I had my whole funeral elaborately planned out, down to the musical score and laser-light show.
All my guests would be required (and checked by Drag Queen bouncers) to wear costumes at my funeral—even my grand-parents, whom I am convinced will out live us all. Champaign, sushi, Thai and Indian cuisine would be served to all my guests by servers, on roller-skates. Cuban cigars, whistles, fire-works, Hawaiian lei’s and neon-glo sticks would be handed out to mourners—think Burning Man meets Irish Wake.
I wanted conga-lines around my LaKota Sioux-carved, teak casket (which is to be blessed by an African shaman). I want my mourners to use my casket for doing the Limbo. The grand finale: My family and friends lowering me back into the earth with Queen blaring Another One Bites the Dust.
My tombstone would actually be a statue of me (at the height of my beauty), Patron Saint of Nicotine, made of flint (to light cigarettes) and sand-based, to serve as an ashtray to anyone who visits my grave (I do not want cigarette butts littering my grave!).
This was the plan and then, I heard about eco-funerals.
When I heard there was a Green Funeral Fair being held at Grace North Church, in “Berzerkely”, California; I just had to check it out—wouldn’t you? I mean, it is hard enough being ecologically correct when you are alive; but now we have to worry about being green when we are dead? Apparently, a corpse can be propped up in bed at home to receive visitors (and perhaps play poker) one last time, before returning to the earth, wrapped in a shroud or in a biodegradable coffin. Jerrigrace Lyons, a “death midwife” whose Sebastopol, CA, business is called Final Passages, has facilitated more than 300 home-based funerals in the past 14 years.
I was told that 827,000 gallons of embalming fluid are buried in the ground every year. I learned that the energy used in cremation is the equivalent of driving a car 4,800 miles. They also told me tombstones are not essential.
“But how would we find our dead people?!” I exclaimed. “Use clairvoyants? Metal detectors?”
The Answer: Corpses can be located by means of a radio frequency tag, as they do at Fernwood Cemetery in Mill Valley, California.
And yes, most people, myself included, assume a body will decompose rapidly and smell terrible, but now I know the eco-secret: dry ice. Other accoutrements of death included St. Brigid’s straw crosses, ceramic life masks, funeral hats and more.
So now I am going to have to re-plan my whole funeral. This may take some time because I will have to insist everyone attend my funeral by hybrid car, foot, cycle, roller-blade or use public transportation; use only biodegradable body products that day; serve organic sushi, Thai and Indian; have compost toilets and then use mourner manure to fertilize the flowers on my grave; and so on…
At aleast I can still have mourners do the conga-line around me and use my corpse (in the perfect shroud that goes well with my eyes) as the Limbo stick. Then, be buried to Another One Bites the Dust.
Editor: Kelly Brichta
Recipe for Kelly N Patterson: ¼ Indiana Jones, ¼ Mother Teresa, ¼ Hunter S Thompson, ¼ Dr. Seuss—with a side of wasabi. Visit my anti-professional web portfolio if you just have to know more….http://kellynpatterson.blogspot.com/
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