out, but he was a doctor and he understands the need for such things (I guess). So we won't have a funeral for him--just a memorial service.

Glory asked about organ donation. After having worked in the medical field for many, many years, I think that organ donation is the most wonderful and altruistic gift you can give. If any of my loved ones (and yes, even my children) were injured in such a way that there was no hope, I would not hesitate for a moment to donate their organs (despite how hard it would be).

royalsfan1
03-08-2007, 04:06 PM
Actually, this is the first time I've ever given it much thought but the thought of being cremated in one fell swoop is much more pleasant, in my opinion, than decaying for weeks or months or years (ICK!). Try not to think about what happened after he died. It sounds like you had some good times before the bad....try and dwell on those. That's the essense of his earthly life, anyway.

melekalikimaka
03-08-2007, 04:41 PM
Tech, I'm adding my condolences on your and your daughter's loss. You have lost someone you shared so much with and without so much as a goodbye. I was raised Catholic Christian and for the longest time was told that cremation was not allowed because the body is a temple and would be returned to you in perfect condition upon entrance to heaven. Views changed and cremation was allowed in certain circumstances, but you had to have the body intact to perform any religious ceremony. The church has since changed it's views in 97 and has allowed the cremated remains to enter the church for the rites of burial. I don't know the exact reasons why, but I am glad they now allow it. I have told my husband that I wish to be cremated and then scattered--not at sea, because I don't really like the sea, but maybe somewhere or several places that I have traveled and loved. He jokes that my remains will be scattered at Target in Las Vegas and at WalMart here at home. :lol:

Other religions, esp. Buddhism or Hinduism cremate because they believe the smoke rising from the body allows the soul to leave and enter heaven.

I choose not to think about the visuals of the physical body being cremated, nor do I choose to dwell on the same if it were buried. Upon death, the real "soul" of a person is gone on to a better place and the physical body is just a shell. My 2 cents. :hug:

Alinell, I think it's really interesting that people would donate their bodies to science. Our medical school here is no longer taking names because they have enough names of donors. The only thing that I would regret is that in my town, you can't have the body for any ceremonial or religious purposes. The univeristy gets it right off the bat.

ennay
03-08-2007, 05:10 PM
First of all :hug:

My husband and I both plan to be cremated, it just fits more with our beliefs. (And as corny as this sounds...I am extremely claustrophobic, burial just doesnt suit me)

My father was cremated when he passed a bit over a year ago. One of the truly beautiful parts of that for him (he knew he was dying) is he got his ashes spread at the place that was most meaningful to him. He was a professor of theater for over 40 years at a small college in PA. Teaching and directing were his life and he was never more him then when he was there. (I learned far more about my dad by observing his productions and his students than I ever did from him directly)

The bulk of his ashes were scattered in the pond behind the theatre where he used to go to think and plan. The remainder were spread in a circle around the building that houses the theatre . If any part of the spirit remains with the body, then his spirit is in the place he loved most and the only place in his life that he felt comfortable with who he was.

What meaning is there in a graveyard.

meowee
03-08-2007, 05:30 PM
I'm a strong believer in cremation too. The visitation process and the funeral service don't have to be any different, the only thing that changes is the interrment and, for most people, it is the service that is the time when goodbyes are said.

There are two main reasons that cremation appeals to me -- one is very general; it seems such a waste of land to take up large amounts of it to bury people's bodies after they are gone -- the other is personal; I hate the thoought of bugs getting on me. What I don't like is the idea of someone keeping me in a vase on their mantel. Either bury the ashes or scatter them, please.

Irishowl
03-08-2007, 05:37 PM
My Dad always said he wanted to be cremated and that he did not want to be embalmed. When he died 3 years ago I had a very hard time with this because I was 3000 miles away when he died, I never got to see the body. I think that would have helped me alot if my grief. But, I had too much respect for his wishes to have him embalmed just so that I could see him. He wanted to be cremated because he didn't want a fancy, expensive, elaborate funeral. Also, he felt that since he was dead, what did it matter? He was cremated and after his funeral my brother brought Dad to Florida and spread his ashes on the beach he used to patrol as an Airforce MP years and years ago.

My partner and I both plan to be cremated and have our ashes scattered into the ocean together once we both have passed. I've come to realize it's not what happens to your body once you've passed........it's what you do with it and your life while you are here.

