Cremation or Burial?

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slightlydead
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Cremation or Burial?

Postby slightlydead » Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:48 am UTC

Recently, I have had this weird urge to write drafts of my will. It's been fun doing inventory of my stuff and considering what goes to who and etc, but I've suddenly realized that I've also my body left as well. If I decide to donate organs, should I get a burial? Or would that be pointless? I can imagine the undertaker swearing as he or she measures out glass eyeballs to fit into my skull. Then giving me makeup so I look like some nice JC penny mannequin straight out of the uncanny valley.It sounds creepy. Not to mention expensive. Is it possible they can just bury my body in some ditch without a coffin and the manicure? Cremation on the other hand just evokes... pain. Yeah I know i'll be dead, but it still seems eerie to be put into some toaster oven with the setting on "extra burnt". What do you good folks think is the best way to dispose of our mortal shells?

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby EduardoLeon » Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:18 am UTC

I don't know what you will do, but I think I would put my body in good use if I left it to be eaten by animals. Why do I want to keep a body that I won't use? That would be selfish.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby rpgamer » Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:48 am UTC

It seems hard to find places to do natural burials, but they're around. Just stick you in a pine box, without the chemicals and crap.

Personally, just toss me out to sea, boys. I'd rather feed fish than worms.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby cleverdan » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:29 am UTC

I'm donating all the organs that anyone might find useful, and then donating the rest for pre-med students to observe at my local university. Does anyone know what happens to the bodies after they've been donated to science? Cremation?

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Mokele
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Mokele » Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:01 pm UTC

Does anyone know what happens to the bodies after they've been donated to science? Cremation?


Yes, they're cremated. Nothing else would really work - by the time our medical anatomy class is done with cadavers, they've been reduced to some limbs, scraps and isolated organs. Everything is kept though, every scrap of tissue (skin, fat, connective tissue, etc.), and it's all cremated. I don't think we even take any implants (pacemakers, stents, etc.) out prior to cremation.

At least at the medical school I TA in, it's usually between 1-3 years from death to cremation, depending on how many students and bodies we get in, though that might change soon once we have the new facilities built (allowing a 25% increase in enrollment). Some individuals who have no living relatives can allow longer, so we use them for intricately prepared example dissections.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby jahwn lemonjello » Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:29 pm UTC

I am definitly (sp) donating my body to medical science, people that just go for a straight burial without organ or body donation are quite selfish. It is easy to save a life with your death.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Mokele » Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:48 pm UTC

I am definitly (sp) donating my body to medical science, people that just go for a straight burial without organ or body donation are quite selfish. It is easy to save a life with your death.


Better be careful of how you die, then. Pretty much any illness can disqualify you as an organ donor, and any massive trauma (or being used as an organ donor) disqualifies you from body donation. There's a reason why almost all the cadavers in medical anatomy class are over 70 (most are in their 80's) and died from cancer or heart disease.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby crowey » Sun Oct 04, 2009 6:09 pm UTC

There's also body farms, where they put cadavers in various conditions/positions to examine how they decompose to help give better evidence to forensic investigations.
Chances are they'll take your body whatever condition it's in, since there's such a multitude of ways people can die/decompose.

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby MrGee » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:29 pm UTC

I'm going to have myself stuffed and mailed to somebody I dislike as a prank.

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby BlackSails » Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:07 am UTC

rpgamer wrote:It seems hard to find places to do natural burials, but they're around. Just stick you in a pine box, without the chemicals and crap.


Thats just about every jewish funeral. In israel they dont even use the box.

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Mokele » Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:36 am UTC

There's also Tibetan Sky Funerals (WARNING: Very graphic human dismemberment & being fed to vultures, plus a few porn adds on the sidebar)
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Vieto
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Vieto » Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:06 am UTC

I would suggest cyro-freezing.

Then you have a chance to become alive again in the future.

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby DSenette » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:59 pm UTC

Just stick you in a pine box, without the chemicals and crap.
this is surprisingly illegal in most places (public health codes etc..)

There's also body farms, where they put cadavers in various conditions/positions to examine how they decompose to help give better evidence to forensic investigations.
Chances are they'll take your body whatever condition it's in, since there's such a multitude of ways people can die/decompose.
the absolute best method IMO....after you've donated all the usable parts to science or as organ donations the leftovers still have a very valid use...you can get donation info here


even if you DO want to get buried after donating all your organs etc...there's no reason anyone at the mortuary would need to do anything fancy to your corpse at the end...just have a closed casket funeral..they can put you in the box naked for all they care
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby slightlydead » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:01 pm UTC

Note to self, never look at pictures of sky burials while eating lunch. On the other hand that would be a very nice way to dispose of my remains, (the vultures looked so cute!), but it would probably be illegal in the usa :D

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Wednesday » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:40 pm UTC

I'm going to opt for either donating my organs or donating my body to science. If they can do both, excellent. I'm keen on saving lives through death.

