Death, Another Door
by Melissa Martin

Physical death to spiritual life; the end of a beginning and the beginning of an end. Death, unknown territory; the final frontier. Throughout the history of civilization, people have created an afterlife. Religious and nonreligious groups find meaning in death and the spiritual realm beyond the grave. As flesh and bone return to earthly elements, another dimension opens as the ashes blow away. Depending upon the viewpoint, theology, opinion, belief, and the second the heart stops beating, the person's spirit/soul/essence travels elsewhere. Individuals cannot fathom death as the end of existence.

I, too, find the belief in a heaven comforting and soothing. I do not fear death at this point in my life but I fear the leaving behind of loved ones who will struggle, question, and grieve. I believe I've made peace with the issue of death. The cycle of life continues, however, death from old age still evokes emotion as we ponder the unknown.

I do not prefer a traditional funeral with a preacher in a hushed funeral home or an open casket. I would like family, friends, and acquaintances to gather and sing Amazing Grace and scatter my cremated ashes over a body of water (not a mud puddle). No headstone or holiday visiting of a pile of dirt; I am not there. Of course, I expect loved ones to grieve, as it is the natural and necessary way to process emotions and events.

Ah, I will be in the other dimension with deceased grandparents, relatives, friends, and familiar strangers experiencing a hullabaloo. Albeit, I will be alive in your memories and stories. I am alive in your genetic DNA coding.

Yes, I am aware that cemeteries serve a purpose for the living; a sacred place to honor the dead with tears and flowers. If I had a tombstone, I would want it to read: Out to Lunch, On Spring Break, Buckle Up, or Are We There Yet?

Prior to my burial/cremation please note that I am an organ donor (see my driver's license). I would be ecstatic if a person's life was extended due to my body parts. In the same vein, instead of buying flowers, please donate the money to the St. Jude's Children Hospital.

Premature death is a reality and we think we are exempt. If ever I should be stuck in a vegetative coma, please pull the plug and release my spirit. Hopefully, I will live until the senior years, but if not, then I am ready for heaven. Two of the most important events, birth and death, need to be celebrated.

Melissa writes about the God and human connection and condition.

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