A Tisket, A Casket, A Burial Plot Basket!!

I brought my daughter to the boat yesterday morning. She works on Martha’s Vineyard which is an island and has to take a 45 minute boat ride every morning to get to work. The drive to the boat is about 15 minutes and I love taking her to work because it gives us a chance to talk alone for a few minutes. The bad part is I have to get up at 7:15 AM. That is early for me. I’m a night owl.

Anyway, yesterday morning, Sarah said ” I have something sort of morbid to talk about with you”. I thought maybe it was about the poor hedgehog. What she wanted to know was where I wanted to be buried. I say what? I’m not dead yet but she’s a planner and likes to prepare ahead of time. I remember having the same conversation with my father. He wanted to be cremated, no funeral, just the immediate family and be done with it. We followed his wishes to a T. The only people there were my sister and her family, my brother , me and my kids and my wasband. No religious people to say any words. My wasband was so sweet because he wrote down some things about my dad and said them as we stood around the cemetery where we would bury his ashes next to my Mom.

They are buried in a most beautiful cemetery.

Not very fancy, but that’s what he wanted though my sister and I need to go clean up the area and plant something (sorry Dad) around his grave.

Katherine Lee Bates, the woman who wrote “America the Beautiful” is buried there.

America the Beautiful – 1913

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

MY FAVORITE GRAVESTONE AT THE CEMETERY

So I told my daughter that’s where I want to be buried and I do NOT want to be cremated. I know nowadays people tend to be cremated but that’s not for me. Put me in the cheapest pine box, cardboard box, basket, I don’t care.

THIS MODEL COMES UNLINED. JUST PUT MY COMFORTER IN IT AND MY PILLOW. $895.00 UNLINED.

Just bury me in one piece because I don’t plan on going into the light right away. I might stay around a while and see things from a different perspective. I don’t want to do that as a million pieces of ash. I might do a little haunting too. I’ll be a good ghost. I promise I won’t go around scaring the bejeebus out of anyone. I’ll stay out of bathrooms and bedrooms. I don’t want to see anything weird.

You remember that movie “Ghost”?

I’ll want to learn how to move stuff. I already told Sarah if she hears something fall after I’m gone it might not be the cats who tip it off the counter, just dear old Mom having some fun in the afterlife. Do I believe in the afterlife? Hell, yea and I want to be in one piece when I arrive there.

I don’t need a funeral either. A party, yes, because I will be attending. I won’t hang around for long. Maybe just a couple of weeks and then I’ll hit the light. I don’t think fire will be at the other end. I’ve been a fairly decent person. I don’t think the devil will want me around his place.

So in 15 minutes we got it all settled. We decided which cemetery, buried in one piece next to my parents and there is room if you buy soon. We talked about whether they might have lay-a-way plans so we could purchase a spot near them before it gets filled. We discussed my hanging around and haunting for a short time, which is fine with her, as long as I don’t stay too long and discussed having a bang out partay.

I think we covered everything. She can put whatever she wants on the headstone. “Here Lies MOM” is my idea. That’s what everybody calls me. Good thing I’m losing weight. I would never have fit in that pine box at 344 pounds. I don’t plan on going in the near future which is why I’m on this health binge. I plan on staying around for quite a few more years. But when I do go I want to go MY Way.

31 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Little Miss
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 13:00:09

    Too funny. My mom, although she’s 88, also has everything planned out. I don’t think I could ever be so bold as to ask her what she wants. She has a mind of her own and is very determined. She gets very pissed off sometimes if you don’t do things her way. I think if we didn’t follow her wishes to a T after she dies she’ll haunt us all forever. Geez. She too wants a party. She has it all planned and paid for, apparently. When my dad went, we had a couple memorials in different states (he died in California, and we lived in Seattle) and right after he died, my mom sent us to Disneyland. bizarre.

    Me, I want to be cremated. I won’t be in my body after I die, so what do I care. I want my kids to not be burdened with any expenses, and they know this.

    But, like you, I am going to be healthy and skinny and around a LOOOOONG time, right??? Yup. That’s it!