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby The Utilitarian » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:38 pm UTC

Why stick with the traditional methods.

Just become influencial enough to pull a Jeremy Bentham. Have it preserved and placed in a large display case, then your Auto Icon can continue to sit in on important board meetings! ^_^

I'm going with cremation, a spot on the mantel is a lot cheaper than a burial plot and headstone. Unless I'm extremely wealthy... then it's super extravagent headstone time!
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby M-x shell » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:33 pm UTC

EduardoLeon wrote:I don't know what you will do, but I think I would put my body in good use if I left it to be eaten by animals. Why do I want to keep a body that I won't use? That would be selfish.


No, selfish would be keeping something to yourself and using it. Locking something away so that no one can use it is just stupid. I find the way our society dotes on corpses both wasteful and incredibly creepy. That said, how we dispose of bodies doesn't matter much, since, aside from usable organs, they aren't very valuable.

As for the OP, I choose cryogenics. Spending large amounts of resources for a fleeting chance at resurrection - now that's selfish.

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:54 pm UTC

"Lead lined, every time."

Sorry, couldn't resist. Personally, I'm all for cremation, just so my surviving descendants can turn me into one of those huge diamonds made from the carbon in my ashes (I'm a big guy, it'll be a big diamond). I'm often surprised I have no objection to anything, really, post-mortem. If my friends are still alive, I will demand to be placed into a burning Viking longboat and shoved out into the middle of Trophy Lake. Something cool.

But no, I have nothing against medical science, or feeding the homeless, that sort of thing.

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby crowey » Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:05 am UTC

Mokele wrote:There's also Tibetan Sky Funerals (WARNING: Very graphic human dismemberment & being fed to vultures, plus a few porn adds on the sidebar)

I attended one of those when I lived in Nepal, grisly, but I really like the ethos of it. You can't bury people where the topsoil is so thin, wood is too rare to make a decent pyre. Makes sense in the Buddhist ideology to recycle your body into the world too.

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Eastwinn » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:30 am UTC

I'm all for either donating my body as whole to science, or donating my organs and being cremated. I'm just not interested in an elaborate funeral. To request one makes me feel like I'm being selfish. I'd rather that money be put towards something more useful. Sure, a funeral and grave is a way to keep your memory alive, but something as simple as a locket, a ring, or just a pair shoes kept forever could remind my love ones of me daily. That's all I really want.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby heydonms » Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:36 am UTC

Eastwinn wrote:Sure, a funeral and grave is a way to keep your memory alive


Personally I think it is a bit of a creepy way to keep someones memory alive. I would prefer for my family to remember me when thinking "That is where dad took us on a picnic" or "That is where we used to go boating" rather than "That is where we stuck his rotting carcass".

I think graves would tend to remind people of the funeral rather than the time when the person was alive.

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby JonBanes » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:52 am UTC

A good friend of mine recently had a brother die and he (and the rest of his family) are getting tattoos with some of his ashes in the ink

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Outchanter » Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:36 am UTC

If living forever isn't an option, can I get my remains converted to biofuel?

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby aurumelectrum13 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:38 am UTC

Big funeral. Wake the night before. Giant, two mile procession. Black horse-drawn carrige. Bagpipes. Paid mourners. Useful items left in the casket for me. Big sit down meal afterward. Most awesome looking head stone I can find. And after all this, I want my family to dance on my grave to club music. I've already started saving money for it/

A funeral is about the people left alive. I want my family to have a gigantic final event for my life, because I think that large funerals help the grieving process. It's a little selfish to deny your family a funeral.

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Madwolf » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:07 pm UTC

Graveyards are a giant, unneeded waste of space. I definitely want to be cremated (or donated to medical science, though ideally by the time Im dead they wont need real cadavers anymore :D )

Also, no urn on the mantle, please. Just mix me into the fertilizer for the nearest farm thanks. :)

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Mokele » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:24 pm UTC

though ideally by the time Im dead they wont need real cadavers anymore


Never going to happen short of Matrix-style direct brain uploads. The physical experience of dissection is something no learning program can ever really simulate.

