Over the years, my friend Jay has given me some great gifts. My first real perfume, Chanel No. 5 at age 16, my first crystal vase, my first life size Penguin statue (everyone should have one of those) and then my most recent gift, my future headstone.
Standing five foot high, like me, made of concrete but looking like metal, and etched in the knots of my ancestors, this Celtic Cross makes me giddy happy whenever I pass it at the end of our front sidewalk.
I love this gift because, for over a decade, due primarily to my years in hospice and Keith's loss of his first wife at the young age of 30, we have been planning our own deaths. Unlike so many, we are certain we are not getting out of this life thing, alive. So, rather than follow the expensive, impersonal trend millions of Americans follow, we plan to be buried right here on this Poor Farm property. We will not be embalmed or encased in a metal coffin left to slide around on fake silk for eternity. Keith is leaning towards a simple pine box while I like the wrapped in linen (bought at a garage sale) route. Linen breathes so well in the heat.
I envision a sweet Irish graveyard, something like this:
Or perhaps a serene spot under a tree like Forrest did for his dear Jenny.
He knew what love was after all.
Our immediate family is fearful though, that our cemetery to-be may end of looking like this:
Turns out, most of that is not required by law. Every state has its own rules and of course each county and each cemetery has its own regulations, but you would be surprised what is not actually required by regulating agencies. In Illinois for example, there are no laws that require a casket or embalming. See NOLO.com for more info. You can investigate your specific state requirements on that site as well.
Soon, I'll be contacting our local coroners office to get the low down for us going way down in the ground, on our own property. We are all about natural composting here. Then I'll work my way through Public Health. They pitched such a fit with our outhouse a couple of years ago, I can't wait to hear them gasp out loud when I bring up THIS topic. Stay tuned for my progress on this road rarely taken. It promises to be a great ride.