    Reply

  2. CuriousC
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 15:00:56

    How refreshing that you can talk with your family about this. And your ideas are lovely. After we came back from my gma’s funeral, I wanted to discuss any ideas/plans with Hub but didn’t… I’ve been meaning to write something down but haven’t. We do have wills, so that’s something. I have a list of stuff to give to people if I go, but no plans for what to do with ‘me’. Maybe, I’ll post on this, too, soon. maybe. or not.

    Reply

  3. Hannah
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 17:11:16

    I think it’s great that you have this all planned out. If you don’t, there could potentially be confusion after you’re gone about what exactly you wanted. This way you know your wishes will be fulfilled.
    I have told my whole family that I want my organs to be donated, and the rest of my body to be given to medical science (if they’ll have it!) … this is something I have wanted to do since I was in high school, it stems from my interest in that area and the career path I have chosen. I want to be able to help others if I can, even in death.

    Reply

  4. 2lazydogs
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 17:18:29

    When I was in college I took a death and dying class and we had to plan our funeral, write our obituary, etc. A bit freaky for a 19 yr. old kid to be doing. But, I saved all the papers with my ‘plans’ and have instructed my parents that I want to cremated, no funeral, no messing around. When I’m gone, I’m outta here!

    My parents have never talked to us kids about their plans. I was watching their house for them while they were out of town a few weeks ago and as I was searching for a stamp I came across a piece of paper with my mother’s full name on it. As I read further…eek…it was her obituary that she had written. I started to cry and couldn’t even read it. Obviously, it’s something we need to be speak about, but one of those things I just don’t like to think about.

    ps: love, love, love you in the blue dress! Stunning!

    Reply

  5. c
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 18:09:31

    i agree, you look lovely- although i rather dig your grooviness under the tree.
    And wrapped in that flag- you look like a piece of art!

    My mom has her plans-
    put her in a box, in the ground, then my sisters & i are supposed to go out and have fun. She says it all the time. It really makes me sad to think about it, i love her so much.

    Although, i am not looking forward to going through all her piles and storages of stuff. Maybe i’ll die first and get out of it.

    When i about my own end- which is often- i realize i don’t have much shit of real worth to pass on, but my girls are welcome to the little i’ve got- split up the stories, my little jewelry, my Margaret Atwood and Stephen King books. What i do know is that i want everyone to be happy for me cos i’ll be free, to wear white, have drinks and do a SoulTrain line…

    i want to be buried in jeans and a t-shirt.

    Reply

  6. joanharvest
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 19:04:56

    @ Little Miss
    I don’t know why I don’t want I don’t want to be cremated but I’ve always felt that way.
    Your mom sounds like a like she knows what she wants and she’s going to get it. Sounds a lot like me. Sending everyone to Disneyland is just too funny.
    Like you I don’t plan on going anywhere for a LOOONG time.

    @ CuriousC
    I have a will which is pointless now that I don’t own anything anymore. But I think I will make up a list of my personal stuff so my son can have some remembrance of me. Though I know my daughter would do the right think and share the stuff equally. None of it has monetary value, strictly sentimental.
    Sarah and I were actually laughing through most of the conversation because I kept telling her that I will be haunting her.

    @Hannah
    Actually, I think I will donate a few organs also. I know I just don’t want to be cremated. Hopefully my organs will still be in good shape. I’m sure I can still be a ghost for a while without my organs.
    I’m glad you mentioned that.

    @2lazydogs
    College has changed since I went. I never heard of a course in death and dying. Sort of creepy. I will have my sister write my obituary. She used to write obits sometimes for the newspaper she worked at. She wrote my Mother’s and my Father’s.
    I can understand why you would cry coming suddenly across your mom’s obituary like that.
    My daughter can be very stoic about certain things and death is one of them.
    That picture of me in the blue dress was taken about 27 years ago. I was a Matron of Honor at my girlfriend’s wedding.

