Considering My Own Death Wishes

So, since the the gap of a few weeks from the last posting is right there tattling on me, I have to tell you:  I had the most delicious week away, up in my happy place on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.  I got to spend rejuvenating time with friends and family at my aunt’s cabin, a property that’s on its third incarnation of dwelling (and is a full fledged house at this point, not the quaint log cabin with outhouse that it was when I was small).

This is a very special location for me.  The natural beauty alone makes it heaven, but 40+ years of joy and good memories on top of it all make this truly sacred space.  It’s where my soul feels harmony and peace.

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This was my view each morning as I opened up my laptop and worked.

And this will be my final resting place, with half of my remains sprinkled out there in the cove.  One calm morning hopefully years from now, just my family, my ashes, and a little rock that has my name and dates, broadcast out onto the glassy water (but not too close to the weeds, please!  We always did hate swimming through those…)

It was a closure kind of visit this time.  My aunt and I put flowers at my grandparents’ grave (along with the graves of several members of her family), and went and said goodbye to my grandparents’ house, which is under contract after my grandfather’s recent death.

This little town has much of my family history in it, and this trip, my aunt and I discovered a piece of it we had never seen, which was fascinating AND caused me to rethink my wishes just a bit.

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It’s hard to read for all the weathering and moss, but that’s the gravestone of my great uncle, Swan Waldo Brackett, my grandmother’s brother.  He died at 5, in 1927.

We had always known about him, knew that he had died young, but it took putting our heads together during the family picnic to figure out exactly where to find him, now that all the generation who would have buried him were dead.  Aunt and I took all the information we’d learned, and on a lovely summer night, headed out to the cemetery.

It gave both of us chills to find his stone.  Clearly, it had been replaced at some point, as the descriptions of it (round, handmade concrete with small stone edging) were very specific (and, it turns out, inaccurate).  But here he was, nearly 90 years in the ground, and both of us his relatives, able to stand there, touch his stone, find out how old he really was when he died (this was another bit of inaccurate information from our discussion).

And it made me think.

What if, by my insistence on not leaving a trace, on not being traditionally memorialized, I’m taking this feeling away from my great nieces and nephews?

Just a thought, of course. But it’s sticking with me.

Perhaps I want to leave more of a footprint than I thought?  Maybe this will be what sways me to natural burial at Eloise Woods, although the idea of not being put into Lake Sutherland makes me sad.

What about you?  Anything change your plans recently?  Do we need to talk, to write down new plans?

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