Shannon

almostheaven
03-08-2007, 05:46 PM
Actually, this is the first time I've ever given it much thought but the thought of being cremated in one fell swoop is much more pleasant, in my opinion, than decaying for weeks or months or years (ICK!).
This was my first thought. If the image is troubling, there can be an equally disturbing image of burial. I really have no leanings towards either. I'm not particular with what happens to my body when I'm gone, since I won't be living in it any longer. But I guess it's like moving. If the new tennants in my old house burn it down, I might miss it's passing. Maybe I could have driven by it once in awhile...the memories. With a grave, I think it's more for the people left behind, they can visit. So maybe that's why our obsession with burial so much. Hard to say.

healthy2b
03-08-2007, 05:53 PM
I also plan to be cremated. My father died a couple of years ago and he was cremated. Our family owns a few acres in the country with a picnic area with tables, a creek that flows through, volleyball court and horse shoe area. We always enjoy our family gatherings there and so thats where he wanted to be for all times. We scattered his ashed there and just as we began it started to rain. My dad was such a prankster that our thoughts were...he planned this. Picture us....my three sisiters, mother, my brother, our spouces and all the grandkids trailing behind my brother as he scatters the ashes and we are all looking like drowned rats. We know he was watching us and laughing up a storm. (as soon as we finished spreading the ashes the rain quit) We all got tickled too just picturing him laughing at our expense as he always had a prank to play on us. It made the situation not as sad for us. My dad always said he didn't want to be pinned up in a casket but wanted to be set free to blow in the wind. I know that he wasn't there, but it makes us as his family a little happier knowing he is where he wanted to be. I also don't like the thought of being put in the ground to decay over a long period of time. I'd rather be done with it.

sumisan
03-08-2007, 05:57 PM
I am sorry for your and your daughters loss as well.

I too want to be cremated. It is easier on my family and I like the idea much better than burial, which honestly creeps me out. I wouldn't force the idea on anyone though just as long as they know what I want, to each is own.

I look at burial as one of those long standing rituals that we really don't need anymore. I just choose not to do something just because it is the norm. My son is not circumcised for the same reason, there is no real reason to bury, nor is there and real reason to mutilate. So I choose to make my own choice. Same goes for religion. --Sumi

shananigans
03-08-2007, 05:58 PM
Iím so sorry to hear about your loss. Even though you havenít had any contact in years that doesnít take away from the time you did have together, and losing someone you were once close to is always very difficult.

What deep and personal thoughts. Thanks to everyone for sharing.

Iíve always been of the mind that what happens to my remains isnít too important, and Iíd rather not have the expense/space/whatever used on the remains. Plus I think the traditional embalming and such really creeps me out and is very unnatural. My family traditionally goes that route and I really hate viewing a passed loved one in a casket. In fact, the least depressing service Iíve ever attended was for a friend in high school who ended up being cremated. They had a ceremony where anyone who wanted to come up and share stories could, and they released butterflies inside the church (she loved butterflies). Beats a bunch of morose people hanging around a casket in my book any day. Just my opinion, I know everyone has very different feelings about this.

EZMONEY
03-08-2007, 06:18 PM
.....
On the other hand, it is the wishes of my father that really throw me for a loop. He wants his body donated to science. He will be a cadaver for medical students. .....

Angie and I have placed these wishes with our children's "It's Time!" box...if at all possible to be used at UCSD.

Glory asked about organ donation. After having worked in the medical field for many, many years, I think that organ donation is the most wonderful and altruistic gift you can give. If any of my loved ones (and yes, even my children) were injured in such a way that there was no hope, I would not hesitate for a moment to donate their organs (despite how hard it would be).

My entire family have organ donor on our D.L. As I get older I don't think there is much of me that could be used...unless someone was looking for a model for their "Don't Do This To Yourself" Poster, that is why the cadaver intrigues me.

...... I have told my husband that I wish to be cremated and then scattered--not at sea, because I don't really like the sea, .....

****~O NOELLE! Plus you can't swim! :swim:

.

HEALTHY2BE~ Your father cracks me up! :rofl: :lol3: :rofl: What a :cool: cool guy!

EZMONEY
03-08-2007, 06:49 PM
I know EXACTLY where I will be when I die. I have instructed my kids that if it is or close to trash day...bag me up! Save some $$$ for the PAR~TAY :carrot:

All kidding aside, if my body cannot be used for some purpose medically, then the kids and Angie know to have me cremated. As a family unit we all agree on this for all of our remains. The Big Guy we believe in is not going to have any trouble "creating" us new ones! As far as the ashes...well, I have told my kids that if they want to do something with them, fine. As for me, I have told them I have no problem leaving them with the crematorium. Us guys at work joke around that when we go, we will put the ashes in our mud buckets and spread them on the walls of whatever house we were working on! Works for me ;)

When my father passed away about 20 years ago, we were going to have him cremated, he had already made the arrangements...that was his wish. My grandmother, his mom, wanted NO part of that...the OLD SCHOOL thinking here. As a family we decided to honor our grandmother's wishes OVER our dad's...she was here and had feelings...he was long gone and didn't care! It was NOT a difficult decision for us. She flew him from California to Illinois in a box, buried him next to my twin brother, his father, grandfather and grandmother...grandma was buried next to them all 12 years later...she could've cared less then...but she cared for 12 years that dad was where she wanted him. We never looked back! Later Pops! :wave:

ennay
03-08-2007, 06:56 PM
As a family we decided to honor our grandmother's wishes OVER our dad's...she was here and had feelings...he was long gone and didn't care! It was NOT a difficult decision for us. :wave:

dh has said that although he strongly prefers cremation, he thinks his mom might have a problem with it, so if he were to die before she did there would be that possibility. But I am pretty anti-burial, so she would have to express a strong feeling.

