My parents didn’t want to have a funeral. They didn’t want an obituary printed or posted. I recall hearing the first inklings of those requests about ten years before Dad’s death, when they approached their 60th wedding anniversary. As Dad’s dementia became more evident in the ensuing years, the “inklings” were fixed in the cement of Mom’s answers to my occasional questions.
No fuss, please. Their remaining friends were old. It would be a burden for them to attend any service. And anyhow, Mom calmly, bluntly added . . . many friends are already dead. One of the few changes that occurred in their later years involved Dad’s willingness to be cremated. Until I was in my thirties, Dad’s rare comments about death emphasized a belief that Christians should be buried. Though he may not have quoted the New Testament to me, at certain points I read passages such as, “For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (I Thessalonians 4:16.) If you’re cremated, Dad figured, how can you “rise” from the dead? But his thoughts, his faith, would shift. Given his sensibilities, maybe he learned it was cheaper to be cremated. More likely, his youthful, literal notions about Biblical mandates evolved into an “all things were possible” view about God . . . that even the cremated would be in line at the pearly gates. Read More →by