August 24, 2010

Some Might Think...

... that it's a little morbid. 

But here it is.  Something I love about my family.  The discussions we have at the dinner table some times are just too much. 

Last night it was an inspiration.  Our Pastor has been preaching on being a spiritual influencer the last two weeks.  After the first part of the series, we asked the kids to make a list of those who they can influence.  Sunday, after the second, we asked them to use their sermon notes to evaluate HOW they influence those people based on ten key examples from scripture.  It was a thrilling discussion.  Everyone was on the ball and full of lively input that challenged, exhorted and encouraged their siblings.  Way too soon it was time for us to end the conversation so we could make it to our Monday night class on time. 

On the flip side, there are conversations such as we had tonight.  Yesterday morning we lost a dear friend who has touched our lives in many ways.  Shortly there will be  a post to tell you about this amazing man.  But in the meantime, focus here with me.  So we were discussing where the funeral arrangements may be.  Speculation on this topic has filled much of our discussion because of the possibility that we may be traveling half way across the country in the next few days... not a small endeavor for a family of nine.

However, that's not really the point.  The point is that talk of this funeral somehow led to talk of a memorial service we attended this time last year.  That friend was cremated.    Even though the boys were there and we were frank with them about the whole situation, I guess it didn't really register until we brought it up again tonight. 

At which time the boys wanted to know what was "cremated?"  To which the girls answered something to the gist of its when they burn up a dead person instead of putting them in a box and burying them in the ground.  Then they put them in a vase and you keep them on the mantel. 

The boys thought this was cruel and awful.  The girls said they are dead and they don't care.  And besides some people don't want to be in the ground rotting.  Or in the case of our friend, they wanted to be scattered in  a place that was special to them.

This led to discussion about dead bodies and the rapture and Brianna recounting part of one of the Left Behind book she recently read about a dead body being raptured while in the process of being cremated.  Don't get side tracked.  That's a whole other discussion.   

This led to a discussion about a girl I knew twenty odd years ago, who worked in a little boutique with me.  (Hope, you would have loved that place!)  Gail's parents were divorced and she lived with her mother and grandmother.  Her mother died and was cremated and placed in an urn on the mantle.  Until her grandmother died. 

Gail lived somewhere west.  I can not remember where but it was some distance.  Anyway, her grandmother died about the time she was to move East to attend Hood College on a scholarship.  With no other family, except for her ex-husband, who wanted Gail's mom even less now that she was dead and in a jar, Gail had no choice but to pack up her mama and drive cross country with her.  They both arrived safe and sound and moved into the dorms. 

Gail had applied to be in the quiet non party dorms but for whatever reason ended up in a party dorm with a partying room mate.  After a few weeks of watching a lot of stupid drunken stuff go on around her, Gail began to worry for her Mama's safety.  Unsure what else to do, she put her in her car.  The only problem was that at sharp corners she kept rolling off the dash board, so she tucked the urn safely away in the glove box.  And everyone was happy.   

Until one day, when Gail got pulled over for speeding or some other minor violation.  Picture this.  The officer asked for her license and registration and when she opens the glove compartment out rolls her mother!  No kidding.  I can still see the poor girl's horrified face as she recounted this story to  me.  I couldn't help but burst out laughing... which was likely a very insensitive thing to do, but admit it, you would have, too!

However, my inappropriate mirth, is not what we are talking about here.  This story led to a discussion of the many odd things that people do with their cremated relatives.  I have read of them being scattered in every which place.  We knew of one family, which upon the death of the beloved wife and mother, she was cremated, put in an urn and placed on the mantle.  Her wishes were to be scattered at sea.  For one reason or another, this wasn't carried out right away.  Eighteen months later, her husband is now remarried.  The entire family including the husband, children, their spouses, grandchildren and the new wife, all book passage on a week long cruise.  During this time they planned to take time from their vacation to scatter mama over the ocean. 

Oh, I am not judging.  This family are very dear and precious friends to us and this arrangement worked for everyone involved.  So be it.  Something about it seems amusing to me, though I can't quite put my finger on it, even though I've had years to ponder it. 

Really, that is a mild story, compared to others I've heard.  In addition to being scattered at sea some loved ones wish to be scattered from an airplane.  This is not recommended but if you do so the authorities on such things suggest skipping the fanfare and getting down to business quickly and quietly. 

However, my personal favorite, and the climax of our discussion at dinner, was cremation jewelry.  After a brief discussion on why some people would prefer cremation to a traditional burial there was a lot of banter about what the kids intended to do with us when we die.  In case our number one plan doesn't work out and Jesus doesn't return to rapture us all before we should die, we thought there ought to be a back up plan.

