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CMS: Burials
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In this episode:

If you're not going for a traditional casket, what are your options?


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49:30 minutes (23.76 MB)
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A confession. This is not my favorite topic in the world.

Mike Wallace once asked Woody Allen if the latter hoped to live on in the hearts and memories of his fans. "No," said Allen. "I hope to live on in my apartment." That's right about where I am too. The only burial custom I find at all personally intriguing is the Tibetan "sky burial" or "jhator" in which the body is sliced open and left on a mountainside for the birds to eat. And when I say birds, I mean vultures. And when I say vultures if mean a species of vulture called the Eurasian Griffon. And the more I read about the jhator  the less enchanted I am by it. Still, if it could happen in the wilderness area outside Sedona, that would be nice.

There's certainly no room for me in the cemetery where my parents now lie, and that's the reason for today's show. In the crowded northeast, what happens to the idea of burial?

You can join the conversation. Leave your comments below or e-mail [email protected].

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Listener E-mail from Grace

Many churches now offer burial or scattering of cremains right on church property, often in a memorial garden.  My Wethersfield United methodist is one, as well as the Episcopal Ch on Sigourney St in Hartford (that one is large with a huge list of inscribed names and dates on a plaque), the Epis ch in Wethersfield and many others.  There on no restrictions on disposal of cremains on private property.   One of our more recent "burials" was of the unclaimed cremains of a homeless man, and of a couple who died several years ago whose family seemed to be anxious for a permanent place that offered some sense of decorem.  We insists on no container unless it is biodegradable.  Each is allotted 1 sq foot,  the first down 18" allowing for another at 12" and another at 6" so not much space is needed.  We ask for $250 that goes into the garden fund.  In summary, it is cheap, environmentally friendly, convenient if part of a church service, easier to schedule since cremains can be stored indefinitely until Aunt Gladys can arrive from wherever, and comforting to Christains when a loved one literally becomes part of your church property forever.

Listener E-mail from Kip

Please ask whether there is any Old Testament alternative to coffins and cremation. I can't stand the thought of being chemically preserved and encased in a box for millenia and while cremation is closer to returning dorectly to the "Universe" or Nature, it still chemically modifies the essence of what you were. So, is is possible to have a more natural "processing" of your remains and what would that look like? I'll be recent moviegoers are thinking alike as Avatar shows a much more natural relationship to death then what we currently practice.