I am sure that those, whoever they are, who run the universe have a policy that says should ever any mortal soul be tempted to blog about synchronicity, then we, said rulers of said universe, shall rise up as one and hit them with a startling example or two.
About six months ago a young friend of ours died of cancer, having previously made it known that when the time came he would like to have his ashes fired into space in a rocket. (By space I do not think he meant deep inter-stellar space, just up there.)
At the funeral directors' his parents were shown two albums, one of the various ways in which the deceased can be remembered - and one of the many methods of disposing of the ashes. And yes, being shot up into space in a rocket was one of them. (I actually heard the other day of a chap who thought he would like to become an egg-timer.) One option is to be made into a diamond. The ashes are subjected to great heat and pressure, replicating (as near as) the natural process. His parents are still waiting for it to be arranged - with air traffic control, perhaps. It has to be done at the coast, it seems, the rocket fired over the sea.
We happened to be talking about these things (as you do!) when, low and behold, in the readers' letters of Saturday's Guardian (I think in connection with Seamus Heaney's campaign to have Ted Hughes remembered in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey - it didn't seem to relate to any other article) six cartoon-type drawings with captions under the following heading:
In the event of my death I would like to be memorialised with (tick one box):
The six boxes were:
1 Small plaque
2 Heroic statue
3 Spooky tree
4 Colossal ziggurat
5 Haunted fruit machine (why haunted... anyone?)
6 Network of secret tunnels.
Some of you will know from a past post or two of my childhood obsession with secret tunnels, so I was rather tempted by that, but then I thought, well if they were really secret no one would know where I was or be able to visit me. So, no... and none of the others appeal in the slightest. So what to do? - and time is running out, no?
I have this obsession that funerals, burials and cremations, the scattering - or not - of the ashes, all that is for the mourners. It is all a part of the grieving process. I do not believe that the about-to-be-deceased should stick his - or her - nose in. But, they say, it's part of the grieving process for the family to feel that they are carrying out the deceased's wishes.
No one's pressing me, you understand. I've not been given a deadline... thing is, I've just had this one moment of inspiration: an artist to be commissioned to paint a landscape, an artist who works with a thick impasto of paint. My ashes to be mixed in with the paint. My version of scattering them across The South Downs... even better, a seascape!
Still, I'd be grateful for any other bright ideas, just in case the guy with the scythe says all of a sudden, "Hey, fella' me lad, it's make yer mind up time!"
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