There were suggestions such as burying us in the woods on our property.  Which seemed like a real winner until someone stated that it was illegal to put human remains on private property in Maryland.

The little graveyard on the little island where we vacation came next.  Except that someone pointed out that was actually a memorial and not just anyone could be planted there. 

Which somehow led back to the discussion of cremation.  After a few shocked statements about not thinking it was right to burn up your dead parents, the focus turned back to cremation.  Which led to the discussion of where the best place to scatter your dead parents would be. 

That's when Aedan recalled an earlier part of the conversation and suggested the perfect solution.  "After we have you burned up, we could make you into a piece of jewelry so that everyone could have part of you."  I am not kidding.  That's what he said. 

And here is the great thing about my family.  This led to another lively discussion on what kind of jewelry each person should get.  Aedan settled on a diamond (he means any white stone or imitation stone) because that is his birthstone.  Which he has always been excited about because one day he intends to give his birthstone to his perfect proverbs 31 woman.  That's what he said. 

Now some people might find this a sick and twisted topic for dinner, or just about anytime.  Yes, it may seem a bit morbid to you, but I find it encouraging that my young ones can discuss things with the peace of knowing that because we have put our trust in the Lord, being absent from the body means to be present with Him in Heaven. 

There was just one thing I wanted to clarify before dessert.  "Aedan, when you have me made into bling, is that the diamond you are going to give your wife?"  

8 comments :

  1. Kat,

    Is interesting that you brought this subject up as our teens that frequent our house while visiting our oldest said how morbid it would be to carry around the ashes of your loved one sealed in piece of jewelry.

    They asked my opinion of it and I had to agree aside from maybe my hubby, I can't see people commenting on my latest jewelry piece and claim, Oh that's my so and so!

    I guess your kids are right and I prefer to be returned back from where I came from and return me to the Earth in a shoebox if there was one big enough.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

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  2. dear Not Blinged (just yet),

    This has GOT to be the MOST~est Post i have seen yet! Enjoyed every part, and can imagine it all!

    You know, i do believe i would like to meet you all someday. You sound like a bunch who would certainly blend in with my "krew" around here sometimes.

    love,
    Family discourses at
    dinner
    in
    NE

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  3. p.s.
    I remember an older man we heard of one time whose wife had died not long before. He was moving across the country and needed to bring the urn with of course. A lady he was visiting with was offering her condolences and all, in his apparent state of confused bereavement, he suddenly said "Do you want to see her? I've got her in the car!"
    The lady made a VERY quick exit in the OTHER direction.
    Love,
    May as well see the humor
    in
    NE

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  4. Kat,
    I have laughed with you all the way through this post. Sounds like some discussions at our dinner table and we only raised five kids. One of our friends put her husband inside a bird bath and then the bird bath was in the middle of her living room as if it were a coffee table....NO, I am not kidding. She has sense moved. I don't know if her husband is still in her living room or not! See...I can hang right in there with your kids...in fact, I probably should be kept away so as not to corrupt them. LOL!
    LOVE YOU,
    andrea

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  5. Oh that is priceless. I can picture it now:

    "Will you be my wife?"

    "YES!"

    "This is my Mom ring"

    "Oh, your Mother's ring!"

    "No, my MOM RING"

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  6. @ Jess: LOL. yeah, that's right. MOM RING. I wonder what it feels like wearing one like it.

    @ Chili Pepper: long yet very interesting post!

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  7. Hope, Does that mean you not in for the bling? ☺ Ha, had to tease you. I couldn’t agree more with every word of your comment. All I would add is that for those who know the Lord, death doesn’t need to be a bad thing… not that we won’t grieve those who have gone on… our human hearts can’t help it, right-o, but what could be better than to be with the God who started it all to begin with? Isn’t that cause for celebration?

    You ladies are too much! You had me laughing out loud for hours after I read these comments. Who knew there were so many great stories of cremation.

    Andrea, You are a pro! One could tell you've had some big old family dinners, eh?

    Kat, Funny you should mention the shoe box... we had a double funeral just today... you would have been so proud. If I had my way, a shoe box behind the shed under the pink buds and lilacs would be just perfect for me.

    Jess, The MOM ring... that is rich... you even had my hubby laughing out loud.

    gKey... bring it on anytime! It would be an honour to have you at our dinner table... you bring the family, we'll provide the topic.

    Love to all,

    Kat

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  8. Andrea,

    Copying your message into a comment below... too good not to share.

    Hugs back to you,

    kat

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