The Goldwater recently covered a story about the new law in California regarding liquefication of corpses as a more affordable choice than cremation. For some folks, the idea of liquefication or even cremation is more than a little distasteful. In the case of California's new law, I can definitely understand the need and purpose of allowing a cheap means of <a href="http://www.thegoldwater.com/news/9846-Dead-Bodies-Now-Liquefied-Legally-In-California">taking care of remains.</a> It was suggested by one of our editors, Major Burdock, that I ask my mom about her reasons, so here we go.
I'm glad I asked, because I found out she at least won't be lying face down in Knoxville Tennessee's outdoor forensics laboratory, "The Body Farm."
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Keynote speaker <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/seaallmemories?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#seaallmemories</a>: the UT Body Farm guy in Knoxville, who brought pictures. Best. Keynote. Ever. <a href="https://t.co/LFlObjzSLk">pic.twitter.com/LFlObjzSLk</a></p>— sweetlibrarian (@sweetlibrarian) <a href="https://twitter.com/sweetlibrarian/status/848154496127705089?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 1, 2017</a></blockquote>
My mom explained that the one of the primary reasons was to advance medicine. The option of disposal via study at the Body Farm was offered, but my sister wasn't comfortable with it (either, I should say). Sorry, I don't know about you, but the idea of my mom face down in a pile of dead leaves and dung beetles is slightly disturbing. What follows is my mother's explanation of her primary reasons for donating her body to science.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">There's been documentaries about the Knoxville body farm. They do a lot for forensic science and training for ME's. Even how insects react.</p>— Levi K. Belcher (@Kevin_Belcher) <a href="https://twitter.com/Kevin_Belcher/status/863185572394926080?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 13, 2017</a></blockquote>
I could claim my #1 reason for donating my body is the 'advancement of science' as the organization I am pre donated to advertises. (I'm assuming I'm to be used as a cadaver for beginning medical paractitioners. Here's hoping I don't change a brilliant future doctor's mind as they lose lunch on my account.) Although it makes me hapy to know I will be of some small use in this way, it's probably #3.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Brilliant look into the ARF (body farm) at Knoxville by <a href="https://twitter.com/stephenfry?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@stephenfry</a> for anyone who wants to learn more! <a href="https://t.co/Ucy9FbYwqg">https://t.co/Ucy9FbYwqg</a></p>— HTF4UK (@HTF_4_UK) <a href="https://twitter.com/HTF_4_UK/status/831480588645326848?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 14, 2017</a></blockquote>
The main reason is that money is for the living. Funerals are expensive. Any I have left is to bless the living, in particular my children. C.S. Lewis said, "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." It is a vehicle. Noone buries their old Ford and visits it regularly to decorate it with flowers.
I understand each has a way of honoring those passed and am respectful of their desires and traditions. As a preacher's daughter, the spirit was focused on and yet I saw the Protestant funeral traditions where they made such a big deal of the body. Dress it up, put makeup on it, fix its hair… so mourners and passers by could comment on "How natural they look", "So at peace". It felt incongruous. They are at peace, but that's not them anymore.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">"When I die, I think I'll donate my body to science"<br><br>"Why"<br><br>"It's the only way I'll get into med school"</p>— rachie (@rachieliu) <a href="https://twitter.com/rachieliu/status/920835337571536896?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 19, 2017</a></blockquote>
If you can't tell me I look nice or bring me flowers while I am inhabiting my body, son't show up to my funeral trying to impress my carcass. I don't want my children to be the item of gossip around Decoration Day. Little old ladies down at the Dollar Store whispering, "They don't even put flowers on their poor mama's grave". I prefer to be memorialized in other ways. Buy a struggling family some groceries. Take the flowers to an old folks home and visit with someone who is alone. Buy a homeless guy a meal… or even a beer, if that's wht he wants.
All those graveyards could be playgrounds or homeless shelters in my opinion, but I don't expect to convert those who feel the traditional is sacred. There is a section on the paperwork that gives me the opportunity to be of use as cadaver for law enforcement. Forensics! I would be honored whether being dissected by future surgeon or acting as insect habitat in order to catch bad guys. My children found that one disturbing, so I didn't check, but maybe one day they will realize it's just a body as their mom is free and truly at peace!
No public uncomfortable mourning with strangers for my children. They can surround themselves with supporters of their own choosing. So the best thing about it is that it spares my children in so many ways and blesses them as well. Being free its a win-win. They even send my family 6 death certificates free of charge and my cremated remains, if desired, with a letter of gratitude.
BTW, I really like the idea of my ashes becoming a tree, haha…