A Little Death

Green Burial

In March, Dr. Sherwin Nuland died and so On Being did a rerun of their interview with him. It is wonderful. He wrote the book How We Die, which ponders death as a way of wonder at life.

Thinking about dying and living brought me to the need to update my will. I created a will many years ago in a different life situation with different assets. I got the idea that I would hand write my own will after I read the new novel by John Grisham. In Sycamore Row, the plot revolves around a man who has handwritten his own will. In Pennsylvania, as in many states, it is legal to hand write your own will.

Dividing up my assets was a piece of cake but the thing that put the kink in completing the document was my burial. I have been thinking for sometime now that a traditional grave in my family cemetery is not the answer for me- too many rules – too much politics. Should I just ignore it and leave it to the kinder?

There is a natural burial site in Pittsburgh where I could be buried in the earth wrapped in a quilt. Doesn’t that sound homey- to really go back to the earth without a casket and a vault?

Then there is the very appealing idea of cremation. Against all Jewish customs, even Ralph Schugar offers that these days.

According to Sherwin Nuland, we will all die and it won’t be pretty but if we accept it and prepare for it, it will feel more familiar and therefore less frightening. A will is an important step.

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