Skip to main content

I was once a tree in a school play. 

This information doesn’t add any value to how I intent to become a tree in the afterlife, but I couldn’t resist a mention of my early thespian successes in case a Hollywood casting director reads this.

First some verse…..

deep roots

When I die, she said, I’m coming back as a tree with deep roots & I’ll wave my leaves at the children every morning on their way to school & whisper tree songs at night in their dreams. Trees with deep roots know about the things children need. (with thanks to the amazing Brian Andreas at StoryPeople)

– – – – –

At some point, hopefully well into the future, I’ll meet my Creator.

Ultimately it becomes our turn to leave friends and family behind and head off on our next cosmic journey.

Rather than leave the administration and expense of a burial or cremation to our survivors who are in some grief already, we can plan ahead and make suitable arrangements for our own affairs.

If you want to be buried, plan for that.  But remember that many cities are running out of burial space so one day you may end up as foundation material for a block of flats or something equally heinous.

My mum paid for her own cremation in advance as did Phylipa’s dad, a gesture much appreciated by surviving family members

Although they may not realise it at the time, when people shed a tear after someone dies, that tear is not there because the deceased person is missed – it’s caused entirely by the empty space he or she left behind in the lives of those remaining.

The recently departed has merely returned home, so we should be celebrating that instead of feeling sorry for ourselves.

Worth remembering: when a female body is cremated the only thing that does not melt are the breast implants.  

Just saying.

Oh and any mercury in your teeth will evaporate into the environment. Maybe you shouldn’t buy a house downwind from a crematorium.

Years ago my former colleagues in Colonial India would gather for a curry lunch and some cold beers in Mumbai at someone’s house on a Sunday. The residential properties on Malabar Hill where these lunches took place had one drawback – vultures feasting on the carcasses of the Parsi dead laid to rest at the nearby Doongerwadi forest would sometimes fly over a property and drop human bones into the garden.

In the Zoroastrian religion corpses were exposed to the rays of the sun on their ‘Towers of Silence’ where they were consumed by birds of prey – vultures, kites and crows.

Zoroastrians viewed burying or cremating the dead as polluting nature but this practice no longer takes place.

What have I decided on when my ‘number’ is up? 

I used to think being knocked down by a speeding red Ferrari at 2am after an awesome party would do the trick, but it’s a bit messy and not much fun for my family.

Definitely NO to a burial in a cemetery; nor do I want to be scattered on the first tee of St Andrews Golf Course, especially as there are so many better options these days with the ‘green’ tag to them.

These days you can spend a fortune and have your ashes (now called ‘cremains’) dug into the roots of a sequoia or a redwood tree.  No markers are allowed but it’ll still cost you a few thousand $$$$.

There are cheaper trees to scatter cremains beside; even tree stumps are popular but what’s happening is that corporations are buying forests to charge you afterlife  “storage”.

So here are a few options to think about:

  1. A Living Urn is a bio-system urn for the cremated remains of people and pets.  One advantage is that you can mix grandad’s ashes (merely an example!) with the mix provided and every time you see the tree that grows from the urn, his memory is present.   And you can move home taking granddad with you.

2.  A Legend Urn is similar and ventures into other options such as adding the ashes to jewellery and other accessories so you can wear grandad to parties and other social events.

3.  A CapsuleAmundi  Interesting as cremation now becomes an option. It’s a biodegradable human seed pod.  In the smaller pods you can place the ashes; in the larger ones the body of the deceased is carefully positioned into the pod, buried in the ground and a tree grows up from the capsule.

There’s a great line in the website “…our team has been working to raise awareness and to promote the idea, fully convinced that before changing laws, we need to challenge the way people think.” 

Needless to say there may be local laws to negotiate but there’s nothing to stop you placing grandad’s ashes in a pot in your home from which a small tree grows.

In Scotland you can scatter ashes anywhere with the permission of the landowner but it’s a poor way to commemorate someone by turning them into a bio-hazard – the phosphate in the ashes could upset the ecology. 

The risk of upsetting team supporters and golfers is why football grounds and golf courses are reluctant to let you scatter ashes over the turf.

Given the medical shenanigans going on around the world these days over viruses, maybe it’s a good idea to plan ahead as our friend did.

Succumbing to cancer she arranged for her 5 best friends to each receive a teddy bear with her ashes divided, wrapped and placed inside it.

Created in 2013 and still travelling

Graeme Dinnen

Last Wish

I don’t care what you do when I’m gone, he told us. Just don’t bury me where the dog can find me.(Brian Andreas)

Leave a Reply