A Book and a Funeral

I just finished reading Caitlin Doughty's book, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: and Other Lessons form the Crematory" this afternoon and I really enjoyed it.  Because of my own inquiry into death professions, I've read a ton of books about death.  One look at the top row of my bookshelf and you might think I'm a little weird. Really, I'm not. (Okay, that's debatable.) But I do think the contemplation of death is important.  As is talking about it.

On to the book...While a "behind the scenes peek into the funeral business" is not groundbreaking in its premise, it differs from Thomas Lynch's "The Undertaking" or Sherri Booker's "Nine Years Under" in that Doughty believes we should remove the middleman altogether and take care of our own dead.  It's well written, it's humorous, it's heartfelt, but she lost me at the taking care of my dead part.  If you don't know me, let me explain. I'm the kind of person who would rather pay a nice lady to scrub my feet and clip my toenails (while I read a trashy magazine) to avoid dealing with the disgustingness of my own toe-jammy, calloused tootsies.  I think I'm not alone in this. It's not that I'm death or dead body averse, it's just that I don't want to wash and dress a dead person, especially someone I love. Thankfully, there are professionals for that.  And I will pay them.  Generously.

I do agree with her on the embalming, makeup applying ridiculousness of a burial, but unlike her, I don't want my body left out for animals to devour.  I have a hard enough time when I catch my dog Shelton rooting around in the litter box for a "tootsie roll."

There's the Poo Muncher.

If you're into learning about death and want a book that's a conversation starter, check out her book!

Speaking of death, I am attending a funeral this Saturday.  I didn't know the deceased very well, but what I did know of her, I seriously respected.  I've attended several funerals since I hit my forties.  The idea of a funeral service used to fill me with anticipatory grief and anxiety, but now I look at them as opportunities to celebrate someone's life and to perhaps provide some measure of comfort to those still living.  

Thanks for stopping by and if you feel so inclined, vote in my burial vs. cremation poll at the bottom of my front page.