As an atheist I’m very pragmatic about the way I talk to my kids about death. We talk about how my Dad was cremated and how I want to be cremated too. We talk about how once we’re dead our bodies are useless so PaPaw didn’t want his body being stored in a coffin somewhere and I talk about how I don’t want my body taking up space on the planet anywhere.
So…periodically the kids just like to talk about “when we set our bodies on fire” or “when we burn our dead bodies” because they find the whole thing morbidly fascinating. The other night the conversation went like this:
Nyoka: I think I want my body to be set on fire too and you can throw my ashes into the ocean so I can be eaten by sharks.
Me: The term is “cremated” – but even if we did that – the sharks wouldn’t eat your ashes. Your ashes would just probably dissolve and you’d just be part of the ocean ecosystem…EVERYWHERE. That would be kinda cool.
Nyoka: What do you want us to do with your ashes?
Me: I don’t care. I’ll be dead. If you all have something special you WANT to do with them, go for it. I don’t want you to keep them, but I also don’t care if you just flush them down the toilet.
Wesley: When I die, I want my eyelashes flushed down the toilet so I can become part of everyone’s poop.