    @c
    Well, I never though of myself as art but that’s cool. When my daughter and her hubby moved in with me we filled five of the biggest dumpsters they make with my crap. So everything I have is in my bedroom so she won’t have much to clean up.
    But you reminded me, Sarah and I didn’t discuss what I would be wearing though I know she would never put me in a dress because I would haunt her forever if she did. I only wear jeans and t-shirts. That is all I own. I want to remind her of that though.

    Reply

  7. javajunkee
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 19:42:40

    Ok well get this…my funeral PaRTY is invitation only. I have the guest list already started and I add and subtract names as needed. It’s not a long list..I’m thinking 2 kegs ought to do it. I told my husband I am not kidding. I’ve got a cd mix already lined up and it does NOT include Yanni. (not that there is anything wrong with Yanni but he’s not my cup of tea nor any of my friends.) This inviation only thing stands too. I will NOT go to my grave knowing that there will be people walking past who in their heads are going …”Yay the bitch is dead.”…nor will that be their opportunity to make peace with the fact they were asses to me while I was alive. I figure the invitees can get their invitation wristband which will also serve as a “go” for the kegger afterwards.
    That’s still a little high for a plain box. Is that still an upscale model?

    Reply

  8. joanharvest
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 20:07:58

    That’s the cheapest I could find so far. Though I’m going to keep looking. Maybe Sarah’s husband can make it. He makes Texas hold em poker tables. His father owned the Beetle Cat Boat company where they make the boats by hand and he worked there for a while so he is good with wood.

    But you gave me a great idea. I’m going to make my CD now of the music I want played. Probably a lot of classic rock, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Doobie Brothers, Cream. Oh and of course The Grateful Dead. Yanni won’t be on my CD either.

    My daughter will know who to invite if anyone.

    Reply

  9. kaylee2
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 20:11:15

    At least she thinks of you 🙂

    Reply

  10. birdpress
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 22:08:37

    I like how open everyone has been here in discussing the disposal of their bodies! I think that casket in the picture is pretty cool actually. Too nice to bury, I think, as with most caskets! I like the cemetary pics too. I think cemetaries are beautiful. The older ones, anyway. I have some pictures I took in old cemetaries that I love.

    I personally hate wasting things, including expensive, pretty caskets, and see no use for something that looks comfortable to house my body when I’m no longer in it. I might get jealous and want my body back, and that wouldn’t be good. So I’d like to be cremated. I’m not sure what I’d want done with my ashes, but I have some interesting ideas. My favorite is to find a way to get other people to unknowingly consume them. 😈 I don’t have a plan for that though, and I’d probably need an accomplice.

    Reply

  11. Hay
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 23:31:35

    Nice to have it sorted, even if it is a little morbid to think about 🙂

    Reply

  12. joanharvest
    Jun 01, 2008 @ 23:38:22

    @ birdpress

    I told my daughter tonight to make sure she doesn’t put a dress on me when I go. She said she knew better than to do that. Jeans and a T-shirt is what I want to be wearing. I definitely think you will need an accomplice to have your idea come to fruition. You could have someone slip the ashes into soup. It probably would never be noticed. It would give the soup a nice smoky flavor hopefully not giving them heartburn.

    We have some old cemeteries around here with some gravestones going back as far as the mid 1650’s. Our town is an old town and was settled in 1660.

    I used to have a gravestone rubbing kit which was fun to do. I don’t know where all my old gravestone rubbings are anymore.

    @ hay
    It is a bit morbid but both my daughter and I can talk about things like that and not have a problem. She brought it up because I know she just wants it done the way I want and not the way people think it should be.

    @ kaylee

    I am fortunate to have a daughter who cares about me as much as Sarah does. I am also fortunate to have a son that cares about me too. I haven’t seen him in five months which is such a long time for us. I do talk to him most every day though.

    Reply

  13. mrsvierkant
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 00:12:47

    I’d like a party too. LOL. Glad you got it all figured out, right down to the haunting. 😉

    Reply

  14. Peter Parkour
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 04:54:55

    I’ve always liked the idea of being cremated and having my ashed dumped in a hole and then planting a tree over me. Whatever happens, I want it to be cheap, or if possible, free. Donating my body to science is ok with me. I don’t want a funeral. I don’t want my ashes in a cemetery. Everyone can go out for pizza, hopefully talk nice about me, and then bury me under the tree. 🙂

    Reply

  15. Just a Mom
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 10:41:01

    My dad planned his whole funeral himself and then had his son from his first marriage that we never had contact with growing up execute the plans. Idiot!

