Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Jul 03

Death Becomes Her

I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately and not in a way that’s morbid  — at least, not in the way that would consider morbid. I recently finished reading Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, which I may or may not get around to reviewing on Reviews by Cole, but it’s certainly gotten me thinking.

Here’s what I’m thinking; the two most viable options for human remains are among the worst. In fact, many people don’t realize that any other options exist and, in some locations, they’re so difficult that you might as not well consider them options at all. And that’s pretty awful.

I don’t want an expensive casket to entomb my decomposing body while I take up precious space that’s better left for the dead nor do I want to be incinerated in a process that’s not environmentally-friendly or contributory to science.

So what do I want? First, for my organs to be donated. There’s not a single reason not to do that. There are about ten options from there, however, and the following is my personal ranking of what I’d like done with my body from most to least desired.

  • Scientific research – A local university is the most viable option for corpse donation, but it’s certainly time-sensitive. I like this option and take no issue with any type of research. If it’s helpful, I am down. I would especially like to be used for studies done in labs dedicated to ballistics and car accident research, however, because it’s so necessary and exactly the type of thing that others shun. If the service allowed me to leave a note to those who might be working on my body, I think a pun or a bad joke would fit the bill. Ideally, any remains would be composted. Realistically, they’ll be cremated, and I would be just fine if my cremains wound up in an unmarked grave with other cremains.
  • Composting – composting isn’t a thing yet, but it could be by the time I die. Composting is posed to be economical, practical and ecological; although, it doesn’t have a scientific purpose. One proposed method relies on freezing the body, using vibration to break it up, removing liquid and turning the rest into compost. Cool!
  • Natural burial – a natural, above-ground burial doesn’t advance the scientific community, but it does seem like a pleasant way to go. Skip the embalming and fancy packaging and let nature do its part in due time. Caskets aren’t actually a requirement in the state of Wisconsin, so it may be a viable option if I know someone who has the land!
  • Body Farm – You might think that someone who is writing a blog post about her preferred methods of corporeal dispensement who seems to have an affinity for science would like her body being delivered to a body farm and, you know, it’s far from the worst option to consider. It serves a purpose: teaching people more about the decomposition process of human bodies. But it’s just not very appetizing. It’s not practical for me personally, either, because there are no body farms near me.
  • Burial at sea – I imagine this to be a costly final destination that is incongruent with who I am as a person. But sleeping with the fishes is more eco-friendly than some of the other options. At least it’s EPA-regulated.
  • Necrophilia – Look, it’s weird. As a living person, I am not at all attracted to the bodies of people who have already passed, but it’s more productive than some of the other options, right?
  • Cremation – Cremation is the lesser of two evils when it comes to the big two. It’s more affordable and requires less space, but I’m not too keen on what it does to the environment. If someone wanted to keep my cremains close by, however, I would be okay with that. And there are so many cool things you can do with cremains. Being inturned with seeds is one option; although, it’s really of no benefit to the tree.
  • Mummification –  This option isn’t my favorite. It requires my body to take up space while it decomposes more slowly than a natural burial because of the embalming process. But in several thousand years, the process will complete.
  • Cryonically frozen – Listen, I like science fiction as much as the next person, but cryonics just isn’t scientifically viable. It’s a demanding use of resources that neither I nor the world should spend. I also have no desire to beat death even were it possible.
  • Casket Burial – Literally the worst possible thing that could happen to my body. It’s not economical, and it doesn’t serve any purpose. I love spending time in cemeteries as long as my body is animated, but they won’t do me a damned thing of good when I’m dead.

So this might be a weird post for some of you — or not. You know that I’m not exactly traditional in many ways!


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