I didn’t go to see my friend when he was diagnosed with cancer. I didn’t want to visit him when it was clear he was dying. I kept my distance. I didn’t want to see a man who was so vital, so full of joie de vivre on his last legs. But I missed a trick. I missed the chance to say goodbye. It broke my heart – a bit chipped off. Now I have learned to say goodbye to those who are dying. To take my time to know them and learn from them.
A willwriter told me that when she sits down with most people to start planning their wills, they say “If I die.” She wants to say “When, When!” but she doesn’t. She takes notes.
My parents made burial arrangements long before they died. They had moved to St Croix in the Virgin Islands, where one option is to be buried at see. So we put favourite things in the coffin, went out in a fishing boat with beer and snacks and 3 miles out they slid the coffin over board and because it was weighted it sank really fast which was a bit of a shock. No time. It will become part of the coral reef.
In St Louis in the US cremations happen privately involving the undertakers. I arranged my aunt’s funeral and her ashes were left by mistake on a bench outside the chapel!
One of my 90 year old mother’s favourite stories! A family whose garden backed on to the local cemetery had three children who revelled in hiding behind the hedge and listening to proceedings. When the inevitable demise of their goldfish happened they arranged an elaborate service conducted with due reverence and finishing with “In the name of the Father and Son and into the hole he goes!”
I recently went to the Cremation of a loved one who was 92 years old. The service was over and done within 20-30 minutes and it leaves you thinking “Well is that it?” 92 years of life and that short Cremation time. It was all over…
Thank you for taking this topic out of the ‘dark zone’. I am from Germany, my parents have a company caring for plants on graves. I have always loved graveyards and everyone makes me feel weird about it. Tonight I felt understood; seeing death as part of life. Thank you.
My father died unexpectedly on a holiday in Greece. The day after he died my mother and I were told we must visit the morgue to make arrangements. We were disoriented and came into the hospital via the back entrance. There were women orderlies in uniform sitting on a bench eating their sandwiches surrounded by trollies of dead people. My mother exclaimed loudly “My God – you can just smell death can’t you”. I said “No Mum, its the liver sausage sandwiches” and steered her away. She hadn’t noticed my Dad.