My take on death

The question has been raised… What do I think happens when we die? Quite a bit, but I think in terms of biology only, as I don’t believe in a soul.  I do believe in consciousness, but that is attached to my body. I think my body will disintegrate and return to the earth. That said, I do believe in reincarnation of sorts. I believe the body can live on through new life – through the plants and animals my body nourishes. As a result, I have a strong aversion to traditional burial. It’s too sterile, ruining the body for nature. We fill it with chemicals, not fit for food, then put it in a box in a box, six feet under where nothing eats anyway.

One choice for my body would be to give it right back to the food chain at a pretty high level- you got it; I’d like to be tiger food. But, I don’t think that is done. Burial at sea might be okay, especially in shark filled waters. Even a good, green burial would satisfy me, with a pretty tree over top (dogwood or a fruit tree is my preference). First worm food, then bird food, then… maybe my neighbor’s cat food, or owl food, or…  See how it goes? Also, bees work the tree, animals live in and off the tree, and other animals eat them. Life goes on and on.

I’m also big on organ donation, to help the living, and body donation to help science.  I would like to be of some use.  I’ve read the book, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, and I am fascinated by the ways my body might be used.  First of all, I must say, the book is hilarious!  Secondly, it’s quite informative, as it describes many ways the dead have been used over the millenia.  Some in wonderful useful ways (a lot of weird things have been done with bodies in our history, but that’s another story – you can read about it in that book). 

I have made arrangements to go to Harvard, yes, after I die and only my brain, because frankly I’m not qualified now.  But someday I think the Harvard Brain Bank will be happy to have, um, part of me and they are welcome to my brain.  I won’t be using it.  I am also interested in full body donation and have been doing some research on that.  I’m not sure I can do that if my brain is going to Harvard, as I think they want the whole kit-&-kaboodle.  Many whole body donation places will cremate your body, free of charge, and return your remains to the family.  Personally, I would prefer something more green, like body composting, but I don’t think this is offered in the U.S. yet.  But it is better for the environment than burning a body at 1100 degrees C for 75 minutes and I imagine my remains would be more nourishing to that tree I would like to fertilize.  I guess I need to live awhile until this takes off around here.  I could encourage something really wacky like having my remains made into a diamond, but I just don’t see the appeal.  Nope, I find that creepy and I want to live on, not decorate a loved one’s finger.  Can you imagine this conversation?

Friend of BB in 50 years: Beautiful ring, BB!

BB: Thanks, it’s my mother.

Eeeeeewe!  No, I’d much rather she visited my dogwood tree and read a book and watched the bees gather nectar.  Yup, that’s my idea of reincarnation.


6 Responses

  1. thanks for sharing…..your thoughts are interesting especially about not having a soul……i had to laugh at the tiger food…..not at you… but because i was imagining the scene in my head……..yes i don’t understand all the chemical crap and paying thousands of dollars for a stupid casket…..brent and i want a green burial…….the dogwood sounds pretty and peaceful………..we are organ donors too…… i think my mother in law would get herself made into a diamond…….then she would have to be with us all the time…..ughhh………again thanks for sharing your beliefs……


  2. I love the idea of a Viking funeral. But, I want every ounce of my body to be donated if I am young enough. And if not, do whatever is clean, cheap and easy with me.

  3. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this subject lately and I’ve become quite frustrated! What I want is down on papers with long legal signatures and all that but then I’m told that my “next of kin” will have the ultimate decision regarding what is done with my remains. At this point in my life I don’t even know who would be considered my next of kin……. it’s not anyone I receive holiday cards from!

  4. I want all my working parts to go on and help someone else. As for what will be left, I don’t know yet but you’ve given me a lot to think about.

  5. Thanks for the post. It is a balancing game I think. We teach M what we believe, allowing her to think for herself, and also what our extended family believes so she doesn’t think they are just crazy or something. Many discussions have also revolved around what her birth family believe and her foster mother (who differs from the rest). I guess what I am saying is exposure so she understands and can accept others, hopefully it will help her determine her own beliefs as time moves forward.

    • Yes, exposure is the way to go and teach respect for all kinds of people and see what they do. It’s amazing to watch our children unfold, isn’t it?

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