    My mom, God bless her soul, told me from when I was about age 9 and up that she wanted to be cremated and then have her ashes dumped out at Block Island. My brother and I were finally able to honor her wishes 10 years after we cremated her. But we kinda cheated we dumped her ashes in New London, Connecticut. Like I told my brother she always liked to swim! My mom would have been laughing the whole way too! 🙂

    Reply

  16. joanharvest
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 11:24:16

    @mrsvierkant
    There will definitely be haunting going on if I have any say about it. Mostly so I can attend the party.

    @Peter
    I just love the cemetery where my parents are and I just want to be near my Dad. I’m such a Daddy’s girl. I have a phobia about cremation. I’ve probably watched too many horror movies. They can take my organs, though I doubt about what shape they’ll be in.

    @Just a Mom
    I bet your Mom swam all the way to Block Island. I used to live in RI but don’t think I ever mad it to Block Island
    unless I was a kid and forgot. I also used to live not far from New London CT.

    I think it’s good to let someone know how you want things to be.

    Reply

  17. betme
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 14:05:29

    I am happy that you are taking care of yourself so that you will be around for many mnay years to come. Mr. J and I have discussed it and I want to be cremated with no fuss. He said he is going to have me stuffed and use me for a coat rack. 😀 Gosh I just love that man!

    Reply

  18. joanharvest
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 18:22:44

    @ Betme
    “stuffed and use you for a coat wrack”..Now Mr. J is a clever man. He gets a free coat rack out of the deal. Though I’m sure he prefers you unstuffed. The majority of people who left comments want to be cremated. I guess I just have a phobia about cremation.

    Reply

  19. kaylee
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 19:03:43

    Thats good how you been joan?

    Reply

  20. javajunkee
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 19:53:03

    LOL hey but if I was cremated. I could have the husband put me in some little baggies that he could pass out at my memorial. Since my invitation list is so short everybody could take a little of me home with them. OR

    ..he could take little baggies of me and go to the couple people I can’t stand and spread me on their lawns. 🙂

    Reply

  21. javajunkee
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 19:53:31

    my luck some of my stupid friends would mix me in with weed and smoke my ass!

    Reply

  22. Laura
    Jun 02, 2008 @ 20:06:16

    My grandmother used to say to have her cremated and put in a Maxwell House Coffee can. And put her on the mantle so she can hear everything.

    I am going to live to 93 or 96. I just decided one day. Don’t know why those TWO numbers are stuck in my head. Maybe I’m on life-support for three years.

    So I will make some burial decisions when I hit 90. 🙂

    Joan, that coffin is a work of art. Is there some way you could make it a focal point of your decorating scheme now? Speaking of works of art, my friend, Debra, the potter, makes the lovliest urns. To die for. 😉 http://fromskilledhands.com/funeral-urns/

    Reply

  23. odette
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 00:50:48

    wow, it seems everything’s sorted out with you then. 🙂 i love the partay thing, and ghostly comebacks. i love that ghost movie by the way.

    i don’t know if i can deal with it though, if my mom starts talking about her wishes when she dies. the thought is still unbearable for me now, so i might just put it off for as long as i can.

    🙂

    Reply

  24. Shornsheep
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 01:13:29

    I don’t think it is morbid at all to plan what you would like to happen when you pass from this world. It makes it a whole lot easier for those left behind and grieving, not having to make decisions. We knew what Dad wanted. He even told me one day what hymns he would like at his funeral. So when he died four years ago we knew we were respecting his wishes.

    Keep it simple, eh Joan. We are a lot alike. I don’t want fuss or flashy coffins either..

