CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Word Count: 673
Cremation or burial? Talk about funeral arrangements.
In the graveyard of the small Greek orthodox oriented church I have been to all my life, there are three graves bearing my last name. The grave of my mother Martha, the grave of my father David and the grave of my wife, Michelle. They each have a headstone designed by the same man, and there is one by him stored away in the funeral home that directed the cremations of my parents and wife, already bearing my name and my date of birth. That man is already dead, so by the time I die, his protégée, or the apprentice of stonework that follows after him, will chisel in the date of my death and thus the stone will be erected to sit at the head of my grave. My aunt already has a gravestone for herself, and there is a plot next to my parents for her. When we all die, there we all will be, cremated and buried underground in urns of something similar. My aunt, my mother, my father, my wife, myself. All dead, all cremated, all buried, taking up such reduced space than the amount we occupied while living.
The bodies of Egyptian pharaohs were once preserved with all manners of substances and mummified. Their organs were cut out and put into jars, and they were buried with the most holy reverence of their servants and followers so that they may lead a good afterlife. When I die, when my parents died, when my wife died, the body is placed into a coffin, a service is held, and then it is burnt at a high temperature in a large chamber, fuelled by a roaring fire. What doesn’t burn may be ground down into dust, and what remains thereafter is placed in a container. All the life and worth of a person once they are cremated, equals only so much weight, and that eventually is buried or set free, wherever. In death, people are given to the Earth and left to rot in the dirt that creates around them, their new and most eternal hiding place.
My parents were perhaps ahead of their time in wanting to be cremated, but that is of no concern. The fact was, they were reduced to ashes and they were buried with their own headstones left to watch over them. Instead of their bodies being followed many years later by that of my aunt, and then myself and whomever I chose to marry, it was followed to soon, for my liking, by my wife. What lies now in the ground are the burnt remains of the three people in life who I loved, the three people in my life who I loved and who were murdered for who they were, what they had done, and who they might have been associated with, or what they might have seen. If I am not murdered at the hands of the many criminals I have helped be sent to jail, if my aunt is not murdered by one of the many enemies and ill wishers I have, then we will be the only people in my relevant and known family to die not by the injuries caused by some horrible and cruel external force. While it makes very little difference to me, and to the way I lead my life, even I am aware that the lives of my parents and wife should not have ended as they did. They were not bad people, and while it was their choice to be burnt to ashes in death, as it will be the choice of myself and my aunt to be cremated and buried, it was not their choice to be murdered.
I will be cremated, my aunt will be cremated, and my mother, father and wife were cremated because it will be, and was, our choice. The way I see it, it is efficient, rapidly decomposing the body via fire, and reducing its entire mass down to a very compact weight of dust and dry, brittle remains.