Home Forums Challenges Preparing for the Worst Decluttering the end of your life…

This topic contains 31 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  anitamojito 8 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #159171

    jbeany
    Member

    Okay, so the CNA spam had me wondering how they were tying hospice care into uncluttering, at least until I started to read it. But that led me off on a tangent of how it really could be an uncluttered process. When I compare my un-funeral plans with some of the funerals I’ve been to, I realize I have already uncluttered mine. My plans are: no obit, no casket, no funeral, no preacher, no eulogy, no flowers, no singing, and no burial. My original instructions included “Leave me out at the curb with the rest of the trash.” but I settled on cremation, scattering the ashes someplace pretty, and hosting an Irish wake with plenty of food and booze.
    So much easier to organize, and really, who needs a $5,000 trash box to be buried in? It’s not like I’m going to need it in the long run!

  • #182296

    happymonkey
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    I really wish people would reconsider the whole burial thing. The thought of all those caskets buried in the earth is just mind boggling. Cremation allows your remains to become one with the earth — not to get all new-agey here — but all those boxes crowded underground everywhere just seem so cluttery and unnecessary.

  • #182297

    ninakk
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    There’s a Finnish company that produces eco coffins from recycled cardboard or untreated wood to name two materials. http://www.arkku.info/

    I’ve been thinking about this chapter in more than one way, both my paper war (it needs to be as simple as possible for my family to deal with) and the arrangements around my death. I know I want cremation and would like to have an eco coffin in which it would happen. No need to fancy it up the wrong way, because as they say earth I will become again.

  • #182298

    Ella
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    I’ve scattered ashes twice… my mother and my best friend. It is emotionally difficult. For one thing, the ashes aren’t soft and uniform… they are gritty and there are bits of whole bone. The act of scattering is a solemn ritual, and it made me feel the finality and the mighty force of death. We did not feel up to having a jolly wake afterward.

  • #182300

    ninakk
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    Re: scattering ashes. It’s really difficult to get permission to scatter ashes in Finland, but if you’re cremated your urn goes into the soil the same way as a coffin and you have the similar type of stone too. This is partly due to space issues in the capital area, but I prefer being cremated anyway.

  • #182309

    irishbell
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    Ella, that had to be rough. I don’t think I could’ve spread my mom’s ashes those few months ago. her ashes (and my dad when his time come)are in the columbarium outside their church. after the service dad, sis,bro and I went outside with the pastor and had a short prayer. it was intimate and perfect.then we had a party for family andfriends at their condo. it was no jolly Irish affair, though.
    I believe the services/memorials are for those who are left behind and mourning.I don’t believe they’re on their way out anytime soon.

  • #182314

    ninakk
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    Seriously, I don’t know what I was thinking (nothing) when I wrote that previous comment. I meant to start with the same as irishbell did, to say that it can’t have been easy and offer some kind words, but instead I jumped directly to facts. Sorry, Ella, didn’t mean to belittle your experience!

  • #182316

    Ella
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    ninakk: No worries – no belittlement taken πŸ™‚ We didn’t ask anyone for permission to scatter the ashes. We did it at the edge of a small lake for one, and in the ocean’s waves for the other, exactly as they had requested in their final wishes. The ashes poured out like a gray ribbon and made a soft fizzling sound and then vanished.

  • #182321

    Jude2004
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    I wrote eulogies for my dad and three of my grandparents. One of my major talents is writing, and that was a way to express what those people meant to me and to others. My brother and I also sang at two of my grandparents’ funerals. Those are the only two times I’ve ever sung with my brother. My grandmother had requested a non-traditional (i.e., non-religious) song which my mother didn’t feel was appropriate. My brother and I sang it as a duet. Anyway, it’s up to your survivors what they do for a funeral, even if you leave explicit instructions. So if people like you, they might have one whether you want it or not.

  • #182330

    luxcat
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    jbeany- reading your “final instructions” was exactly like reading mine! Upon considering the whole tactile issue of ash-scattering however maybe I should ammend it to say “cremate me then chuck me overboard in a biodegradable bag”

    cremation is discouraged in some religions I know. there were no options to cremate my father in the small rural area where he lived because there just was not any demand for a crematorium due to religious constraints of the majority of the population. The Eco-box sounds like a good alternative in those cases.

  • #182335

    bandicoot
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    i am destined to be a donation to medical science.

  • #182336

    Claycat
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    What a macabre and sort of funny topic!

    When my MIL went to assisted living, she left the ashes of husbands 1 & 2 here in the house. When we moved in, I realized there were two sets of ashes to deal with. Well, some of the step-kids had taken some of the ashes for husband #2, so you might say he’s sort of scattered all over the country. I guess you could say he’s resting in pieces. πŸ™‚

    I took the ashes of husband #1 and dumped them over the fence onto the farm property that he loved. It had already been sold, so I had to hide behind a bush to dump his ashes. I put the ashes for husband #2 out under the trees on this property, because this was where they were living when he died.

