Maybe it's more fitting that we should leave this world as we entered it. Certainly there is something honest about meeting your maker stripped bare. I say this in full memory of what I wrote yesterday. It all depends on what you believe, I suppose.
My friend's father passed away on Sunday, and while I never knew the man, I have been privy to the minutiae of his decline. Obviously there is a great deal of emotion surrounding this situation, but friend and the father had a great deal of humor about it as well. It's necessary, especially when someone takes his time, say fourteen years.
He tells me that while he was purchasing the modest pine box, as his father requested, the Mortuary Man informed him of various options for the casket. Some might call it festoonery, others simply flare. "Christ Head" was a possibility. This gave way to some nervous eruptions of laughter, and some renewed interest in the practice of genuflection. I'll leave the reasons to your imagination. And hey, don't blame me this time, I wasn't there.
Mr. Mortuary was concerned about the choice of vessel. Said it would be necessary to bend the legs a bit to fit him in; he was a bit too tall. Assume fetal position. Makes sense, really. I've seen those PBS shows of archaeological digs, and been to the monks' bones in the catacombs below Mexico City. Humans were often buried this way.
Later, on the phone:
"So, what did you choose to clothe him?"
"He'll be wearing nothing."
"You're having a nudist funeral?"
(laughter) "No, it's closed casket."
I used to think I'd prefer cremation. Now they have these green funerals, where you are interred in a biodegradable box. You can go old school, while truly honoring the injunction, "ashes to ashes" - fancy coffins don't allow for that. Cremation takes you there, too, but they have to superheat the fire to 8000 degrees or something, a gross overuse of fossil fuels. I plan on a low-impact death, another reason why I won't be padding my body with silicon.
Not that I intend to depart any time soon.