When I die, cremate me.
I say this to my family and friends when conversions reach the topic of death.
However, not all of them are very open to my idea. Cremation is uncommon in the Philippines. Putting people in caskets, that’s what we usually do. It’s kind of a thing of tradition and custom. We put dead people in boxes with glasses so we could see them. Cry, mourn, stay overnight for vigils, talk, eat… some play cards, or even gamble. Then after a week or so, we put them on tombs.
Do you want your final version to be a dead body, lying inside a casket, in a tomb, in a cemetery, with other dead bodies beside you? And you rot through the years?
I wouldn’t want that.
I’ve been to a lot of wakes. A few of them with their ashes only. And I could compare the mood, the ambiance of the ceremony. With ashes, people mourn less. Of course, you wouldn’t want to jest around with a dead body in the house, would you? Creepy.
I want to be cremated because of similar reasons. First of all, I don’t want my final version, to be just me, but in a dead way. I don’t want to lie there, wearing some formal outfit, but emptied with life. Pale, without blood, with makeup, with gel, with lipstick.
I don’t want people who will see me for the last time, see me dead.
I want to transform into something else. Haha!
Some say cremation is unethical, or unbiblical. I don’t think so. It will not make my soul less worthy of heaven (for it’s faith that will lead me home, not how I died). If that’s the case, what about all the Christian martyrs burned at stake in the early Church age?
So I shrug that off.
But honestly, it’s rather philosophical: I want my life to be celebrated.
I don’t want people to come, see me dead, and say, what a waste! This guy could have lived longer. Or, you could even accomplish more! Now, I see you dead, in that barong. Sigh!
No, I don’t want that. With ashes, there’s no body to mourn. There’s no dead Jed to behold.
I want you guys to celebrate my life. Go ahead, laugh, joke, eat, and share memories! Relish the moments that you’ve been with me. Watch videos, listen to recordings, play my productions, compositions, perform my songs… Remember how I lived and loved. (While I stay there in a jar, somewhere in front or at the side. I wouldn’t mind.)
After all, that’s what wakes are for, right? It’s a ceremony, it’s a tradition, it’s a custom. Let’s keep it at that, less the hassle of carrying me about on a box, and walking under the heat of the sun to bring me to someplace you won’t even visit often.
Spread my ashes to some piece of land, or at sea, I wouldn’t mind. Don’t keep me, if possible.
As much as you can, don’t see me dead. When I die, remember me alive.
But there are conditions. If I die being ripped off by a chain saw or something else gruesome, then put me in an open casket. Or a pure glass coffin. (I want to mess with your head, haha!)
You’ll wish you should have upgraded me to ashes, my final version.
All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all. ~The Preacher, Ecclesiastes 3:20