ashes to ashes

My mother asked me to reasearch death storage options. Well, not that exactly, but I don’t know how else to call it.

“So does that mean you want to be cremated?”

“Well, that’s what Daddy wants, so I guess.” She doesn’t seem sure, but doesn’t seems to feel strongly about it either. Apparently, some of her friends already have plots paid for. Even if you’re cremated, you need a permanent place to hang out, and apparently, like all New York City-area real estate, it is increasingly expensive and scarce. “It could cost $6,000!” She was having palpitations, I could tell.

“Listen, I’ll keep you in my closet and I will only charge you a nominal storage fee.”

“But then I would haunt you!”

I don’t take that seriously, but I did suddenly get an image of her standing over my bed while I’m sleeping, chanting “why didn’t you go to law school,” or “you need to lose weight,” or some such sentiment.

“What if [FIRST SON] wants to visit? Should I stay in Brooklyn?”

“Well, anywhere where the dead hang out doesn’t really seem convenient, you know. They are kind of low-priority in terms of public transportation paths.” I thought about it. “Is there place you like? What if I scattered you in the ocean?”

“No,” she shuddered. “Koreans don’t like that, and it’s bad for the earth.”

So at my mother’s request, I began to research what people do with ashes. Everything is much more convenient to find out with the Internet. As she noted, you can’t just scatter ashes whereever you feel like it. Apparently, it is totally eroding the earth. At Jane Austen’s house, so many people attempt to dump their relatives and friends there, security is on the lookout for people opening up canisters. But what I thought was most interesting in my search of what-to-do-with-ashes is that there’s like a whole arts and crafts movement (ridiculous). You can mix ashes into concrete and make a sculpture, you can turn ashes into jewelry, and best of all, you can press them into a record that can actually play a song.

(Uh huh, the last one, I totally freaked myself out, like what if I pressed my mom’s ashes into “What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner and “1999” by Prince came on instead? I am seriously giving myself willies just imagining this.)

Anyway, Mom did not go for the record option, so I’m safe for now, though without a plan or a plot reservation.

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