Kind of an

Brittany - posted on 10/10/2011 ( 69 moms have responded )

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I am currently in college, many of you know this, and I am taking a World Literature II class.

Recently we read Jonathan Swift's satire, "A Modest Proposal". If you do not know or have no read this short story, I will advise you it is not for the weak at heart.

To give you a rundown it is about early Ireland and how to stop over population, mostly of the peasant classes.

He suggest raising, selling, breeding and cooking children. The story is not as bad as I am making it sound but, the message is really a concern of over population and children not being cared for properly.

If you would like to read it:

http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html

After reading this story our teacher told us our first paper (Due October 20th) will be a satire paper on something that is a real issue today. After a lot of thought I came up with over crowding in prisions. Well, I decided against that one because, I am sure everyone will do that.

Once again I put my brain back to work and came up with overcrowding in cemeteries (no not, the living).

This is a serious issue and one that can cause health risks. Now, I just have to make it funny while giving real suggestions on how to solve the issue. I have come up with quite a few and I will publish my paper for you all to read once I have finished it.

My question is how many of you all believe overcrowding in cemeteries is a big issue?

NOTE:

"A Modest Proposal" is a satire meaning full of wit, irony, sarcasam, often used to expose or discredit a vice. His proposal of raising the children to be eaten IS a possibility but, not going to happen. It is full of irony and sarcasam.

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Johnny - posted on 10/10/2011

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Cremation is harmful to the environment. I used to want to be cremated, since there's no point to keeping my body around when I'm dead, but after reading some research on it, I changed my mind.

I just want to be stuck in a biodegradable box, unembalmed, unclothed to decompose naturally into the earth and become compost. Which is what will happen. My husband and I own plots in a Doukhobor cemetery where burial is conducted in that exact manner. They only use land that can't be used for growing food (they didn't have the luxury of that kind of waste) and they don't keep manicured lawns or fancy gravestones or anything. If you want a little marker so you can find your loved one's area, you are allowed to and that's it. The cemetery has been there for 100 years and the older sections have completely grown over and returned to nature.

Mary - posted on 10/10/2011

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I really could care less about what happens to my body after I die...well, actually, I take that back. What I do not want is for my body to be placed in some expensive, airtight, waterproof casket that will never decompose. I'm ambivalent on cremation. Burn me to ashes (and scatter), or toss my unembalmed corpse, wrapped in some type of biodegradable shroud, into the ground. I'd really prefer that my remains not be any additional burden on an already over-taxed environment.

I can't say that I've ever given thought to the topic of overcrowding in cemeteries, but one thing that has bugged me is the waste of precious hardware when someone dies. All of those people with various different types of metals and plastics used in corrective and reconstructive surgeries....we need to be harvesting this stuff, and recycling those materials. That corpse no longer needs those titanium rods, but those extremely expensive implants that were only in granny's hip for a year or two could certainly be put to better use than just hiding away in the grave. I'm sure that many of you are cringing over the ick factor here, but seriously, this is a huge waste of resources.

Johnny - posted on 10/10/2011

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Cremation in controlled crematoriums with environmental regulations still puts out the equivalent of a 500 mile car journey in carbon emissions. Obviously traditional burial practices with manicured lawns, embalming, and relative's weekly visits to the grave is more damaging. But ecological burial practices are considerably less. There is a positive benefit to the environment from ecological burial or body dump.

This doesn't take into account the fact that many crematoriums have been found not following the environmental regulations anyway.

JL - posted on 10/11/2011

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In my family which is made up of non believers, agnostics, atheists and people from every religious denomination we believe in celebrating life and not in mourning it. Funerals and burials are just not something we put much time and effort in or focus on. We put our time, effort, and focus into throwing a party that is about celebrating the persons life and the love we have for them. It's a big happy rockin send off into the universe or the heavens or whatever each person personally believes they will go or not go to when they pass.

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[deleted account]

Nice to find someone who shares my view that death is just another part of life and not something to be scared of or view as a tragedy. :-)

[deleted account]

Jenny, what a great combination of traditions! I would have been fascinated to see a Native funeral.

Sheesh, great way to expect someone to read my mind! What I meant to say was "How do you help your kids reconcile the dead?" Although, I suppose it is kind of obvious. Ugh... I'll stop talking now. :-\ I'm brain dead.