    Reply

  25. michaelm
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 09:16:40

    I too have very specific requests for my impending promotion to subterranean truffle inspector. Cremation for me. The stuff they do to the body just sickens me. Roast me like a marshmallow.
    I already have a few songs picked out: Deacon Blues (Steely Dan), For all the Saints (an acappella version by David Maddox/ Eventide) Oh, all kinds of things.
    And a party? Oh, yeah.
    Your favorite cemetery gravestone is absolutely beautiful.
    Interesting post and one that I definitely relate to.

    ~m

    Reply

  26. joanharvest
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 10:13:18

    @ Kaylee
    I’ve been good. How about yourself? Going home soon?

    @ Javajunkie
    You are too funny. I like the idea of giving a little piece of yourself to all your friends. You better label the baggies though so nobody smokes you up.

    Well, at least you don’t have to deal with it for a while. So is your Grandmother in her coffee can on the mantle?

    Isn’t that a cool coffin. I might save up and get it now and use it as a decoration in my room for now. It would make a great planter. Or I could even sleep in it once in a while to get used to it. I did check out that web site. Sort of puts a new spin on cremation. I would want my daughter to use it as a decoration and not plant it. I like your grandmother’s idea of being on the mantle.

    @ Odette
    When my father was still alive I didn’t like talking to him about his wishes either but he made it clear what he wanted.

    I definitely want a party because like I said I plan onm being there in some form or another.

    @ shornsheep

    I don’t want any hymns, just rock and roll, lots of good food and talk about me like I’m in the room because I will be.

    @ Michaelm
    I love Steely Dan. One of my favorite groups. Deacon Blues is certainly appropriate. I want “Urge for Going” by Tom Rush on mine.

    I’m glad I posted this because it made me think about a lot of things and some I might change my mind on. It was great hearing everyone’s opinion on something that isn’t usually discussed.

    Reply

  27. javajunkee
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 13:17:39

    I figure my music will start out with Bay City Rollers and then it will just be a plethora of what I listened to during my years. We’ll hit all the 80’s stuff and then of course we will throw in Lauper and Nicks cuz they were like my idols. Have to have Fallout Boy and AFI …probably following it up with Him and Nighwish. It should be a good time for all…oh and I cant’ forget my Jersey boys Bon Jovi. I spent a good couple of years following them around.

    So everybody at mine will have to have a wristband to get in. If I’m cremated there will be little baggies of me labeled “just for the -ell of it” and people can take one if they want 🙂

    Reply

  28. joanharvest
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 13:27:48

    @javajunkie

    YES, Stevie Nicks, my absolute favorite. If you go to my myspace site I have a player with a lot of my favorite music. There is a link to it in my blogroll. I listen to music all day while I am home. I listen to it very loudly which is why I’m a little deaf. Way too many years of loud rock. Actually Stevie Nicks is going to be on in three more songs. “Leather and Lace” and “Just Like the White Winged Dove”.

    I love the idea of the baggies and everyone you care about gets a little piece of you.Some people would find that idea strange but I think it’s wicked cool.

    Reply

  29. museditions
    Jun 03, 2008 @ 16:30:38

    I’m pleased to learn here that you are not dead yet. 🙂 I know it was a tremendous relief for me when parents, and an aunt I was responsible for had left their own ideas and plans. It’s a great favor to the ones you leave behind to not burden them with these decisions when they are grieving for you. And, I believe you will make an excellent ghost! 😀

    Reply

  30. javaqueen
    Jun 04, 2008 @ 04:18:05

    At first my chest got tight reading this… made me sad but then I got to the part “I’ll stick around and do some haunting” omg, I nearly fell off my chair Joan. I love, love, love your take on things. “Not in the bathrooms or bedrooms”. Only you could take on such a serious subject and make me smile all at the same time.

    Reply

  31. joanharvest
    Jun 04, 2008 @ 10:13:26

    @museditions
    Well, I’m glad I’m not dead yet too!! 🙂 I think I will make an excellent ghost.

    @javaqueen
    Lately I don’t seem to take anything seriously. I’m getting to the age where I’m on the other side of the halfway mark and damn it, I’m gonna have fun being there (thanks to Pfizer, the makers of Zoloft). The only time I have ever appreciated drugs. Well, maybe not the only time. I was a flower child when I was young.

    Reply

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