Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A wee bit morbid

A relative was visiting New York and told me he was going to visit my father's family plot in Staten Island. I got excited because I've never been to that cemetery and was looking forward to some fun family history tidbits.

I made the mistake of mentioning this to my parents. Then this happened:

Abbot Yid: I've decided I don't want to be buried. I want to be cremated.

Me: Ok, it's your choice.

AY: And then you can do whatever with me, scatter me, I guess.

Mother Superior Yid: I know, I know, in the ocean. Always the ocean-lover.

AY: Right.

MY: Now, I assume you'd prefer the Atlantic over the Pacific, since you have so many nice memories of it?

AY: Um... I don't think I'll care.

Me: Can we still bury you somewhere?

AY: What? No. Why bother?

Me: Well, so there's a resting place and people can visit you.

AY: Oh God no. I don't want to be visited, thanks. As a matter of fact, let's put that on the urn. "No visiting hours."

MY: It's good we're talking about this, because I've decided I want to donate my body to science.

AY and me: WHAT?

MY: Sorry, it's just... I've seen too many episodes of "Bones." I know what I'll look like within a few years. Yuck.

Me: Mom, do you mean, like, for medical students? You want to be a medical cadaver?

MY: Well, I mean, I want to be useful. Let people have my organs and whatever.

AY: That will already happen. We're organ donors.

MY: Well... hmm...

Me: But you still want the rest to be buried?

MY: It would be nice.

AY: The rest? What rest? If you donate the body to a hospital or something, I think they get it all.

A few days later, talking with Deacon Yid:

Me: So you heard about The Weirdest Conversation Ever TM?

Deacon: Yeah. If you think about it, the smartest thing to do is be cremated and then buried. That way people can visit you without your bones decomposing in the ground. Also then you take up less space.

Me: I suppose.

DY: And you can save on coffins. That stuff is super-expensive.

Me: Actually I think the funeral homes usually make you buy the coffins and then cremate the whole thing.

DY: Dude, people are morons!

Wow, that anti-cremation Chabad rabbi really doesn't know weird till he's talked with my folks.

1 comment:

Susan B said...

The conversation may feel strange and uncomfortable, but I'm glad you had it. So many people don't have this conversation while everyone is well, and end up having to guess their parent's wishes after their death, or arguing with them on their death bed, or finding themselves faced with a will that contains instructions they wish they'd had a chance to try to talk their parents out of.

My father wanted to be cremated until I talked to him about how it made me feel (his mother, my grandmother, was cremated and her ashes were scattered, leaving me wishing I had someplace to visit her. Plus, since she rescued my father from the Holocaust by leaving Hungary with him before Hitler marched in, the cremation thing just sticks in my craw).

At any rate, good for you for having the discussion!