If we did bury, we would go with the non preserved body in a simple (decomposable) pine box. No preserved airtight wood that keeps things preserved. At least let us fertilize the soil. Its the embalming and airtight casket part that really bothers me --how many years do we need that body sitting there.

EZMONEY
03-08-2007, 07:24 PM
Hey Ennay, is there any way you three could "talk" that over before the day arrives? I know statistically YOU will be making the decision...but it doesn't always go that way of course. Those types of decisions have been very easy for us. Even my father in law...Catholic from day one..wouldn't even attend church with Angie and I, at our church, one Easter Sunday, had to go find a catholic one, when he was here visiting. He wanted to be cremated when he passed, my mother in law was totally against it, she asked their kids, 4 of them, if it was all right to bury him, they told her that cremation was what dad wanted and they were all in agreement with it..but...if it was a big problem with her, they would consider burial..she said she would honor dad's wishes. So it went easy...but might not have.

alinnell
03-08-2007, 07:34 PM
Did you know that there is a company that can take your ashes and create a "diamond" from them? It's horribly expensive, but pretty cool if you don't mind wearing someone!

walking2lose
03-08-2007, 08:29 PM
First, I am so sorry for your loss. I can imagine his estrangement from your daughter is making the emotions much more complicated.

I'll jump in here with an experience I had that made me first consider cremation myself. First of all, two of my grandparents were cremated; the other two were buried. I've always known that my father's wish is to be cremated when his time comes. He has always said he wants half his ashes spread in the woods and half in the river. He loves to hunt and fish, so this makes sense, as well as going back to nature. So, I guess I never thought it was that odd, but more of an option.

Then, about 10 years ago I visited an area of Prague in the Czech Republic that had been a Jewish ghetto before WWII. The cemetary was so strange, yet interesting and thought provoking also. The conditions were so crowded in the ghetto that coffins were buried vertically, as well as several deep (horizontally) in spaces. The headstones were all just crammed everywhere. I was touched by the tragedy of a people who had to resort to this undignified way of burying loved ones, simply because there was no space to bury them decently. I remember my sister and I having a pretty deep discussion about all of this, and it is the first time that I thought seriously about cremation. I can totally understand your horror at imagining the cremation itself, but I believe, like many other posters that burning is no more gruesome (maybe less) than the embalming process.

Anyway, my thoughts and prayers are with you as you go through all of this. It has certainly provoked an interesting and different discussion here on 3FC!

Take care

ennay
03-08-2007, 08:42 PM
Did you know that there is a company that can take your ashes and create a "diamond" from them? It's horribly expensive, but pretty cool if you don't mind wearing someone!

You can also get blasted into space...which would be dh's first choice.

Gary....welll....truthfully no. dh's mom isnt good with the topic and she already has lost one child. It took over 30 years before she could mention his name again and talk about him. (I had been with dh for over 5 years before I even found out he existed) I think SIL tried to talk about plans once and MIL just said she was going first so she didnt need to know about it. They are a good midwestern family...button everything up and dont talk about nuttin. (How did I get hooked up with that, huh?)

EZMONEY
03-08-2007, 09:07 PM
Like I said ENNAY, we lucked out, I do know most people don't, when it comes time for the arrangements, for one reason or another.

shrinkingchica
03-08-2007, 09:22 PM
Firstly, as so many have said, I offer my condolences.

I also want to be cremated. Here are my reasons:
1. I don't want the worms to get me. Seriously, I have a crazy phobia to all wormy things.
2. I don't want to be on National Geographic Channel 5000 in a couple thousand years or end up on display in a museum.
3. I don't want for my bones to be forgotten and a house built over top of me in a millenia.
4. All silly reasons aside..... I also believe in organ donation. I don't need my organs at that point but other people do so why not just help some deserving people out. It can be my last good act, a final mitzvah. Also, this might actually help my loved ones cope with my eventual passing, because all of me won't be dead. Some part of me can live on in other people and enhance their lives. I don't believe that the spirit dies and this way my whole body needn't die immediately either.
5. Earth-friendly. There are too many people and too little space to bury everyone.
6. I want a pretty urn. A blue one with phoenixes on it.
7. When my loved ones come to "visit" me they can be inside from the cold and rain and heat (because I want to be in an above-ground mausoleum). And this way they don't have to worry about the gardening aspect of a tombstone.
8. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. I just want the process sped along.

rockinrobin
03-08-2007, 09:25 PM
First of all Techwife, I am so sorry for your loss. And that of your daughters. How sad. And he was so young. My heart goes out to you at this difficult time.

