BY LOIS DESOCIO
My brother, Gerry, died this week last year. And since his life for decades was in Florida, but his family lives in New Jersey, the decision was made to cremate him, so we could bring him home, and have him home with us, forever. In the year since his death, two old friends have died, as well as a few parents of friends, and some relatives. The bulk of them have been cremated. As a result of all this, I have become obsessed with thoughts of cremation. Thinking of my brother (and six years ago, my father), going from whole to embers is unsettling. But is lying six feet under and turning skeletal any more pleasant?
My mother, on the other hand, who is a healthy 79 years old, says she doesn’t want to be cremated. Or buried. She wants a mausoleum. For the whole family.
Which brings me to this – I can’t decide, and if I drop dead tomorrow, it’s out of my hands, because, while I have a will, I left that part blank. I’ve always had visions, since my age was in the single digits, about what it must be like to be dead. Currently, my mental pictures have me with makeup on, dressed in my skinny jeans, and dangly, sparkly earrings, lying in a box in the ground, looking exactly the same, except I’m dead. Dead, but intact. But now I have to take it all seriously – I’m on the right side of 50. And it’s not that I’m feeling doomed – just more responsible.