Sipping my coffee at the intersection during my commute this morning, I suddenly looked up and realized I was situated right behind the Batesville Casket Co. delivery vehicle.
For whatever reason, the realization made me laugh a bit. I had never put much thought into the vehicles that deliver these caskets, and had not expected them to be branded. But as I considered the messaging on the back of the truck, my amusement faded a bit.
“Helping families honor the lives of those they love.”
I’m sure there are those who believe that burying your loved one in an extravagant steel or lacquered wooden casket is the appropriate way to honor them. For me, though, this does not ring true. Honoring the life that I have tried to live would not include polluting the earth with steel and concrete. It would not mean encasing me so that the earth would never again touch my skin, effectively removing me from the natural cycles of life. And I wouldn’t want it to ostensibly waste an enormous amount of resources in the process (see my previous posts on cremation and the statistics on caskets and vaults).
What I want is very different. I want to be buried naturally in a simple biodegradable shroud so that my molecules will quickly rejoin the life cycle. I will be part of a beautiful nature preserve, and my burial will insure that it will forever remain wild. Those who love me will know that I am there in the life all around them – the tall sunflowers waving on the prairie, the butterflies floating on the summer breeze, the tree branch bent heavy beneath the wet snow. And my last act will support service that I value, instead of a corporation. My loss will provide additional funding to conserve and protect more land in our community, and introduce more families to the wonders of nature.
This is representative of my principles and what I want for those I will leave behind. This is the best way to honor me and the life I am trying to live.