    My mother has my father’s ashes. She wants their ashes to be put together on the nearby mountain. So, I guess we will all be out hiking after my mother’s time comes. She used to tell her students that, after she dies and the wind is blowing in west Texas, the dust particle in their eyes might be their old teacher.

  • #182337

    susique
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    @Claycat: been logging on to unclutterer for quite a while, posted a few times, but have never felt so connected to anyone as much as to you. you have touched my heart and soul so many times with your thoughts, not just because you have mentioned new mexico where i live, but you are so true to life. have felt so many of the things you write about. love reading all your posts.

    about ashes, the only time my mom stayed overnight at my home after i moved to live near her was when she spent the night in a cardboard box in the guest room before we took her ashes to the cemetery. we took her there because her mom and dad and her husband where there.
    really loved what you did with your family’s ashes. you made it beautiful.

  • #182341

    pkilmain
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    I have a friend whose DH died suddenly at age 61. She had a memorial service, but had him cremated (they had discussed this, though didn’t expect to need it so soon), and put the ashes into a number of small containers. Then she, her 2 children, and various friends scattered the ashes at all the places he loved to hike or canoe. We took our share to a number of places he loved when he visited Alaska.

  • #182345

    Claycat
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    Thank you, susique! That is so sweet! I was worried that I was being a little irreverent, so I really appreciate your words. πŸ™‚

    I don’t know if you are familiar with U2’s beautiful song called God’s Country, but that is how I feel about New Mexico. I am a native Texan, but mi querencia is New Mexico, so I have asked my husband to take my ashes to New Mexico, if I should die first.

  • #182352

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    Ahhhh, the clutter of remains!

    One of my DH’s favorite uncles died a year or two after we were married. Although we weren’t living nearby at the time, we eventually ended up with his ashes and, if I remember correctly, some vague yet complicated wishes about where they were to be scattered. It was really more than DH could cope with. Uncle Paul has been resting in peace in our garage for about 18 years — except for the hole in the box where the raccoons got to him. Creeps me out.

    DH’s mother started a similar list of where she wanted her remains eventually scattered — all over the country, including by the side of a now dried-up lake in Wisconsin, both Atlantic and Pacific oceans and on the 50 yard line of a high school football stadium. It ain’t gonna happen.

  • #182354

    ninakk
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    @susanintexas: I don’t mean this in a judgemental way at all, but that type of a wish is rather pricey and I could understand it only if a person would testament money to those who are to perform such an All-American scattering, to cover travelling costs I mean. Actually it’s rather impressive really, come to think of it! Be happy it’s only within one country, LOL.

    And the comment about sand in my eye, HAHA! Cool. Cracked me up. We’re all going to die and first I thought of this as one truly macabre thread just like Claycat mentioned, but on the other hand it’s been concluded that today’s people don’t talk about death enough and it’s not part of an average culture in the West. First time I flinched a bit was while reading on how to deal with the on-line aftermath, what instructions to leave for family; I’d like for you guys to know that my plane fell down or I was crushed underneath a bus while biking, not that I chose to go all silent just because. You know?

  • #182362

    djk
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    this thread is certainly macabre–and so timely for me. This whole year I have been pondering my own mortality in the most cheerful and pragmatic way imaginable–in fact, this issue has arisen as a byproduct of my decluttering.

    The topic does creep me out a little, but I think only because it is seldom talked about until one Has To Refer To It In Hushed Tones and by then so many emotions are involved.

    Human mortality is 100%, yet we all are so shocked that it should happen.

    for a highbrow touch, “of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come”
    (gold star to the first person to name the speaker, hee hee)

  • #182364

    ninakk
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    @djk: It sounds like Gandalf. I recently watched the trilogy once again and it is full of wisdom.

  • #182365

    Netleigh
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    @susanit, thanks for the humorous tale about Uncle Paul resting in your garage. I will endeavor to encourage dh to scatter F-i-L, currently in his plastic jar in the study, before 18 years go by.
    However, to continue lowering the tone of reverence towards how we treat our nearest and dearest’s remains, I will tell of an alternative option that is being done here in the UK.
    When we were arranging the cremation of F-i-L the funeral director asked if we needed the ashes separated. I was confused by this question and asked why? Her response was that we could have some of the ashes turned into fireworks or artificial gemstones, and then she had to comment that my face was a picture because of the look of horror it had on it. She’d already worked out we were down to earth about the whole thing. I just wasn’t aware you could do these things but on further thought going out with a really big firework display could be a good method of scattering.