You'd be amazed how much you rely on touch, especially once you're dissecting something as large as a human. Half the time I don't even need to look - I just shove my hand in and feel around. Connective tissue feels like those cheap halloween cobwebs, nerves feel like string cheese, arteries feel like rubber tubes, glands feel ... well, I can't really think of anything that feels like glands except glands.

I'll say one thing for sure, I'd never, ever trust a first-time surgeon who's never been inside an actual human body.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Weaver » Wed Oct 07, 2009 2:54 pm UTC

Certainly funeral rites are for those left behind - but that doesn't mean that the failure to conduct a large, elaborate burial is somehow unkind to the survivors, or doesn't allow them to grieve and recover properly.

My father dies on Aug. 25th, unexpectedly. The family gathered at my folks summer home in the Adirondack Mountains of NY State, and held a "Remembrance Ceremony" with extended family members and local friends. All us kids spoke a bit - rundown of Dad's bio, some poetry, some "I'll always remember Dad for ..." - then had a meal. Nothing religious at all - but even one professional minister said they thought it was one of the better send-offs they'd seen. The next morning the family gathered to spread Dad's ashes on one of our fields, where he can hopefully help the blueberries grow. Due to circumstances no organ donation was possible.

We all got together again in mid September at their home town, for a repeat with professional collegues and other friends. Same basic format, this time held at the fire hall where he was a member, plus reading a couple letters from some who couldn't attend (one announcing that IAU asteroid #96344 will be named after my father!), then a Fire Department tradition of ringing a bell, and a salute fired from the cannon of my brother's Civil War re-enactment group. Then a big meal :wink: , and talking to everyone. Again, no religion - but I heard from many friends and strangers that they thought it was a good way to send him off.

In the end, departure rites don't HAVE to depend on the question of cremation, burial, or other - except for the requirements of following already established procedures. But if you're willing to wing it you can still have a solemn, effective send-off no matter what's done with the corpse - and speaking personally, our family's way of doing it seems to be working out pretty well for us.

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Adalwolf » Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:06 pm UTC

I'm kind of split on this issue. I would like to be buried, with all my organs, thanks, somewhere where other than a sad cemetary. Somewhere where if people ever dig me up they will be confused as to why a body would be buried there.

The other part of me would like to burned on a pyre, again with all my organs. I've got plenty of time to decide, so I don't really think about it often.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Mokele » Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:22 pm UTC

with all my organs, thanks


Why? It's not like you're using them anymore.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby MrGee » Fri Oct 09, 2009 1:53 am UTC

Mokele wrote:
though ideally by the time Im dead they wont need real cadavers anymore


Never going to happen short of Matrix-style direct brain uploads. The physical experience of dissection is something no learning program can ever really simulate.

You'd be amazed how much you rely on touch, especially once you're dissecting something as large as a human. Half the time I don't even need to look - I just shove my hand in and feel around. Connective tissue feels like those cheap halloween cobwebs, nerves feel like string cheese, arteries feel like rubber tubes, glands feel ... well, I can't really think of anything that feels like glands except glands.

I'll say one thing for sure, I'd never, ever trust a first-time surgeon who's never been inside an actual human body.


Ooh! You're a surgeon? Is it like Grey's Anatomy?

Big funeral. Wake the night before. Giant, two mile procession. Black horse-drawn carrige. Bagpipes. Paid mourners. Useful items left in the casket for me. Big sit down meal afterward. Most awesome looking head stone I can find. And after all this, I want my family to dance on my grave to club music. I've already started saving money for it/

A funeral is about the people left alive. I want my family to have a gigantic final event for my life, because I think that large funerals help the grieving process. It's a little selfish to deny your family a funeral.


For an extra $300 you can super-size to the "pyramid" combo death.

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Mokele » Fri Oct 09, 2009 12:38 pm UTC

Ooh! You're a surgeon? Is it like Grey's Anatomy?


No, no, I'm one of the TAs for the medical school's gross anatomy course, so all the bodies are dead and preserved. But one of the first things we teach the med students is how to feel for differences in tissues. My surgical experience is limited to non-humans.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Adalwolf » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:03 pm UTC

Mokele wrote:
with all my organs, thanks


Why? It's not like you're using them anymore.


Because they're mine.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Decker » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:12 pm UTC

I don't know. I'd rather put them to some good use. Chop me up, take what you need, and...probably cremate the rest.

Then dump the ashes on someone I don't like.

Edit: In all seriousness though, I am a firm beliver in being efficient. If you can use parts of me that are just going to rot instead, then use them. Use my brain for research. Give a kidney to someone who needs it. My liver is pretty untainted. Bone Marrow? Sure. I don't need it anymore.