The Jewish people forbid cremation. And yes that was even before Hitler decided to cremate a bunch of us while still alive. Embalming is also forbidden. One is supposed to be buried as soon as possible, if not that very day then the next. In a simple wooden box. Naked, just like you came into the world. The dead body is never to be left unattend while awaiting burial. The body is to be treated with the utmost of respect. With all body parts in tact. Which is why donating organs is forbidden as well. If you've ever seen a broadcast of a bombing in Israel, you will see many volunteers scrapping up blood and bits of flesh so that that too can be buried with the body. Every part is sacred.

It bothers me terribly that organ donation is forbidden. I can't think of a better thing a person can possibly do for another person then to pass on his organs that he obviously has no more use for. I have a friend who received a cornea transplant and was so grateful and so sad that she could never reciprocate that she gave a large donation (and she is NOT a wealthy woman) to the hospital that did the surgery.

shrinkingchica
03-08-2007, 09:36 PM
The Jewish people forbid cremation. And yes that was even before Hitler decided to cremate a bunch of us while still alive. Embalming is also forbidden. One is supposed to be buried as soon as possible, if not that very day then the next. In a simple wooden box. Naked, just like you came into the world. The dead body is never to be left unattend while awaiting burial. The body is to be treated with the utmost of respect. With all body parts in tact. Which is why donating organs is forbidden as well. If you've ever seen a broadcast of a bombing in Israel, you will see many volunteers scrapping up blood and bits of flesh so that that too can be buried with the body. Every part is sacred.
.

The Catholic Church was of this opinion (the cremation bit, don't know about he organ donation) up until 50 years ago. Otherwise you couldn't be put to rest in consecrated ground. Same went for if you were a suicide (don't worry, about me though, I'm ok, I didn't want anyone to send me a hotline number because of that comment). But that obviously changed. Which is good for me, because who wants to be put in the "special section" of your own religion's cemetery?
Also, I know that some Christian religions believe that the whole body has to be kept intact because they will be risen during the Second Coming.
(Someone correct me if I am wrong, I am no expert).

rockinrobin
03-08-2007, 09:46 PM
I am also no expert on, umm, well anything but I think if you commit suicide you can't be buried in a Jewish cemetery. And you're not allowed to be buried with tattoos either. There are a lot of DON'Ts and not alloweds in this religion.

Kamily828
03-08-2007, 10:34 PM
I personally dont want to be cremated. I just dont like the idea of being burned. Everyone in my family has always been buried. But my hubby and his family are all planning on being cremated.

EZMONEY
03-08-2007, 10:36 PM
......
Also, I know that some Christian religions believe that the whole body has to be kept intact because they will be risen during the Second Coming.
(Someone correct me if I am wrong, I am no expert).

There is NO WAY I will correct you LOTTE ~ I already figured out you are one smart cookie! There are religions that say they are Christian, but they are not.

lizziness
03-08-2007, 10:36 PM
For me it's a matter of just preferring to not cost too much money, and take up space. I like the idea of my ashes being spread somewhere special to me or to my loved ones.
I am also an organ donor. I will be gone, so I won't care. Plus I don't really have any spiritual belief that would stop it.
I think it would bother me more thinking about decomposition than cremation... but really it's just not something I think about.
In fact, hubby and I should probably discuss it so we know...

shelby897
03-08-2007, 11:53 PM
I used to hate the idea of cremation, until the town I grew up in built an apartment complex over a cemetary -- because it was so old no one cared about it anymore. Also, after my MIL passed away, it bothers me often to think of her in the ground, even though I know "she" isn't there. I do like the idea of the grave stone, somewhere to go to pay your respects, but I feel she is around us all the time. I don't need to go to a cemetary to talk to her, besides -- if I was gone, that would be the last place I'd be hanging around anyway!!

A few years ago my parents picked up nursing home insurance and prepaid their funerals -- which I thought was kind of morbid at the time, but respect it now -- because I can't afford to bury them and because now their wishes are all in writing. They are being cremated. My big thing is the whole wake -- I see no purpose in viewing someone who has died, kind of morbid to me.

