Choices, choices, choices...
In a small family like mine – mother, father, one child – we had very different views of how our end of life should be handled. My Father’s motto was “I don’t care what you do to me ... I’ll be dead!”
Quite the opposite, my Mother came up with the unprecedented directive in her family, and rare among those born in 1905, to be cremated. That was simple enough, but only the first of many directives. Where to scatter the ashes was next.
The matter required a terrestrial globe, a bottle of wine, and detailed description of various landscapes. She soon declared that no terrestrial location was acceptable, lest the site be developed into a shopping mall. “But in the Andes? In the Sahara?” ... I countered. “Anything can happen anywhere; out of the question,” she said.
A scattering at sea was what she decided. Hailing from Spain, the Mediterranean seemed reasonable ... but my mother considered it too small and too polluted. Like Magellan we circumvented the globe, and what I didn’t know about this or that ocean or sea I had to research. Prevailing sea currents were important to ensure that the ashes wouldn’t wash ashore.
The migration route of whales became the decisive factor to pinpoint the spot of her and her husband’s ashes. There is much more to the details of their release, but the gentle reader may be overwhelmed –as I was—so I’ll spare you.
As for me, since I was a child – too young to even think about such things—I knew I didn’t want to be in a box or a vault, sealed away, unable to “escape.” Eventually, as cremation became a common choice, I settled for it but not enthusiastically. The more I learned about it, the less I liked it. But what else?
One fortunate day, already in my late 60s and as a newcomer to Arkansas, I visited the award-winning Fayetteville Farmers’ Market, where improbably I found the answer. There was a booth with information about BeATreeGreenBurial. I took a leaflet, read it, and found the solution I had been searching for 60+ years. Problem: No green burial grounds in Arkansas.
To be continued.