I would actually be more upset if I went to waste instead of being useful.

I'm kind of like an Igor in that respect.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Philwelch » Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:46 pm UTC

slightlydead wrote:Recently, I have had this weird urge to write drafts of my will. It's been fun doing inventory of my stuff and considering what goes to who and etc, but I've suddenly realized that I've also my body left as well.


Legal note: your preferences for how your remains should be handled don't go in your will. Wills aren't even processed until after your body is processed.

Vieto wrote:I would suggest cyro-freezing.

Then you have a chance to become alive again in the future.


There's a book out by a guy who used to be a bigwig at Alcor. I wouldn't trust those guys, personally. Other firms might be better.

By the way, cremation is a lot cheaper.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Plasmic-Turtle » Fri Oct 23, 2009 6:47 am UTC

slightlydead wrote:I can imagine the undertaker swearing as he or she measures out glass eyeballs to fit into my skull. Then giving me makeup so I look like some nice JC penny mannequin straight out of the uncanny valley.It sounds creepy. Not to mention expensive. Is it possible they can just bury my body in some ditch without a coffin and the manicure?
You could just have a closed casket you know. That's what my grandmother did - she chose not to be embalmed and not to have anyone be able to view her body at the funeral. A few rellies bitched about it cause they would've liked the closure, but it's what she wanted. I'm quite happy with my last memory of her being one where she's still alive, stubborn and cheeky as usual, and as much 'herself' as was possible.
If you have a closed casket it doesn't really matter if you have no eyeballs, right?

slightlydead wrote:Cremation on the other hand just evokes... pain. Yeah I know i'll be dead, but it still seems eerie to be put into some toaster oven with the setting on "extra burnt".
The great thing about cremation is that there's super-intense heat and you'd be dead pretty damn fast if you weren't already. Not that I think accidentally burying people alive happens all that often but you know... it'd just be reassuring to know for sure that there was no possibility of the life coming back into me 6-foot under! Being cremated would be a lot faster and less painful than that I would think.

You lot have made me think more about donating my body to science. I've wanted to be an organ donor should they be useful for a long time, but then I'd quite like the rest of me to be cremated and put in this charming old graveyard in my hometown, where my great-grandmother already is and my mother will also be. But I can see how giving my body to science or med-students would make a heck of a lot of sense, and how they need people to do that. Hmmm :?

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Mokele » Fri Oct 23, 2009 3:21 pm UTC

You lot have made me think more about donating my body to science. I've wanted to be an organ donor should they be useful for a long time, but then I'd quite like the rest of me to be cremated and put in this charming old graveyard in my hometown, where my great-grandmother already is and my mother will also be. But I can see how giving my body to science or med-students would make a heck of a lot of sense, and how they need people to do that.


They aren't actually exclusive of one another.

If you're young and healthy when you die (say by car accident), you become an organ donor, and the 'leftovers' are cremated. If, however, you cannot become an organ donor (such as if major systemic illness is the cause of death), you can donate your body to science (often for med student anatomy classes), and again, once it's 'finished', the remains are cremated. In our medical anatomy class, we actually take great pains to retain all of the 'bits' so that, in the end, the entire body is cremated.

So either way, you get cremated in the end and your relatives get the ashes back, though there may be a delay.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Weaver » Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:46 pm UTC

For clarification, organ donation doesn't necessitate cremation - standard burial is always possible as well.

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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Diadem » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:16 pm UTC

Am I the only one in this thread who plans on not dying?

If I do happen to die, I'll let my family decide what they want to do. It won't matter anymore for me, but it does matter for them. They should say their farewell to me in whatever way they feel is most appropriate for them. I do not want to impose rules on them that make them uncomfortable, while not mattering to me in the slightest.

However I do not want to be an organ donor. I am against organ donation on principle grounds (and no, not religious ones).
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby Steax » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:54 pm UTC

I say take out as many organs from me as they can find useful, but please let my empty shell be buried normally (Islam dictates bodies be buried quickly). Heck, my body will be useless once I'm out of it, so why be picky on what happens?

I've recently learned of a theory that we don't lose the ability to feel, even after death. At least until the brain dies totally. We do lose the ability to move or react, since the blood that should supply our muscles with oxygen are no longer doing their job, but the nervous system still stays intact. So maybe I'll ask them to wait till I'm absolutely brain-dead before doing stuff. Lol.
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Re: Cremation or Burial?

Postby tekk » Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:13 pm UTC

Max length to still be "alive" after death is something like six hours I believe,don't quote me on it though it's just somewhere in the massive repository of useless info called my brain.


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