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Things that are not right

cremainsIn a continuation of my apparent blog death wish, recent comments got me thinking about when I had my tomcat Roughly put down. He got kidney cancer, poor lad, when he was about twelve.

The vet left the timing entirely up to me. I would have appreciated some guidance, actually. Different vet. Didn’t like him either.

If you go through this, make sure they’re giving your animal the sleepy, tranquilizer stuff. Because there’s another stuff that’s more of a stimulant. It’s quick, but beloved pet has enough time to let out a last yelp. This is not nice at all.

I lived downtown and yardless, so when they asked if I wanted him cremated, I didn’t have much choice. And when they asked if I wanted the ashes back, I said I guess so. I thought he had a better chance of being handled individually that way. I’m not usually sentimental about remains, but it just didn’t seem right to send out the Best Cat Ever cheek by jowl with somebody’s schnauzer (though I suppose that’s what actually happened anyway).

I forgot about it until several weeks later, when they called me to pick him up. I thought the box was strangely heavy. Inside was a big white marble urn!

My mom? She came back to me in a plastic baggie sealed with a twist-tie.


Comment from Lemur King
Time: June 25, 2008, 3:07 pm

Damn, woman. You got a dark mind.

We’re on the same wavelength, me and thee. We must make a pact to break out of it soon.

We went to dump my grandmother’s ashes into the ocean. So we’re standing in surf about 18″ deep on the Oregon coast (cold cold cold water) and we can’t get the container open. It finally opens *CRACK* and ashes go everywhere – all over us, unceremoniously downwind, and even stuck to our wet legs. I had a really nice speech all ready to go and what came out of both mine and my sister’s mouths were “Damn, lets get out of this cold ****ing water.”

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 25, 2008, 3:18 pm

My brother was a master machinist and carpenter/craftsman. He made his own (gorgeous) cremation urn, in which he wanted his ashes to be stored – like on the mantle, y’know.

When he died, the church he was affiliated with buried the lovely thing (with him inside) in their “memorial garden”.

Utter. Assholes.

I actually walked around the garden locating entrances, cameras, fences, etc, because I figured my brother would absolutely love for me to sneak in at night and dig him up and steal his remains. Bro would have died laughing.

But I’m old and I can’t climb fences so good anymore. I worked on a young nephew for a week trying to get him to do it for me, and I was making progress, but his wife finally threatened to kick me out of the house if I didn’t stop trying to involve him in a felony.

I think Neph’ is still thinking about it.

Comment from Pupster
Time: June 25, 2008, 3:19 pm

Once again, life imitates The Big Lebowski.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 25, 2008, 3:35 pm

My mother wanted us to gather her friends, pour her ashes under a particular tree where her favorite dog is buried, pour a shot of Three Roses whisky on the spot and recite the 23rd Psalm.

The trouble started when we realized none of us had the faintest idea which tree she meant. And then, I was completely unprepared for how many ashes there were. I poured and I poured and I poured and I poured, and clouds of the stuff were wafting up, and her best friend (who died of lung cancer about six months later) began to hack and groo. I finally stood back before it was all poured. I have about a pint left.

I guess mom’s coming to England.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 25, 2008, 3:50 pm

I begin to wonder – does scattering the proverbial ashes to the wind ever work out as advertised? Maybe I should consider this as an exit. Y’know – one last “fuck wit ’em” act.

I read about some scuba divers who took an old divers cremation remains down and “scattered” them in his favorite diving cave. I understand it was an awful, muddy mess.

Did your mom like travel, Weaz?

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: June 25, 2008, 3:58 pm

I almost want to be buried the Muslim way: in a shroud only or in the most simple and plain coffin if it’s a must.

I still find cremation to be creepy. But that’s probably a culture thing.

I’m beginning to slowly realize how so many biases I have are culture-derived. It’s weird.

Our little baby (shih tzu) will be two years old next month. I’m not even going to think about what it will be like ten, twelve years down the road.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: June 25, 2008, 4:06 pm

Speaking of England: courtesy of LauraW, Mugabe will be stripped of his knighthood by Her Majesty; a knighthood was bestowed on Salman Rushdie. There is equilibrium in the Force.

(That said, I’m not a big fan of Salman Rushdie. I don’t like his books. But he is a posterboy for the right whatsoever one pleases to, and I support him in that.)

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 25, 2008, 4:10 pm

I always thought cremation was creepy, too, Musli. And it’s very unusual out in the country in the South. The funeral parlor guy was kind of rattled by it, but that’s absolutely what Mother wanted (I don’t know if he believed me on that point; he probably just thought I was a cheap shit).

In fact, though, I felt pretty good about it. That horrible husk she left behind was NOT my mother, and burning it up felt more like purifying than desecrating. The Vikings were right!

There is nothing — absolutely NOTHING — creepier than traditional American embalming practices. There’s a family plot for me, but I reckon I’ll be far, far away and destined for the ovens.

I would like to leave some part of me behind. So I can be cloned. Or diagnosed. Or pilgrims can come to the Shrine of Weasel’s Toe, maybe.

Comment from KC
Time: June 25, 2008, 4:27 pm

My mother was cremated and the only thing we had and could afford at the time was a reusable magarine container. Clean of course. It broke my father’s heart… but that’s what they did back in the day. That or a ziplock bag – we went with the container.

We were poor – no life insurance on her.

