What’s Left

I finished Stiff the other day. The book, especially the last 2 chapters really make me think about what to do with my (or with anyone’s [not in a murdery type of of way]) body after I die. Organ donation is a given, but what about the rest?

The author Mary Roach went on some pretty interesting journey’s talking to some pretty unique people. She met with the creator of a novel funerary practice of freezing bodies in liquid nitrogen, breaking the frozen bodies down with ultrasound, freeze drying them and then using them to supply nutrients say a young apple tree.

Yes, basically composting of humans. Roach mentions that this idea isn’t exactly new, but this process is, and a efficient, expedient, and pretty dignified (in my opinion) one at that. To some it may sound brutal, impersonal, and perhaps disrespectful, and I now there is a existential and/ or theological conversation to be had here, but how is it worse than traditional burial or cremation.

Naturally decaying bodies aren’t pretty and I imagine burning ones aren’t better.

Cemeteries take up land that could be used for better things and cremation is just a wasteful (in both energy used and energy lost).

The freeze/dry/plant method is quick and clean. Plus the end result is a beautiful tree made from some of the same molecules as your loved one that is a living memorial and could live (and contribute to) several human lifetimes. Something to think about.

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