And, my friend's mother donated her body to the hospital, which I think is a very selfless gift for someone -- she was in her late 80's so organ donation was out and if it helps save a life, it's so worth it.

ennay
03-09-2007, 12:14 AM
robin, actually the donation of organs was pretty hotly debated through the last couple decades with some rabbis coming down on the side of yes (saving a life overrides all other jewish law including desecration) some say sometimes (only if there is an immediate need, not to an organ bank and only after death has completed - sometimes life support is maintained during the initial part of surgery to preserve the organs, this would not be allowed).

likewise some rabbis say live donations are ok (kidney, blood) to help preserve life, others say no because it risks your own, however small the risk may be. (interestingly the rabbis who are most pro postmortem donation are most against living donation)

Most of the jewish rabbinical authorities now come down on the side of donation and donor card being not only acceptable but encouraged.

i love that judaism still DEBATES

shelby897
03-09-2007, 12:39 AM
I'm just curious, if you don't mind giving some detail -- if, being Jewish, you do donate an organ, what is the consequence within the church?

shrinkingchica
03-09-2007, 12:42 AM
i love that judaism still DEBATES

Most religions do. It is a sign that it is alive and well. You don't hear too much about the Shakers having end of life issue debates. If they did it would be a two sided theological argument. Literally. There are two of them.

junebug41
03-09-2007, 02:28 AM
Most religions do. It is a sign that it is alive and well. You don't hear too much about the Shakers having end of life issue debates. If they did it would be a two sided theological argument. Literally. There are two of them.

ZING! :lol:

rockinrobin
03-09-2007, 07:45 AM
Ennay as far as I know, and that's not too much, especially on this topic, organ donation is strictly forbidden after death. Keep in mind there are many "branches" of Judiasim and they do not all concur. How shocking. But yes you can be a living donor, like a kidney, liver or bone marrow and of course blood.

techwife
03-09-2007, 08:57 AM
Thanks, you guys, for all the thoughtful comments. I've been reading them all, but not replying because in my experience, when I reply to a post I started, it stops and I've been enjoying your insight so much I didn't want it to stop. I feel a whole lot better now, reading all your reasons for cremation, especially the reference to Buddism where they cremate the body so the soul can rise with the smoke. That's, actually, kind of beautiful. So, I will take that from all you've spoken of and think of Kevin having risen with the smoke to the heavens and feel better for it. With all of his drawbacks, he was a really spiritual person and I think he'd have liked that train of thought.

Reason I was so miffed with the cremation and all is...well...as I said, he's the first person I've known that's been cremated. Everyone in my family has been put in a box and left to rest in peace amongst their loved ones in the town my family comes from, together with the rest of their family, so it's just kind of a foriegn process for me. Second, his mother is absolutely loaded with money and very materialistic. Had a gigantic house in Naples, FL, fancy cars, etc. Kevin died in poverty and on welfare and she had his memorial service at the bargain basement place to have it and I assume the reason she had him cremated was to save money and to make him more portable to take him to Florida to be buried...where he never even lived...instead of where he did live or something. The whole thing seemed like it was done to save money because his mother was always embarassed of him because he became a musician instead of an accountant in a suit and tie.

When he died, she called me up and said...and I'm not exaggerating..."Now that he's out of the way, maybe we can work together to resume my relationship with my granddaughter." I said, "Honey, you have it all wrong...Kevin missed out on his daughter because of you...you didn't miss out on her because of him...it's the other way around!" Kevin and I were getting along just fine for about 5 years as parents of a child that simply could not get along until his mother got involved and wanted Grandparent's Rights and sued me, demanding I put my child on a plane to Florida alone at six years old. Kevin ended up suing me, as well, for visitation...in spite of the fact that I already let him come over when he could...because he was highly unreliable and in the end showed up for 12% of his visitation and that 12% only happened when his mother flew in on her broom from Florida. She put him up to suing me for visitation so that she would be lined up for the grandparents rights movement. She lost and I haven't heard hide nor hair from his family since. And now she calls me to tell me the above statement and says she needs a hug from her granddaughter. I may sound cold, but I really hate her and what she did to our lives and how she disregarded her own son's life...so my daughter and I skipped the memorial service because we just don't want that awful woman reinstated in our lives. Not to mention, although I'm feeling a bit sentimental about Kevin at the moment, at the end of the day, he dumped on both of us. 13 years ago, I needed him to get a job, marry me and support our family, but he decided to sit in the basement, smoke pot, play his guitar and talk to the other women he was interested in. And while I had my daughter in daycare, he stayed home and slept all day (I forced him to watch her one day, came home and found her crying in her carseat while he was on the back porch having a smoke...hence, I took her to daycare). From her forced visitation with her father when she was about kindergarden age, she had an honest visual of who her father was. We all know that memorial services are geered to pump up an individual and I didn't need my daughter to have some convoluted image of the father she missed out on, so I thought it best for my daughter to skip out on Kevinfest. We'll have a nice little ceremony this summer, just us two, maybe even in a park Kevin and I used to go to and sit by a brook and talk, and say our goodbyes without a lot of drama from the paternal side of her genepool.