  • #182366

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    Cowards die many times before their deaths, etc. — it’s from Julius Cesar. They use it a lot at military funerals. Gimme the star.

    Ninakk — no judgment taken — I’m the one who’s being judgmental! My MIL is a very nice woman and doesn’t mean to cause trouble, but if she wants her remains scattered, knowing her son, they will be scattered by raccoons in our garage, not on the shores of a lake a thousand miles north of here.

  • #182367

    jbeany
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    @irishbell – we’ve done Irish wakes for family members already. I don’t know that I’d call them jolly, exactly. They were done separately, after the traditional, preacher-led service at church. To me, they seemed a lot more genuine than the church service. We drank, shared our best memories, and laughed while we were crying. Having an entire bar full of good friends, raising my Dad’s favorite drink in a toast to his memory, felt like a real way to honor him, compared to a speech by a preacher who had barely spoken to him while he was alive.

  • #182368

    ninakk
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    Ugh, I really need to start reading all those oldies that I have on my e-reader… Two for Shakespeare already, wow.

  • #182378

    djk
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    heh. and the award goes to…(twirl daintily, SIT, it’s your glory)

    I would like cremation for expediency. But fireworks? that is not going gentle into that good night (silver stars being handed out for this one) and it is an interesting option.
    what about the gemstones? really? you can WEAR your loved ones? There is no space in my head for that. Must ponder. Right now am only coming up with bugs in amber.

  • #182380

    jbeany
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    Well you can have a “symbolic portion” of your ashes shot into space or dropped on the moon, now, too. So after choosing an eco-friendly cremation, you can completely undo the effort to *ahem* “go green” by using up a boat-load of rocket fuel!

  • #182387

    SunshineR
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    Well, I already told DBF not to put me in an urn on a shelf somewhere. And he doesn’t wear jewelry, so I am not going to be a gemstone, either. I think I would like to be scattered in the woods at camp, where the white trillium (wildflowers) and ferns grow.

  • #182391

    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    As atheists, my husband and I would prefer a simple secular ceremony for friends and family. Unfortunately both our mothers are religious and would want a ceremony in a church if we pre-deceased them. If, as Jude 2004 says, the ceremony/wake is for those left behind, I suppose their wishes would need to be considered. It is less likely that this will happen, so maybe I am cluttering up my day even thinking about it!

    By the way, I saw an ad on the internet where people could have their pet’s ashes made into gems. I love my cat, but is this a step too far?

  • #182392

    SunshineR
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    My own personal comfort zone would not include wearing ashes or gems of a loved person or pet. If someone else wants to, fine; I just wouldn’t want to hear frequent verbal reminders from them.

    I am most comfortable with photos and happy memories. The longer I live, the less clutter I want.

  • #182408

    Sky
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    I have such issues with the whole funeral/burial process. It is the worst ordeal I’ve ever been through. Losing a loved one is hard enough without this public ritual.

    I will be cremated and I would like my family and close friend to get together and raise a glass of wine to my life as they scatter my ashes.

    I have my paperwork in order so my family won’t have a mess to deal with and hopefully, I will be fully declutterd so my sons will have a easy time settling my estate.

  • #182413

    Stacia
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    For those who are not interested in cremation or donating their body to science, you may want to look into natural burials. There are various sites around the US that do natural burials.

    This link describes natural burials:
    http://naturalburial.coop/about-natural-burial/

  • #182418

    susique
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    @Claycat: that is so funny. I grew up in texas and moved to new mexico after many years to bring my husband and family here to care for my parents. it was actually hubby’s idea to come here. we have talked about s final resting place and he does not care. I love the thought of being scattered to the wind, and we have many winds here in nm. but also, mom and dad and grandparents are at ft bliss and hubby is a veteran. cannot get him to make a decision, so maybe plan to toss it to the wind. lived many years in the southeast and visited the cemeteries in new orleans, so sad that they were ravaged by the waters of Katrina. the winds and sands or mountains of new mexico are so peaceful, although i am aware a legal document is needed.

  • #182440

    anitamojito
    Member

    Decluttering the end of your life…

    When my grandmother died, we discovered she gave my family the one last, thoughtful gift by having already planned and paid for her funeral. She also left us all the information we’d need regarding her estate, and everything was in perfect order. It made us feel so loved and cared for. We knew exactly what she wanted and she’d made it very easy for us to carry out her wishes. To me, that’s an uncluttered death – no unnecessary difficulty or confusion for the survivors. The only decisions we had to make were little ones, like what she’d be wearing when she was buried. We sent her out in a sparkly, sequined formal gown because she was so much fun. πŸ™‚ Everyone at the wake agreed it was so her!

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