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27 May 2006 @ 09:31 am
cinnamon toast vacuum  
Little ants came into our hallway after a storm a few weeks back, so while Alex went to get ant cups I freaked out and took the cinnamon from the spice cupboard and shook it all along the baseboard. Ants despise cinnamon, my grandmother told me. And she was right, as grandmothers invariably are. The ants immediately stopped coming in. Then Alex came back with ant cups, told me I was crazy and vacuumed up all the cinnamon. Now when we vacuum it smells like cinnamon, which is really quite pleasant.

Someone had a paintball fight in a cemetery somewhere up north and now there are paintball stains all over the gravestones. I saw it on the news yesterday. The newscaster said something about it being a defacement of the stones, which "belong to the dead." I thought, no. The stones belong to the living. And so does the cemetery. Everything that happens after a person dies, all the services and the flowers and the grieving, it's all for the living. I agree that shooting paintballs in a graveyard is disrespectful, but not to the dead. It's disrespectful to all the living people who go there to remember their loved ones in peace, without looking at an oily paintball stain on a gravestone.

I had a conversation about death this week, about how people grieve. It was very refreshing, as most people cannot really talk about death in a candid way. Which is why we say things like "he passed away" or he "passed on." No. He died.

I personally don't understand wakes, or "viewings" as they are now often called. I want to remember someone as they were when they were alive. I do not want the last time I see their body to be when it is dead and made to look like it is alive, like they are just "sleeping," when you know they're not because people don't sleep in coffins with clothes on and inch-thick makeup on their faces, and they don't smell like formaldehyde. I want to remember someone as they were when they were ALIVE, not "fake-alive." If I were called on to identify someone's body, or if I needed to see the body of someone for some emotional "closure" reason, I would want to see a dead body. No makeup, no embalming, just a body. That's death. Don't try to hide it with makeup.

When I die I want my body to be cremated (unless they want to do an autopsy on it first) and then the ashes to be buried, with a private ceremony at the gravesite. No embalming, no "viewing." I do think it's important to have a grave, though. Firstly because it's creepy for someone to keep your ashes in their house. Secondly, because I think that even though the idea of having your ashes scattered in the ocean or the forest or wherever is a very romantic one, it is also a selfish one. People, in general, like to have a place they can go to remember, to take care of a grave, to see the person's name, to know they have been memorialized, to plant flowers and to place stones. It makes the living feel better. And after I'm gone, that's all that really matters.
 
 
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