[deleted account]

Thank you, Sherri! That's exactly what I wanted to know, and I feel that my step mother probably feels similarly to you but just unable to express herself as clearly. And you're totally right about open caskets being commonplace in Catholic funerals. You know, I never knew that prior to my father marrying my step mother.

I do know of many cultures that have open coffins or the deceased stays in the house with the family (but not "Weekend at Bernie's" style) for a certain amount of time, so it's really just a part of one's culture whether the casket is opened, closed or nonexistent.

If you don't mind me asking, how do you help them reconcile the dead? What I mean is how do you explain the death to them? I've never been one to shy away from death (well, you can't really, can you?) and I've decided to take a direct approach with my boys in that I tell them what they want to know. Very matter of factly, but of course in an age appropriate manner. Because of your Catholic background, I imagine there is heaven and purgatory and what not in your version of death, but that notwithstanding it's still the same concept and having to teach a child about it can be a tricky thing.

I know that your kids are older than mine, which is why I'm asking what your approach has been, especially if they've been exposed to death on a number of occasions already. My eldest son has seen a dead pet bird and a chicken we killed and ate, as well as having been to one funeral that I don't think he fully understood... so his experience is limited, to say the least, but I do think he has a simple grasp on the concept. My youngest isn't even 3 years yet, so he has no idea.

I'm honestly very keen to know what your approach has been with your boys. (BTW, I saw somewhere that you're expecting... congrats!!)

Jenny - posted on 10/11/2011

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I went to a Native funeral last month and they know how to honor their dead. They burn a fire for three days while they have the wake. The body is present in the room the entire time.



At the funeral his son pulled up in his truck with the casket in the back with 6 pallbearers riding in the back with him looking very noble. They all got out and carried the body into the church. A truck pulled up behind carrying the tombstone that his cousin had carved a few days previous and they cut down the tree themselves. There was a lot of Native drumming and chanting as well as personal stories.



The ceremony itself was Catholic as he had "found God" in the months as Cancer took over. Not my cup of tea but he would have loved it.



At the end of the ceremony the boys carried the casket across the street to the grave site. He was lowered by hand and after a short ceremony we all proceed to drop handfuls of dirt in. Everyone grabbed shovels and filled in the hole. I love the tradition of burying your dead. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of.

Becky - posted on 10/11/2011

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I don't really know what I want to be done with my body after I die. I guess I don't really care too much, I won't need it anymore. Maybe I'd like to be buried at sea. Then my body could do all the travelling I didn't get around to while I was alive!
I don't want an open casket. I've been to a couple of them and they're creepy. I don't want a sad funeral either. I believe I'll be happy where I'm going, so no one needs to mourn for me. Not that I don't expect people to be sad that I'm gone - well, I hope some will be! - but they don't need to be sad for me! I do hope I live to a ripe old age before I die, so that my children have to take care of me and I can torment them the way they have tormented me! lol! :)

[deleted account]

Sherri, don't you think that might be a bit traumatic for your kids? The open casket, I mean. Or, are you Catholic? I only ask that, because it is common for Catholics to have viewings (open casket) and a mass. My step mother is Catholic and does that for any dead relatives... even when it's against the deceased wishes... sorry, another story.

I don't find anything wrong with wanting to have a big party (which is kind of how I see the mass and viewing in a warped way), but why all the pomp and circumstance? I've asked my step mother why to get her opinion, but she just says "Because that's what's done" which is no answer at all. But then, she never learned to think for herself either.

[deleted account]

I've been to nothing but "sad" funerals. A dozen of them over the course of my life so far. I've been graveside, church, crematorium and a memorial service, all usually followed by wakes (food and drinks with everyone either at a pub, in the church hall or in the person's home). The ONLY "funeral" (it was actually just the interment I organized for my mother's remains 20+ yrs after the fact) that wasn't sad was attended by only ONE family member of the deceased (me) and a few of my friend's who were there mostly to support me. I must admit that I very nearly cried a few times.

