Friday, June 11, 2010

Invasion of the Body Savers

When someone dies in our society, we generally have the blood drained from the body then refill it with toxic preservatives. Then we have the body gussied up with nice clothes and makeup and give the hair a good do, put it in a very fancy metal or polished wood box that’s well-cushioned and put it on display under pink lights,. Then people who cared about the person can parade past and talk about how life-like it looks. Actually, it looks like a dead body that’s been gussied up. I prefer not to look.

After the funeral, we close the fancy box and put it in a fancy car that is driven ever-so- slowly – presumably to not cause the embalmed boxed body discomfort - to a beautiful piece of land, where the box is then lowered into yet another box at the bottom of a six foot hole. These boxes are often guaranteed not to leak for many years to come. Then we cover the lot with dirt and put a fancy engraved stone on the top.

None of this makes the person any less dead.

Meanwhile, back among the living, people wait on long lists for organs that would help them live longer, healthier, more productive lives. There is a need for all sorts of bits of bodies from bone and skin for grafts to corneas to livers and hearts. And there is need for whole bodies to be used to advance medical research and training.

There are stories of poor people selling one of their kidneys. Horrible. There has also been some talk lately about funeral businesspeople who sold body parts to companies who supply hospitals, research and teaching facilities without the consent of the families. That is disgraceful. I think if there is selling to be done, the family of the person who used the body should get the money. But then I suppose there would be the danger of people knocking off old Uncle Henry to sell his organs.

People are like that.

So I reckon the only way to solve this problem is for everyone to make arrangements for the responsible disposal of their bodies once they are done with them. I have sent away to for planning kits for my husband and I. We are also both organ donors and have indicated that on our driver license and in our instructions to each other. So chances are good that my body will actually do someone else some good once I’m done with it. That thought is comforting to me, although at the time I don’t reckon I’ll care one way or the other.

Now, if you’re concerned about the Rapture, when according to some Christians bodies will rise again; I don’t think you need worry. I am absolutely positive that a God who can raise up dead bodies from their graves, reanimate them and take them to Heaven, isn’t going to be flummoxed over organ donation or even cremation. Heck, if those guaranteed vaults and fancy caskets don’t slow him down, I reckon he can handle reuse of his greatest creation.

I know a lot of people who spend an amazing amount of time planning their funerals. I know I have. I want certain songs played, poems read, stuff like that. I don’t want anyone parading by looking at my dead body in a casket. That’s just creepy to me. Just leave dead bodies out of my funeral.

In fact, I think I’ll have my funeral when I can enjoy it. I’ll have a party that’s all about me. Have people bring me flowers and parade past me telling me how good I look. Then we can all eat and laugh.

And as for epitaphs, I think we ought to write those where people are more likely to read them. Like maybe on the front door. Or if more appropriate, on the door to the bedroom.

“Here lies Fay. Her life is short, but it is wide.”

Instead of taking up some prime land for a chemically poisoned body inside a box inside another box, you can plant a tree for me. I don’t care where. And for crying in a bucket, use that body every which way you can. I won’t be needing it.


  1. I've always wondered about those caskets that are guaranteed not to leak for 25 years: Who the hell is going to check it out? And why would a dead body give a damn about leakage anyway?

    Seriously, organ donation is the way to go. People, including children, sit on waiting lists, hoping and hoping for that new heart or lung as they grow sicker each day. With the number of road deaths a year, there should be a huge harvest of organs—but I don't think there are.

    (You are more than welcome, Fay, to use my current post, or any of them, anytime you want. There's no need to ask permission.)

  2. I agree it is creepy! Great post!

  3. I am reading a really interesting book called "Everything you ever wanted to know about Heaven but never dreamed of asking," by Peter Kreeft. Anyway, it talks about what are bodies will be like. It's more of a cosmic reconstruction of the body than having our own body back. It more like what I talked about when you said that you had those two lady's you really liked on your block when you were a little girl and now you wanted to give them a basket. I said engery transfers from one form to another. So yes, I am a Christian. However, no I don't believe that the bodies we get at our repature will be the old moldy worm eaten ones in the ground! They will be composed of our life experience in atoms from the universe! And yep, I am an organ donor too. I won't give my body to science, though. I was a genetics major for three semesters and I know what they do to those bodies. Also I don't want them to take my brain because of my mental illness. However, both of those aren't for religous reasons. You know your creepy description of the dead reminds me of what Jeff Foxworthy said. He said,"You take a guy put him in a suit and give him lipstick. And then the people pass by and say that he looks like he is sleeping. Naw, he don't! If you want him to look like he is sleeping put him in his underwear, place his hand in there, and stir his hair with a blender!"

    Hugs with blessings,