When I was 8 years old, I saw my first dead body. We had these surrogate Grandparents that my mother befriended down the road. On Sundays, my Mom would drag me and my sister on an outing that usually involved going to Furr's cafeteria. While we ate our Strawberry Shortcake, we watched in awe at the extremely slow pace of eating of our adopted Grandmother. We figured she was eating so slowly to torture us on, what always happened to be, the most beautiful Sunday afternoon, like ever! Although the Sunday outings were not so cherished, they were still the sweetest couple and friends to me and my family. No matter what we needed, they were there. Our Grandfather was always teaching me how to build bird houses or other crafty things by hand. He taught me how to take apart a lawn mower engine. Due to the distance of my real grandparents, I couldn't have asked for a better proxy. Then, one day, my substitute Grandmother died. I had never realized or seen death before, other than what I saw on movies. This was real, and it was sad.
My Mom dressed us in our Sunday best and we went to the funeral home to say goodbye. She told us we would see a dead body, my Grandmother's body. Gulp! It was kind of scary. As we walked up to the coffin, I didn't really know what to expect. And then I saw her. She looked asleep. Her face looked vibrant. She looked full. She was dressed exquisitely. This wasn't the dead body I had expected. This person didn't look dead at all. She looked beautiful. I was confused, and frankly I have been ever since.
I've been through several funerals now. Each of us plan our burials in our own way (if we are so lucky). Either because of religious reasons, where we bury our dead, or because of symbolic gestures, where we spread our ashes in a sacred place, we all do something that marks our departure from this life. To me, I've always struggled with confusion over coffins and the expense of a funeral. I'd rather someone spend the money on a party in my honor - get wasted and celebrate my life. Again, this is just how I approach the destruction of my body. So I think I've finally found my body's path once my life force has been terminated - decomposition by mushroom.
I'm not kidding! Check out this TedTalk where Jae Rhim Lee discusses a new path to return our bodies to dust, and maybe truly push up some daisies!