Stifler's - posted on 10/11/2011

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I've never been to a *sad* funeral. My grandad died and no one in my family cried except me. He was loved but we all just knew he'd had a good life and it was his time. I went to the funeral of an 18 year old when I was in school and it was pretty sad but the funeral wasn't full of wailing people. The family were all making jokes and drinking alcohol. I've never been t one of those graveside things either they're in a church and the coffin gets carried to a hearse or shoved out the back of the funeral home ready to prize open and burn the body and then everyone has morning tea afterwards. I was kind of freaked out to learn that they don't burn the coffin. What do they do with it? Reuse it?

Bobbie - posted on 10/11/2011

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I believe that overcrowding in cemeteries is a real issue and the current practices reflect that. Couples are now purchasing one plot to be buried one on top of the other. I also watched a program on television about how cemeteries were only renting the available crypts. When the family could no longer pay rent then there was a removal of past loved ones after a certain amount of years. I tried to relocate the country for you but couldn't find on my search engine. The workers who gathered the bones of these past buried were given a crypt and actually lived in it as payment for their services to care for the graves. Very real, I assure you, just can't remember under what circumstances.

[deleted account]

Gillian, I was half joking, but I honestly don't know what humanist means. Goes to show I don't know everything... yet! lol

I hate funerals too. Full of sobbing, blubbering people thinking "Oh poor me!" I would hate it for people to be doing that over me. Man, I'm probably coming off sounding like a stone cold bitch on heat now. But it's true.

I love the old fashioned funereal marches in New Orleans! The people follow behind the casket crying and weeping as it gets carried to the vault, the music is sombre and sad. Coffin deposited and everyone dances and jolly tunes (like "Saints go marching in") are played as they head back to a wake/memorial service/whatever. So you get to be sad for a short time and then it's time to be happy and celebrate!

Lady - posted on 10/11/2011

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There probably are humanist funerals for 'Humanists' but there are also just non religious ones - I just hate funnerals I'd probably rather not have one if it was possible - that'll be up to those left behind though.

[deleted account]

Oh Joy, I love you! That is something I feel strongly about too! I've actually stipulated in my will for a certain amount of money (it's in a "secret" savings account) to be spent solely on a party. No one is allowed to wear black or be sombre for long, but remember all the happy, fun times and rejoice in the full lives I have had (three so far).

So, I'm to be kicked out of a moving car on a mountain so wild animals can poo me all over the place (and hopefully fertilize something other than lantana or blackberry bushes), then everyone's to party as long as the money lasts... Hmm, someone may be questioned by police if it's carried out. lol

[deleted account]

Humanist funerals? Aren't all funerals for humans "humanist"? Or is that like secular versus religious?

Lady - posted on 10/11/2011

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I want to be cremated but my husband wants me buried with him - at the moment I've agreed that if we both live to an old age I'll get buried with him but if I die young then he'll get me cremated. We both want humanist funerals though, we've both said if god is mentioned any where near our funerals then we'll come back and haunt everyone lol (not that we actually believe in ghosts :-)) I just hope his mother goes before him - she's still giving us grief about not getting the kids baptised!!

[deleted account]

In Japan people are cremated, for obvious space reasons. You can then buy a space in the cemetery that's about 1-2 feet square (richer people can go bigger of course) to inter the remains. There's no limit (other than monetary) as to how much vertical space is taken for the monument that holds the ashes. Plots are usually regularly visited too. It doesn't take much to dig up the urns either. My mother and I went and took my grandmother's ashes on a trip to Japan once. My mum just went there and dug them up one night and we brought them home (Oregon at the time).

[deleted account]

Soylent Green, YES!! I love that movie! Actually don't mind the concept either.

I'm another one that doesn't care what happens to my body after I'm dead. Well, I don't want to be buried because it seems like a waste of space and money. I've told my husband and friends that when I die someone should drive up to the nearest mountains (or in Australia Fraser Island or out West), open the door and boot me out. Let the animals eat me. Originally, I was saying mountains so coyotes and or wolves could eat me, but now living Australia it'd have to be dingoes or pigs... Oh wait, Tassie Devils! Okay, so that means I have to go to Tassie a week before I die.

Since booting a corpse down a mountain is slightly illegal, most likely I'll be cremated... What's left of me after organ harvesting that is.

