Thursday, April 08, 2010

Well, it occurred to me

On a scale of 1 to 10, how morbid is it that I was thinking about cremation the other day? I wasn't really thinking about it morbidly though, it was just something that occurred to me, possibly because we've met for church in a funeral home chapel the past few weeks. (While that sounds a bit strange, it's really's a lovely chapel, away from the rest of the funeral home and it's certainly much quieter than the hotel meeting room where we were meeting, where there were pans being thrown around in the kitchen on the other side of the wall.)

At any rate, it suddenly occurred to me that I would much prefer cremation to a typical casket burial (is there an exact term for that?), which got me thinking about why more people aren't cremated and trying to think if there was any Biblical reason why that wouldn't be a good thing.

After a little bit of reading about it, the only things I can come up with is that it is somewhat similar to a pagan funeral pyre, which I had thought of, or that it shows some denial of belief in the resurrection of the body. The former sounds more valid than the latter to me. No matter how we're buried, the body is dead and will decompose.

It seems to me like it would be rather symbolic for the body to be returned to dust, such as it was formed from. Is there something I'm missing? Some scriptural/traditional/comforting reason that people have to see the body and it has to be embalmed and buried?

I've only been to three visitations, two of which were relatives, so I had no option but to see the person's body both of those times. Granted, both times I was fairly young, and maybe as an adult this would make more sense. As a kid, I didn't want to go up there...not out of any particular fear, per se, but I just found it extremely weird. And obviously I had no morbid curiosity either. I knew the person was dead, and didn't see what viewing the body one more time was going to accomplish other than making me cry more. As I said, not having been to a funeral in the past nine years or so, I may completely understand if I had to go to one now. In my mind though, I don't.

That's why I wonder if there's something I'm missing. Some reason my loved ones would not want me to be cremated when I die, which, barring a tragic accident/health problem probably isn't going to be anytime soon. :P Cremation, and having the ashes buried in a cemetery seems much nicer to me. But perhaps there's some comfort or some sort of closure (hate that term, by the way) in seeing the deceased person's body? If any of my close relatives died (which is a horribly sad thought) I don't feel as if I would want to be a part of an open casket funeral/visitation. Anyway, with my pondering of this I guess I sort of decided I want to be cremated, provided there's not some horrific reason why that's not an option.

And in closing, death isn't morbid really, not for Christians. When we die we're going to heaven, to be with the Lord, forever away from the curse of sin, which is truly wonderful, more wonderful than anything on this earth!

All the same, this was a slightly weird post...


Abigail said...

By far, the strangest blog post I've ever read. :D

Natalie said...

Thank you, Abigail. :D

Rebecca said...

Hmmm...I have heard a lot of people say that cremation is somehow anti-Christian, but I'm not sure how.

And. Ugh. I hate open caskets.Why is there this strange obligation to go look at someone's dead body? Especially if you believe that it is no more than an empty shell. When I was little (at my grandpa's funeral?) I remember asking "What am I supposed to do up there?" and they said it was to say goodbye or whatever. Only, isn't it kind of late at that point?

Anyhow. Obviously I have thought too much about this, but the idea of my dead body being all prettied up with fancy clothes and strange makeup, just lying out in the open while a bunch of crazy people-- I'm assuming my family will be at my funeral--cry on it/touch it/talk to it/stare at it...*shudder*

Even in death I'll be an introvert :P

Natalie said...

Oh, I just remembered we talked about this some when I was there for Thanksgiving! :P I remember Andrea saying something about wanting to have proper colored makeup picked out or something...or maybe that was you. (Incidentally, was that the same night we decided how easily someone could break into the house and kill us all? Strange night.)

Okay, hang on a minute while I finish laughing about the last three paragraphs... *gasp* Ok...glad I'm not the only one who doesn't get this whole thing!

Rebecca said...

I'd forgotten about that...was that the same night we were walking around the neighborhood talking about which house would be the easiest to break into? :P

Andrea has told me that when I am dead she will put ugly makeup on me and put me in an open casket and I will be powerless to stop her. Yikes.

Natalie said...

Uhh...I don't remember that part. I remember we realized that if we talked much above a whisper that people could hear us, because the walls are really thin!
Or did it have something to do with all the TVs we were spotting through the windows? :D

Well, um, you can hope she dies first I guess.