All this aside, I still feel guilt for not going. My parents and all that know me and knew what I went through with his family all agree that I have nothing to feel guilt over. She even kicked me out of the house I lived in while my daughter was six months old because I couldn't pay the rent. She owned the house and instead of griping to her unemployed son to get a job an support his family, she called me at work and started in on how she could rent out the house to someone that would pay the rent! I was working two jobs and paying for daycare AND finishing up my last semester at college. My daughter was one of those gifts from God that he sometimes backhands you with. So, that fact that she kicked us out was a real slap in the face. Understandable that she was losing money on one of her houses, but I was doing my darn tootenest to raise her granddaughter with NO help whatsoever...and now she says she needs a hug from her. She can kiss my backside!

Anyhow...thanks for listening...I'm still enjoying your stories of why you cremate or wish to be cremated, so keep 'em coming!!

jillybean720
03-09-2007, 09:11 AM
I almost wrote a very strongly-worded message that probably would have offended many here, but I'll suffice it to say I will never be a practicing member of any religion that does not allow me to do what I wish with my body, especially after I've already passed away.

But I know I have VERY strong feelings about religion that most do not share, so I'll end it at that.

Ooh, and techwife, I see you posted while I was writing (and deleting and re-writing) mine--I'm so glad you're feeling a bit better about it :hug:

It seems we all have based our personal post-mortum decisions on 2 different things: what WE want for ourselves versus what will be best for our families. I find it interesting that some have mentioned that cremation of a loved one made their death more difficult to deal with, yet they still want to be cremated when their time comes. I don't find closure or peace in seeing a corpse in a box nor an engraved rock in a cemetary--closure and peace come from within, and if someone has truly passed on, you can "visit" them from anywhere in the world anytime you want by just closing your eyes and remembering, no epitaph required.

As I see it, of course, from my own personal viewpoint.

techwife
03-09-2007, 09:24 AM
Jill: See...that's why I think my daughter and I remembering her dad in the park we used to hang out in and maybe floating a few flowers down the stream...a few nice words...is more fitting than going to a room full of psycopaths (his family) and having them swoop in on my daughter like vultures on roadkill and saying mean things to me. And I'm getting a lot of peace from the Buddist, smoke, spirit thing. I think that is really nice and a way for me to make peace with it all. In fact, I may...may...even consider it for myself someday for the same reasons.

GatorgalstuckinGA
03-09-2007, 09:30 AM
jilll- sorry for your loss...and after reading you last post it sounds like you are slowly coming to terms. There were many great reasons for cremation. I myself also want to be creamated. I feel no need to take up space. I want my organs donated if possible, burned and ashes scattered over the ocean (a place i grew up). I remember when i was 18 and my grandmother passed, we went to her funeral with an open casket and i just kept saying...that's not how my gm looked. Hang in there and good luck. Everyone has their own reason...none right or wrong. But find what you believe in and you will be fine.

shelby897
03-09-2007, 10:07 AM
Just wanted to add a side note -- I'm very proud of you!! For taking care of your daughter, when her father/grandmother were not mature enough to do so, for putting her first while still working, going to school, etc. I think Kevin will prefer your little service in the park much more than the fake sympathy given from his mother. What kind of a mother puts money before her family? She will be a lonely, miserable woman some day, especially having missed out on you and your daughter. As they say -- what goes around comes around! I'm glad you are coming to terms with his cremation, maybe it bothers you more that the reasons for it were monitary and not truly his wishes. I know my parent's wanting to be cremated is fine with me, because it's what they want. Take care.

Clydegirl
03-09-2007, 10:34 AM
Just read all the replies very interesting.

For me cremation is normal. All my relatives have been cremated and I don't have any problem with it. Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult no matter what. You have your memories of them and that can comfort you. Many crematoriums have a garden of remembrance that you can visit.

I'm sure you will get some comfort from your own private ceremony in the park.

midwife
03-09-2007, 01:36 PM
Jill: See...that's why I think my daughter and I remembering her dad in the park we used to hang out in and maybe floating a few flowers down the stream...a few nice words...is more fitting than going to a room full of psycopaths (his family) and having them swoop in on my daughter like vultures on roadkill and saying mean things to me. And I'm getting a lot of peace from the Buddist, smoke, spirit thing. I think that is really nice and a way for me to make peace with it all. In fact, I may...may...even consider it for myself someday for the same reasons.

That sounds lovely and meaningful. I'm tired of people putting restrictions and constraints on others. You do what is meaningful for you and that wonderful daughter.

lilybelle
03-09-2007, 01:58 PM
This thread has been very interesting. I personally don't care what happens to me once I'm dead. I have never had a family member to be cremated but after reading this I wouldn't mind cremation done for me. I have had multiple deaths in my family and the whole burial ritual was totally gruesome. Pictures of kids in casket with the parents, favorite candy and chewing tobacco in hands of dead FIL, teddy bear in casket with child. What in the world for? The hardest for me to deal with was when I was 13 and my dad died. He had a sister in Iowa that showed up late for the funeral, and showed up at the graveside. They opened the casket at the grave to let her see him. This haunted me for years.

