Poll: Laid to rest

For some, tomorrow is a day of remembrance. Some will travel to graves of loved ones, others will visit veteran cemeteries and celebrate the lives of those who gave theirs for others. And amidst the picnics and barbeques, as those of us in the US gather with family and friends in memoriam of those who have died, we are faced with the inevitability of our own mortality. I’d venture that we don’t usually give it much thought, but maybe it’s good to occasionally face it head on. To really examine how we feel and what we imagine our own death will be like. How do you envision the ritual that will accompany the end of your personal timeline? What would you prefer be done with your body when you are no longer in control of it?

This week’s poll has two different types of answers – both the what and the where. You may choose multiple answers to cover how you would like to be laid to rest, just do it before hitting “vote”.


Corktree is exploring life and spirituality in new ways and new environments while studying midwifery, reiki, yoga, homeopathy, herbology and evolutionary nutrition. She has 3 daughters and one son, which add up to what now feels like an enormous family of 6.

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15 Responses

  1. Amelia says:

    I find it very interesting that so many respondents have chosen cremation. The church has historically counseled against cremation and the current Handbook says “The Church does not normally encourage cremation.” Most of the members of older generations I’ve talked to about this hold to the counsel that cremation should be avoided. In fact, my dad says he’d prefer being cremated but asks us not to do that because the church advises against it.

    I know our poll is not at all scientific, but I am curious why other respondents think cremation is almost as popular as burial here.

  2. Keri Brooks says:

    I’ve made it clear to my family that whatever else happens to my body after I’m gone, I don’t want a viewing. I think it’s a bit morbid. I understand that people want to pay their respects, but I would prefer that to be done in another manner. (Maybe a picture of me while still living. Seems less creepy.)

  3. Bones says:

    Amelia, I am also surprised that most are opting for cremation. I’m one of them. My husband and I have let our children know that both of us want to be cremated and have our ashes scattered in places that hold special meaning to us. Viewings are also completely forbidden. (How did such a morbid tradition ever take hold?).

    Having said that we were raised in the church and know it is frowned on. The reasons for cremation are just so numerous and the reasons against it
    are just silly, in my opinion.

  4. Ziff says:

    Amelia, I voted for cremation. My primary motive is cost. Why pay for a little plot of land for my remains to decompose in? Why pay for a fancy-schmancy casket and embalming? I’d rather be cremated and have my surviving family take the money they would have spent on this stuff and buy something they really want.

  5. I answered “other,” as my husband is under strict instructions to do whatever is cheapest and/or most useful with my body. Harvest whatever can be used by someone else, then donate to science, then cremation of whatever’s left. I certainly won’t care at that point. I think spending a lot of money on a fancy casket and embalming is just silly.

  6. Moriah Jovan says:

    I picked unmarked grave in the woods to give back to nature, but I would first want everything that could be harvested from me to be taken. Everything I have is healthy and I lots of skin, so I doubt much would be left. However, I don’t know where they’d let you be buried that way.

  7. Caroline says:

    There were so many good options, I chose 3! I liked the idea of cremation, of being buried in a pine box with no preservatives, and of donating my body to science.

    • Kelly Ann says:

      I agree with Caroline. All the options were great. It really made me think about what I want for myself and my family down the road.

  8. MJK says:

    I picked cremation, which I have preferred for years now. I know the church is kind of against it in general, i was always told it was because it was 1.)disrespectful of the body we were given by God and 2.) because our actual bodies will be put back together from the original parts in the resurrection. Don’t know how *true* either of those is, but that’s waht I was taught.

    But for me, the idea of my body rotting the ground for years is too disturbing and more disrespectful than cremation. And what about people who have been dead for a thousand years. Not much more of their bodies left than there would be of mine. And the graves of my family? No one visits them; no time, too depressing. I would prefer if they want to visit me to go to where I liked to spend time in my garden , or under my favorite tree and put my ashes there.

    Now my husband is totally 100% against cremation – So whichever of us dies first we’ll have to cave to the other person’s demand, lol.

    • Kelly Ann says:

      MJK, I was taught the same thing. But I figure if God is all-powerful it shouldn’t be a problem. In reality, the majority of the world requires cremation.

      • amelia says:

        On the question of a body rotting in the ground being more disrespectful: this is a tangential comment, but for some reason that got me thinking about which is better environmentally: cremation of a body, reducing it to ash? or allowing a body to disintegrate by burying it in the soil?

        Does anyone know? I sort of like the idea of my body being decomposed and nourishing the soil and it seems like the ashes left over after cremation might not be quite so nourishing. But I really have no idea what the hell I’m talking about.

  9. marta says:

    heber and i are both donating our bodies to science (which i neglected to indicate on the poll) and then being cremated (and we are both organ donors). he told me that was his wish early in our marriage and i told him it depended on whether or not he predeceased his mother. if she was gone, i’d cremate him, but if she was still with us he was going in the ground as she wished, and he wouldn’t care at that point. it is now stipulated in our wills. i am going to medical school one way or another.

  10. CatherineWO says:

    I like the idea of cremation, but it is not necessarily the best for the environment (at least from the research I’ve done). There are some “natural” cemeteries now that will bury your body in a wooden box that will decompose pretty quickly, but unfortunately there is not one of those in Montana yet, so I expect to be buried in the traditional way. However, I have stipulated in my will that I am NOT to be embalmed. Most mortuaries have refrigerated areas for holding bodies until the funeral, so embalming is unnecessary and uses a large amount of very toxic chemicals (not safe for those using them or for the earth).

    • spunky says:

      I am with you CatherineWO. Well, I am happy for my body to be donated to science, and whatever is left over buried without chemicals. On a really morbid note, I went to the Museum of Death in the gaslamp district of San Diego a few years ago (don’t even know if it is still there)- and the embalmer/guide there said that with all the preservatives in modern food, even without embalming, bodies don’t decay as fast as they used to, and that too many people were burying perfectly good organs that the living really could use.

  11. Corktree says:

    I wouldn’t mind being cremated and scattered, but the thought of poisoning the earth after I’m gone depresses me, so I’m hoping to find the best option before I’ll ever need it. When I first looked into it, I read about natural burial sites that weren’t even really cemeteries. Just random spots in forests and such. I really like that idea, and you’re allowed to do your own “natural” marker like a rock or sticks, which I’m realizing would be important to my children if I died young (morbid I know, but it’s important to think about what children might need for grieving). But in the event that this isn’t possible, I told my husband that my casket better be the cheapest, simplest one available if they won’t let him make it or do pine – and that if he allows anyone to put any chemicals in my body, he’ll have reason to fear death 😉 Not so much for me, but like Catherine mentions, I would hate to contribute to a practice that is bad for the earth and dangerous for the people doing it. I don’t have so much of an opinion on a viewing and would leave it to those left behind to decide what they need/want.

    And that museum sounds fascinating Spunky. One more good reason not to eat preservatives! And sad that all those organs are being wasted. I’m an organ donor, but whether or not I donate the whole package would also probably be determined by the age of my children.

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