August 3, 2007


Just scatter my ashes somewhere in my garden
I think this ornamental grass would make a lovely tombstone

I saw an interesting thing in the paper recently about the Baby Boomer generation. Bless their hearts, the Baby Boomers have changed so much of this landscape we call life . Thanks to them once again, funeral services , as we know it, have changed as well. The traditional service is out, and a themed service, such as fish-related for an avid fisherman, golf-theme for the golfer, etc. are the latest trend. Making a CD of the service and sending it to relatives and friends who weren't able to attend the service is also popular.

I'm not planning any trips right now, but, when I go I want a garden-related funeral service. In other words, I want to be composted. I want my friends and family to read poetry, sip wine and sing beautiful songs. Then they can scatter my ashes in my garden so that I will continue to make a contribution, even in death.

Down South, funerals are very important events. My father, a poor farmer, saved every penny he could for burial insurance to make sure that he had a proper funeral. The insurance company of course robbed him because the amount he paid in premiums would have really sent him off in style. But he sacrificed a lot to assure that he'd have a proper funeral.

I have friends from New Orleans and believe-you-me, down there a funeral procession is a sight to behold. There's a parade of musicians, a horse-drawn carriage, mourners all decked out in their Sunday best, and flowers galore. If you've never seen a New Orleans-style funeral, then you've not really seen a very impressive one at all.

To me death, like life, is a passage to be noted. I thank the Baby Boomers for changing the traditional and often depressing funeral services. I used to dread going to funerals because I'd really rather celebrate the life of the dearly departed .

I'm Irish, so make my funeral a green one. Don't pay any attention to that Irish saying about " not cremating an Irish man because they'll burn for three weeks. " Just compost my ashes and bury them beneath the pear tree so that I will bear fruit.


  1. Amen to that... although I'm not sure just how "green" cremations are. I'd rather do the natural-burial thing anyway. The great part about that (other than no formaldehyde!) is that they also wouldn't be able to try to "arrange" me in a casket and nobody will have to parade by and look at me, and pronounce in their best attempt at sincerity that I "look so lifelike." Egads.

  2. Hi Kim,

    Well if I was down in Alabama I would say do the natural-burial thing, but in reality I don't have the land to allow it.

    If one looked so "lifelike " when they were dead I'd hate to see what one looked like when alive !

  3. Ah, if you are Irish, then think about having Danny Boy sung.

    I just found out about Garden Blogger's Muse Day ... I'm going to put it on my calendar and see if I can come up with something for next month.

  4. Thanks, Kate, for your suggestion.

    Glad you are planning to join our poetry circle next month.

  5. Sounds good to me! Personally I want to be cremated, and then have half my ashes tossed into the Rip tides at Cape Split, and the other half put out in the back garden with my cats. For a song? Well, being as how I too am part Irish,, part Scottish...and in honour of Tommy Makem, rest his soul...."Isn't It Grand Boys" by The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. A drop of good single malt for the celebrants and a proper party afterwards.

  6. how about bagpipes? they always make me cry. speaking of "green funerals", I was watching Sara Snow the other night and she had a segment about green funerals. she talked about how much embalming fluid we bury every year and also described how her grandfather wanted to be "composted". I like the concept but it kinda creeps me out for some reason. then again, pumping a dead body full of some fluid made from lord-knows-what and burying them is kinda creepy too.

  7. I told my Son to cremate me, and then put my ashes in a box, and stash me under the biggest rock he can find on his property, preferably also under a nice shade tree. There is something about spreading my ashes around that I am not to crazy about. I think it's because one of my winter hobbies is genealogy, I like like being able to visit the burial spots of my ancestors. Just my two cents!

  8. Hey, Jodi,

    I like your plan. Actually, if truth be told, I'm what's known as Scots Irish -meaning my ancestors migrated from Scotland to Ireland many centuries ago. So, yes, a drop of good single malt and maybe some Baileys Irish Cream would be in order.

  9. Gina, you are so right -bagpipes are the most touching sound I've ever heard and I can't help but cry when I hear it

    Don't let burials "creep you out ". The bible simply states " Ashes to ashes, dust to dust..."

  10. Hi Vonlafin,

    Maybe you were Chinese in your former life ? Just kidding. Lots of people feel the way you do and your two cents worth is appreciated.

  11. You guys would be in good company! Way back when Pete Seeger was young there was a folk group called the Weavers [Good Night, Irene, Go Tell Aunt Rhody, Pay Me My Money Down, etc.] In a documentary about the group one member Lee Hays wants to be composted, and a later scene shows the rest of the group digging his ashes into the compost heap - that was about 1981, I think.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    PS When my dad died my sister arranged for a bagpiper to play "Danny Boy" at the gravesite - quite devastating, that was.

  12. Hi Annie,

    I remember Pete Seeger and the folk group the Weavers. Unfortunately I missed the documentary.

    A bagpiper playing "Danny Boy " would certainly make me lose it at a funeral for a loved one.


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