I had always thought that I wanted to be put in a mausoleum, but that seems awfully expensive and for no real reason. Each yr. now, we still travel to multiple cemeteries to place flowers on the graves of loved ones that have passed. That has always been family tradition.

This has been very thought provoking and something I need to discuss with my DH and kids. We may start our own family tradition here at my household.

carolr3639
03-09-2007, 06:51 PM
I remember you telling me a little about your life once before. What a nightmare! I hope things are going a little better now. My mom, who knew she would be in heaven because of Jesus death for her, gave her body to the U of WI for study. She had that planned years ago when she lived in NE. My brother is doing the same thing. It sure made things simpler. It was only hard because she lived with us and died at age 90 from a sudden heart attack. We had a nice memorial service for her where my brother and dh spoke the gospel. Just recently my son suggested we put her name on my dad's headstone back in NE. I still miss her so.........she died last Aug.

EZMONEY
03-10-2007, 12:14 PM
My prayers continue coming TECH :hug:

EZMONEY
03-10-2007, 12:19 PM
CAROLR ~ I'll add to your "signature" verse 18 ~ So comfort and encourage each other with this news. ;)

Prayers for comfort in the loss of your mom :hug:

techwife
03-10-2007, 12:41 PM
My prayers continue coming TECH :hug:

Thanks, Gary. And thanks for the PM as well. ;) Even if you don't like hockey, you're still a nice guy.

EZMONEY
03-10-2007, 12:44 PM
You have that "half" right TECH~ ;)

Michelle
03-10-2007, 02:31 PM
I respect everyone's wishes as my mom past away this past October, and even though cremation would have been so much less expensive, my mom did not want to be cremated so we didn't do that with her. Myself, I want to be cremated and I've told my family this. For one, it is much cheaper and the other is even though I'm no longer alive, I've always had a thing of being closed in a coffin in the ground, and have had some bad dreams of being buried alive.:(

Wide in Winnipeg
03-10-2007, 04:43 PM
"Ashes to ashes dust to dust..."
Both my parents and myself want to be cremated.Our thinking is in the long run it will be heathlier for the environment to be cremated. With all the weather problems we have been having with floods, hurricaines, twisters, etc. it's sure to bring up the dead and cause disease.

BlueToBlue
03-10-2007, 09:46 PM
My mother was cremated. She was very clear about what she wanted and we did what she wanted. I'm not exactly sure why she wanted to be cremated, but I suspect that it is because she saw burial as a huge waste of money (she was very practical) and land. We did end up burying her ashes next to her father, which is definitely where she would have wanted to be (she was very close to her father).

My father has said that he wants to be cremated and to have his ashes scattered over West Virginia, which is where he grew up. I think he has a vision of us dropping them out of a plane. I don't think we'll be able to manage the plane part (it's got to be illegal) but we can probably manage to quietly scatter them somewhere near where he was born.

I also want to be cremated because the whole decomposition processes, whether worms are involved or not, seems far more disgusting to me than a nice, clean, sanitary fire. I also do not want to my ashes to be buried (I'd like them scattered someplace warm, probably somewhere in CA) and I do not want to have any sort of grave. My SO and I try really hard to be good environmentalists--having a grave just seems like a waste of greenbelt. I also do not want my survivors to have to bother keeping up a grave. My mother is buried in a area of Pennsylvania that is two hours from the nearest airport and over 6 hours from where my sister and father live (days away from where I live). We never visit her grave; I can only hope the relatives in PA keep it up, but I'm really not sure about that. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about her or feel the hole her death has left in my life, but her grave is a meaningless plot of earth. When I want to feel close to her I go to church, which is something that was an vital part of her life.

BlueToBlue
03-10-2007, 10:04 PM
I have had multiple deaths in my family and the whole burial ritual was totally gruesome. Pictures of kids in casket with the parents, favorite candy and chewing tobacco in hands of dead FIL, teddy bear in casket with child. What in the world for?

In my experience, cremation doesn't do away with any of that. My mother was cremated but we still had a full-day wake and a funereal on the following day, both with an open casket (obviously they didn't cremate her until after the funereal). They still did the whole embalming thing on her, made up her face (more make-up than she ever wore in her life), put her in an outfit she had picked out. People still commented on how nice she looked even though that comment was completely ridiculous. Someone put a rose in the casket with her and somehow that rose got saved for my sister and I. I literally just came across it last week while cleaning out some stuff at my Dad's--ick! I think you can include anything you want to be cremated with the deceased--toys, candy, whatever.

I'm glad we had the wake and the funeral and I'm grateful to everyone who showed up, but I've definitely specified in my will that I want a closed casket! Or better yet, no casket--just the container with my ashes (forget the expensive urn, just toss those ashes)!

