Posted 09.14.08

LONGMONT, COLORADO | Ever since I reached the age of 72, I've been wrestling with the issue of how to dispose of my "carrying case" -- e.g., my body after I die.

As an Air Force brat the idea of a "family burial plot" is beyond my ken. My parents are buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, one set of grandparents and an aunt are buried in Fremont, Michigan, and my second set of grandparents are buried in Rockford, Illinois along with assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins. It's also a good bet that my ex-husband and I will not be resting in his family's Iowa plot, side-by-side for all eternity.

After much consideration I thought about the places I've lived during my life and tried to settle on a locale that would be congenial. I lived in such disparate places as St. Louis, Missouri (too humid), Wichita Falls, Texas (too hot), Miami Beach, Florida, (wonderfully aromatic), Annandale, Virginia (too crowded), Wiesbaden, Germany (too far away).

For a long while I thought I would like a burial site in Boulder, Colorado, somewhere beneath a shady tree. I would leave instructions to have my casket specially fitted out: a glass window, a small fan for ventilation, and a shelf I could sit on. My plan was to have my casket put upright in the ground so I could see out and keep an eye on things. I finally dismissed that idea as too macabre, even for Boulder.

One morning, as I lay in bed mulling things over, it occurred to me that my main problem with a traditional burial is I can't stand the idea of being sealed up in a box and put underground with six feet or so of dirt on top of me. It was as though my escape would be thoroughly thwarted were I have to any such plans. (I guess I'm a product of too many 1940s horror movies.)

The solution, I decided, was to be cremated. As I expect to live to the ripe old age of ninety-five I figure not too many people will be around to attend my funeral. And of those who might still be around how many would be hale enough to attend the grand and glorious service I want to have? Not too many, if I were to be totally realistic. And how sad would it be if I gave a party and no one bothered to show up?

My grand plan now is really much simpler. After my cremation my daughters can take my ashes and distribute them in south Florida -- along the beach that I loved as a child, under a fragrant flower bed, beneath a coconut palm, or on the open sea -- anywhere they think I might be happy.

So, if at some future date you happen to be visiting Florida and hear a contented sigh in the wind, know it is I happily cavorting among the waves, scooping up grains of sand, and wallowing in the heady aroma of tropical flowers. I will have finally come home.

Mary Campisi Ferree is a fomer US Air Force brat, now living in Coloroado.

Copyright © 2008 Mary Ferree/Log Cabin Chronicles/09.08