Cynthia - posted on 10/11/2011

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i had no idea this was an issue. it makes perfect sense but never once crossed my mind or can up in my life. it is fascinating to say the least. thanks Brittany for sharing and making us aware of such issue. now that i have read the post i do agree it is a big issue. strangely entertaining topic.

Johnny - posted on 10/10/2011

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As Jane said, it is a common practice all over the world to reuse cemetery plots. Here in North America where people take all the available land for granted, it is not all that common, but in Europe and parts of Asia where burial is common, graves are often "recycled".

http://links.visibli.com/cce00190400db56...

Jane - posted on 10/10/2011

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My family tends to be cremated and scattered, or interred in a national cemetery. The former means we don't use up any space at all, and the latter means that both spouses share the same hole. In fact, my parents decided to be cremated and then interred in the same hole. That means each plot does double duty. In addition, the cemetery we are using still has plenty of empty space even though it's almost 100 years old.

Now there are places where they do have an over-crowding problem in cemeteries. One example is the Mummy Museum in Guanajuato, Mexico. Families rent burial plots rather than buy them, so when the family stops paying the rent the dead are evicted and the plot is reused. If they look interesting, the evicted bodies go into the church and are put on display.

Then in parts of the world where folks have been being buried for hundreds of years people construct ossuaries, buildings or sites where skeletal remains sans coffins are dumped to make space for new bodies. Some examples of ossuaries are found within Europe such as the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini in Rome, Italy, the San Bernardino alle Ossa in Milan, Italy, the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic, the Skull Chapel in Czermna in Lower Silesia, Poland, Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of bones) in the city of Évora, in Portugal, and the Douaumont ossuary in France that contains the remains of more than 130,000 French and German soldiers that fell at the Battle of Verdun during World War I.

And then there is Soylent Green.

Johnny - posted on 10/10/2011

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Wait until they die off.

Many cemeteries actually re-use very old plots that are neglected and many entire cemeteries fall into disrepair because all the bodies belong to people long gone whose families are long gone and no one knows where great-great uncle Harold was buried.

Johnny - posted on 10/10/2011

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Sherri, that's easily fixed. Move to a rental system. Or have people buy into the cemetery in a co-operative fashion. We have burial plots, but where they are depends on when we die. You go into the next available spot. We all pay $25/year for our membership in the cemetery and every man must dig on a rotation schedule. Since we've been married, Steve has had to do it twice. Since we live a long way, they allow him to defer and then do it when he happens to be in town.

Krista - posted on 10/10/2011

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At any rate, it's a fascinating assignment, to have to think of a satirical solution to a current problem. Fun!!!

Stifler's - posted on 10/10/2011

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I mean people will have issues about reusing graves, moving graves, being cremated and all this other superstitious or religious stuff. It's a body, the person is gone.

Johnny - posted on 10/10/2011

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Joy, it doesn't take all that much room to bury people if you put them in already used graves (re-used about every 60 years) or in natural lands that are for other purposes. As long as they aren't embalmed, and aren't buried en mass near a water table, there is no environmental harm.

Brittany - posted on 10/10/2011

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I am having a wonderful time reading all of your comments. I think they are all fantastic!

I wanted this to be a "fun" topic to discuss and so far I have see a few laughs. I do not intend this to be an offensive topic.

Good job ladies! Keep it coming!

[deleted account]

April, if you're cremated, you can be burried in multiple spots around the globe if you want lol When my mother died and I had her cremated, I divided the ashes between myself, my two brothers, my aunt (her sister) and my uncle (her brother). She (my mother) currently has been spread on two continents, in the ocean and in my one brother's favorite hunting grounds. I still have my share of the ashes. I'm gonna plant her under a tree whenever my husband and I get our own house.

April - posted on 10/10/2011

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you know, i don't have anything funny to add to your paper, but i do want to post that it irritates me that my husband wants me to be buried next to him. i really don't want to pick between him and my parents/sister! maybe my body could be divided in 2..one in new york with my husband and the other in NJ with my parents and sister? lol. jk. :)

[deleted account]

No offense to anyone but I think that anyone who is buried (in a casket or otherwise) is wasting valuable space. The planet's population is rising. Eventually we will be out of room. I think it would be better to cremate everyone and then bury the ashes under a tree or something. Actually give BACK to the planet. That's what I'm having done. Either that or I'll be sprinkled into the ocean. I won't be around or conscious in any form or existence to care anyhow :)

[deleted account]

lol...a human is different from a pet...I'm sure someone would find out! I'll just add this to the list of dumb things about my state.

