Interview I'm most looking forward to listening to online: Terry Gross talking to Mark Harris
, the author of Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial.
I am so fascinated by burial practices. I've always been super freaked-out by the idea of being buried after I'm gone. I'm all about the cremation.
There is a crematory garden at the church I grew up attending. The design is based on a circular garden my mom designed for our house. Anyway, when the garden was created, when I was in middle school or high school, I somehow got it in my head that the people's ashes would be scattered in and around the garden, not buried. It was a really cute little cloistered garden, with boxwood bushes (my favorite) surrounding a circular patch of grass with a birdbath in the middle. But not once did I set foot on that grass-- I didn't want to walk on the ashes of the dead people I thought were scattered there. I stuck to the flagstone path, and shuddered whenever I walked by.
My mom mentioned one day that, after she died, she wanted to be cremated and put in the crematory garden (cheerful conversation, right?). "Mom, I don't really want people tromping all over your ashes every day," I told her. "Can't we just get you a nice urn? I'll even put you on the mantle so we can talk to you, like our friends did with their dog. And their grandmother."
Mom explained that the ashes were buried in the corner of the garden, not scattered in the grass.
I felt like an ass.
I still don't like to walk over the grass in that garden, though.