BlueToBlue
03-10-2007, 10:22 PM
My big thing is the whole wake -- I see no purpose in viewing someone who has died, kind of morbid to me.

I never understood the purpose of a wake either, until my mother died. The wake is about so much more than just viewing the deceased. My mother's wake was an opportunity for people to show their support to her family and to say their own goodbyes to her. My mother touched a lot of people in her life, more than could possibly attend her funereal (far more people than the funereal home could hold), which we felt should be primarily for very close friends and family. The wake gave everyone a full day to come in on their own schedule and say goodbye to her. It also gave them a chance to express their support for us and frankly, it was really appreciated. It was also gratifying to see how many people cared about her and were touched by her death. Both the wake and the funereal also put a finality to her death and allowed everyone to start the long process of moving on with their lives. You can do a wake with a closed coffin (definitely my preference) but some people, esp. folks my father's age, really want that one last look as part of their goodbye. Everyone says goodbye in their own way. Ultimately, both the wake and the funereal are for the living, not the deceased.

shelby897
03-10-2007, 11:36 PM
I understand the whole thought behind the wake -- I'm just not for the open casket. My mother in law had an open casket and it was absolutely horrible to listen to people tell me "how good she looked" -- she doesn't look good -- she looks dead!!! (sorry to be so blunt). Also, at my grandmother's wake her brother-in-law, who she never got along with, told my mother "if I had known it was going to be a closed coffin, I wouldn't have come", what's the deal -- it's wonderful to pay your respects to the family, but you know she's "there" even with the closed casket.

Wolfena
03-11-2007, 03:18 PM
cremation is a personal choice.

My 9 month old grandson was cremated just this past December, why?? Because his parents are young & his ashes will go along with them anywhere they go throughout life - who knows where they will move or what will happen but no matter what, his ashes will remain with them as part of their family.

I personally also chose to be cremated when the time comes. Why? Because I think that the land should be for the living... I don't want my rotting body taking up space that living people could be using for something else! There's way too many live people for all the dead people to be taking up so much space! (I feel the same way about my organs & donation, if I'm dead & they'd be useful to someone living, by all means TAKE THEM!!!)


Anyway - theres just 2 examples for you. I'm sure there's a million & one other valid reasons (and probably some invalid ones too) why people do it.

shelby897
03-11-2007, 04:02 PM
Wolfena -- Please accept my condolences for your grandson. I agree with cremation, and having the ashes with you, how hard it would have been for them to move, knowing they were leaving him behind somewhere in a cemetery. I feel my body is the "vehicle" for my soul and I'm not "there" when I pass, so my organs should be used to help someone see, their heart to beat, etc. Beautiful, untouched land is becoming less and less for our kids to roam around on, I agree with not wasting the space putting my body in it. And I think it's sad the cemeterys that are so old, no one even visits or takes care of it any more -- it's kind of disrepectful to me to see the grass growing tall and the stones deteriorating.

GreatBigMonsterMomma
03-12-2007, 02:59 AM
I said when I was a child that when I died I wanted to be cremated so I could be buried in the wall of my church. Yes, I was a strange child. (And, surprisingly, they are still putting folks in the walls; a couple who died in something like '02 or '03 are in there.) In reality, though, I'll likely be in the cemetary at Ft Sam Houston. I truly don't care what happens to my body (though I do like the idea of composting that's been suggested lately). My survivors may do as they wish, up to and including having me buried at sea by submarine (yes, they will do this with your ashes, but much to my disappointment Rob said they don't shoot them from the torpedo tubes). My only real desire is that there be no graveside service and no open-casket viewing. I've been to three funerals in my time, and I found both of those aspects to be ghoulish.

buckettgirl
03-12-2007, 08:30 PM
I have decided that I want to be cremated.
And I want ALL my ashes to be spread in Ozarks. I'm only 25 and I know this.
It is more natural than being embalmed. I wish to return to the earth. Does it have spiritual significance? Yes, because I am Pagan and it just makes sense to me. Preservation of a body does not seem natural to me.
I am the daughter of a former funeral director.... my dad hates it that I want to be cremated and refuses to listen to my reasoning.

mauvaisroux
04-15-2007, 09:48 PM
Geeze - she sounds like such a peach of a person :rolleyes:

I don't blame you for sparing yourself and your daughter the drama and avoiding having such a selfish person involved in your lives. I really have to commend you for acting in loving way to your daughter. I also think it is a great idea for you to say goodbye in the manner you described - much more personal and poignant.

As for the cremation thing, my parents wanted to be cremated as they believe that the spirit transcends and the body is just a shell you live in while you spend your time here on earth. They also don't like the idea of an open casket funeral and a wake.

They just want something simple, a few words said and then I'm supposed to have an Irish wake style party (without the viewing) with friends - basically have some good food, good drink and swaping good stories to remember them by and celebrate their lives.