Johnny - posted on 10/10/2011

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Currently there are no green burial sites in either Mississippi or Alabama, and the closest ones to be found are in South Carolina and Florida, according to the Green Burial Council Web site. Boo!

You could do it in your back yard. It's illegal to bury your pet in your backyard here but everyone still does it and gets away with it.

[deleted account]

ALTHOUGH, I'm only about 45 minutes from the Mississippi state line. I suppose I could look for one over there.

[deleted account]

Johnny, how do you find cemeteries like that? I'd like to find one around here somewhere.

Emma, Sherri is exactly right. In New Orleans and surrounding areas there are above ground vaults everywhere. NOLA is below sea level and the buried dead will literally float back up. It isn't about worshiping the dead or anything, it's about keeping decaying bodies concealed.

Johnny - posted on 10/10/2011

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Well, the Doukhobors bury their own dead. No hired help. Steve has been on digger duty a couple times when we've been back to the in-laws. Shovels only, no backhoes allowed. So if you want a bunch of drunk elderly friends standing around throwing their backs out, that's the way to go!

JL - posted on 10/10/2011

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LOL, Johnny I have an active imagination where I envision a bunch of drunk elderly friends trying to light my body on fire dancing around and throwing out their backs and hips under the full moon. But I know the reality is that I will end up picking a more environmentally friendly thing to do. I have already expressed to my family that I want my organs donated and my body given to science for experimentation.

Johnny - posted on 10/10/2011

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That sounds like a good time Joy. Even worse for the environment, but a heck of a lot more fun.

JL - posted on 10/10/2011

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That is why I want to be cremated like it was done during the days of warriors. Just put my body on a large fire pit and dance around it while I go up in flames.

Minnie - posted on 10/10/2011

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I'm donating my body to science.

I know this subject might be touchy to someone but I have no problem joking about my dead body. I won't care what happens to it after I'm gone.

Stifler's - posted on 10/10/2011

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I think people are far too precious about dead bodies. That is all. Crypts should be outlawed (where they are above ground in those big cement boxes).

Brittany - posted on 10/10/2011

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Carolee,

I have actually researched that and that is one of my topics. Alkaline Hydrolysis. I also have electricity and soap.

I know the soap thing is kind of well, bad but, soap is made out of rendered beef fat or triglycerides. ESPECIALLY if you use bar soap. I only buy liquids soaps because, I do not care to bathe in the fat of a cow.

Carolee - posted on 10/10/2011

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One suggestion for your story could be to take the bodies of the homeless who have died and make them into plant food.

[deleted account]

Sherri, I fully expect people to disagree with me. I know this a very touchy subject and I further know that I am probably a minority of one in my opinion. In fact, I don't often discuss it becuase it's a hurtful opinion to some and I wish it wasn't but it is why I don't talk about it. I know my views just are not going to work for everyone.

However I felt they were pertinent to the topic at hand.

I sincerely hope I didn't offend you.

[deleted account]

I did a paper like that as a senior in high school. Mine was that people who park in handicapped spaces should have their legs amputated.

The overcrowding in cemeteries? Here in Louisiana it's common for families to all be in one above ground vault. Kind of creepy. You just push Aunt Yvette's bones out of the way to make room for Grandma Marie.

Honestly, I don't know if it's a huge issue and have never really thought how I'd like to be done away with. Maybe I'll be put in a pine box in the woods somewhere. Maybe cremated. I don't really care.

Minnie - posted on 10/10/2011

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Grow an apple orchard over the graves. You'll have some honking big apples!

[deleted account]

Me! Wow, no one ever asks that question. I am a person who completely believes cemetaries are wasteful and useless (imo - not everyone's, I know). I think people should be cremated and then at best, put in mass graves. You see, I personally don't remember my loved ones by going to a piece of ground where their bodies are buried. That's not them. I will never go to my grandmother's grave. I don't need to. I can hold the fur coat she left me (ratty old seal from the 1910s) and think of her. I can look at photos and remember her voice.

The land should be put to better use such as low-income housing, etc.

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