Saturday, April 1, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 8

My husband and I met with an attorney this week to create a new will since our last one was done in 1987. While that document is certainly sufficient in most respects, I doubt that anyone would be able to easily find the executor. He was a trusted friend of ours at the time, but moved to Texas a couple decades ago. I have no idea where he is at now, or if he's even alive as we lost touch a long time ago. Since death is on my mind, it seems appropriate for this week's story to relate to it on some level.

Do you know where you’d like to be laid to rest one day? Will you be buried near relatives and ancestors, or in the place you lived most of your life (if the two are different)?

Being laid to rest - isn't that an interesting turn of phrase? Since you are dead, you aren't really resting. At any rate, my husband and I have talked extensively about this. My parents are buried in a cemetery 350 miles away from where we live. His parents have their funerals planned and their cemetery plots paid for up in Minnesota. We never considered being buried in either of those locations. To me the point of having a gravestone is for those you leave behind, to visit, grieve and pay their respects. I think it made a lot of sense when families lived and died in the communities in which they had been born. Our children live far away, and we don't even know where we will end up living following retirement, so it makes no sense to pre-pay funeral or burial expenses in our city.

The other consideration for us is that we have worked in the "green" industry for over 20 years, so we are very sensitive to sustainability. Cemeteries are not necessarily the best use of land, though the owners are paying more attention to environmental issues these days. Cremation and green burials come to mind, and certainly cremation is the route we will both choose to go. We just haven't come to any decision about what will be done with our cremains. Maybe keeping them in an urn makes the most sense because then they will be portable. For now, it is enough to know that we both wish to be cremated.

While the environmentalist in me knows that cremation without a burial plot is the right thing to do, the genealogist in me cringes a bit. Burial records and tombstones are sometimes the only proof you can find that an ancestor lived and died. What is the replacement when someone is cremated? Will the funeral homes share these records as they often share burial records? It is something that gives me pause, for sure. It won't prevent me from being cremated, but my inner genealogist will shed a little tear.

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