Thursday, March 23, 2006

Buried alive

I used to (and probably still do sometimes) complain to my mom that she should stop being so fascinated by death. She is always reading the obituaries in the paper and talking about people that died in our town and church. She continues to assure me that she isn't fascinated, but just wants to be informed. My dad would say he just wants to check to see that his name isn't in there.

My parents started dragging me to funerals when I was still quite young; by the time I'd been to probably ten visitations and/or funerals, most of my friends hadn't been to any. I envied them for not knowing the nightmares where people wake up in their coffins (Those nightmares also came from watching too much Days of Our Lives with Grandma Melka--I still remember those red lights flashing in the coffin when Carly woke up to find she was buried alive.)

In History 456 a few weeks ago, we discussed death and dying throughout American history. It was interesting. My professor brought in all kinds of photographs--some of which looked a lot like the ones my mom takes for family members who can't make it to funerals. My professor had pictures of Puritan graveyards and gave us a list of what the art and symbols they used on headstones actually meant. She also had some pictures of people lying in their coffins. The pictures were framed and would have been hung up on the wall in the house. Many of the photographs were of young children in their coffins--these pictures were perhaps the only ones the family might have had of their child.

Although I hoped not to inherit my mother's morbidity, I think I did. I like visiting cemeteries--on Memorial Day especially. I intend to join DAR, and one benefit of that is getting a plaque placed on my headstone--providing I am actually buried and not cryogenically frozen somewhere in Arizona. I suppose they could give me a headstone even if I am frozen; that way I'll be able to see it when the scientists wake me up in 2300. I hate funerals; visitations still give me nightmares.

Maybe I should be thankful my mother is so interested in obituaries. By the time she dies, she'll already have rewritten her own obituary millions of times, so it should be nearly perfect.

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