Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Moving Finger Writes; and...YIPES!

So I remember back in the summer of 2014, when I was plotting how to begin a Death Cafe in our quaint little city, I came across the funniest stories about the use of the name "Death Cafe."  People apparently didn't cotton to it all the time, thinking it cast "doom and gloom" on any social atmosphere. Like, how were you supposed to be convivial and congenial with nomenclature like DEATH defining your surroundings?  Wouldn't it boost attendance if you took the word "death" out of the name?  Or, how about people interpreting this to mean that the particular coffee shop/tea room/diner/eatery where you would be meeting had big health and/or sanitation problems and that people who came in and ate or drank there DIED. Or even (seriously) some asking whether this was a club for people with HEARING problems? (DEAF Cafe!!?)  But the semantics coup de grace was to encounter something so bizarre and so radical that I had to do a double-take and then go back and get a picture!  This was my second time hosting a Death Cafe at a local CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) with a group of really engaging and inquisitive souls, and I am quite sure that it was NOT one of them who reserved our space under the name....(are you ready???)....DEATH SQUAD!!!!! But there it is, on the reservations diary, for all the world to see.  I only wish I had taken the picture before our meeting, and not after, since apparently you get "stricken" to show meeting has already occurred.  Death Squad!!!??  That must be the ultimate in cultural aversion tactics!  Clearly, a lot of work remains to be done as we carry on these conversations and engage in musings on our mortality.  Which reminds me...I am available to come talk to your group/organization/crowd/crew...or dare I say SQUAD whenever you are ready!!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Who's Taking Out the Trash??!!??

Recently I heard the NICEST married couple proclaim that they were DEAD SET on going out of this world anonymously.  They loved the idea of donating their bodies to medical schools first and foremost.  But if for any reason that would not work out, they were choosing to have a green burial.  And they needed me to make sure that the cemetery they had in mind would bury them without any sort of marker.  "We just want to be thrown in the woods!" Well, as it turns out, said cemetery is happy to oblige.  They *can* be buried without a marker, and the administrative office will always keep information on their plot whereabouts in a file should anybody ever want to go visit. Grave sites are GPS'ed anyway as well.  (that's hi-falutin' talk for Global Positioning System)
But honestly...that declaration of the old marrieds made me SAD.  How could anybody want to leave this world without thinking a little bit about the family and friends they were leaving behind?  What of THEIR remember, to ritualize, to ramble or rove to a marked location as they work through their grief?  And oh yeah.  Had they thought about generations to come after them? How they might like to visit a marked grave full of familial pride after having done genealogical research on their great great (or even more greats!) grandparents?  And extra credit for anyone knowing what a taphophile is!  How can they enjoy their hobby if you're in an unmarked grave? Just sayin'...
The simple truth is, somebody is left behind with the task of disposing of your body---"taking out the trash," if you will (thanks, Anne Weston for this great line!!),---and just throwing you out to the woods, leaving no trace of your life and legacy, seems a crime.  
My desire is to put one big honkin' angel on my own grave.  She might be weeping (I'm a lot to worry about!!), she might just be standing tall and beautiful, keeping haints away from me and my other cemetery buddies. The point is, I am happy for my family and friends to know exactly where I am so they can throw a shindig at the grave every year on the anniversary of my death.  So my grandchildren and future grandchildren can find "Berry's" final resting place and remember me with peonies and poems.  Lavender and laughter.  Yes, remember I will remember you.

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