She buried in a beautiful spot however – with a GREAT view. Near a golf course on top of a hill that is infested with groundhogs. In fact, lots of problems because of the groundhogs – digging holes into the coffins and removing bones & what not from the coffins to make room for their nests. Needless to say – finding bones and various decomposed body parts spread throughout the cemetary to make room for hogs… wasn’t pleasant.

I think after it’s all said and done… my mom did just fine in her magarine container/urn.

Comment from Jill
Time: June 25, 2008, 4:33 pm

Ex-boss’s mother-in-law was cremated after she passed.

The woman was a complete nut-ball.
Sweet, but totally off her rocker.
Among other things, she’d draw on the walls with crayons…in other people’s apartments.
She didn’t abide by any strict hygiene standards for herself, either.

Anyway, after her daughter received her cremains, she kept the woman on a tall shelf in a lovely engraved brass box.
She wistfully noted one day that it’s so much easier to keep her clean now…just a swift pass with a dust cloth.

Comment from bad cat robot
Time: June 25, 2008, 4:37 pm

Cremation for me. I’ve given permission for the docs to rummage around and remove any spare parts someone else could use once I’m done with them, so cremation is really better for everybody. Plus, I am determined to cheat the dermestids of their meal. Hates dermestids, I do. (those are tame dermestids. They exist in the wild in profusion, probably with huge fangs and tattoos.)

Comment from porknbean
Time: June 25, 2008, 4:40 pm

and clouds of the stuff were wafting up, and her best friend (who died of lung cancer about six months later) began to hack and groo.

Hmm…perhaps she was reaching for her friend from the grave and advanced the seeds already there of her demise and missed companionship.

I finally stood back before it was all poured. I have about a pint left.

Wonder which parts are in that pint?

My mom said she wants to be cremated. She was a ‘transporter’ (delivers the dead to the hospital ‘fridge’) in a children’s hospital and said she was disgusted at how disrespectfully they treated the deceased when noone was looking.

The husband says he wants to be buried in an appliance box out in the backyard.

Me? I suggested if I get cremated, my ashes were to be put in the belly of my favorite doll and placed center stage in one of the kid’s living room. Kids aren’t going for it. They didn’t like the idea of the taxidermist either or my head put in a glass box filled with preservative with my eyes propped open.
Seriously, I just want to be buried in a simple wooden box asap with no chemical injections.

Comment from Allen
Time: June 25, 2008, 4:41 pm

My wife was cremated with a very special request for where her ashes went. She wanted me to take her ashes into the mountains and scatter them in a location that only I might ever find again. Took me 6 days on horseback to get there.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 25, 2008, 4:49 pm


I like that term, Jill. It sounds like what it is.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: June 25, 2008, 5:15 pm

Personally, I always wanted a New Orleans style funeral/cremation, with the Jazz band too and from the ceremony, followed by having my ashes loaded into a Cannon shell for a Navy vessel, to be shot out into the pacific….

Comment from nicole
Time: June 25, 2008, 5:29 pm

On the cremation topic, my dad passed of bone cancer years ago and he was cremated. His ashes were taken up and dumped over the farm from one of our airplanes. I know Mom & Grandpa were talking about getting a memorial bench in a cemetary somewhere – Mom didn’t feel a need for it, but Grandpa would have liked to have it near his wife’s grave, I’m sure, so he could visit both. Alas, it never was done before Grandpa passed as well.

Me, I don’t have an issue with cremation. I keep reminding the husband that we need to get things written up official-like, but we both have memories like sieves so it has yet to be done. We both lean towards cremation, but the funeral really is for the living, in my opinion, and thus, if my family would want a burial, I’d be okay with that as well. If I never see the inside of a funeral home again I’ll be happy – but if it would give a more solid sense of closure and letting go to whatever family and friends are involved, then so be it.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 25, 2008, 5:43 pm

Heyyyyy, Scubafreak! Cough up them kitten pitcher! I’ve been getting mail to the regular address all day.

Yes, Nicole, I think the purpose of last wishes is to give your survivors something to do so they don’t feel so useless. I’m so grateful my mother and I worked out what she wanted long ago, when she was perfectly well. When she got sick, she totally refused to believe it was terminal (when it obviously was) and if that’s the way she wanted it, that’s how I was going to play it.

Comment from Lemur King
Time: June 25, 2008, 5:43 pm

I begin to wonder – does scattering the proverbial ashes to the wind ever work out as advertised? Maybe I should consider this as an exit. Y’know – one last “fuck wit ‘em” act.

No, ‘Goo, it doesn’t.

KC – given that when I go I want to be cremated and flushed, I think a margarine container is just fine. Like we’re in any condition to care about our ashes at that point. That said, I think it best to do the best you can to hold to the last wishes of the person in question as best you can when you can, which you did. You can’t be any truer than that.

Dad had mom cremated, and he was worried what I’d think, but I felt a lot like what Weas said – what was there at the end of mom’s life was not who/what she was – her illness or whatever you want to call it took a terrible toll on her.

Anyway, you morbid bunch are my witnesses. I want to be flushed. Just use one of them blue bowl cleaner thingies in the tank to cut down on the germs. I hate germs.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 25, 2008, 5:45 pm

What about the little man in the rowboat, LK? Are you old enough to remember the little man in the rowboat?

He paddled around toilets on TV when they released the first blue bowl cleaner.

Comment from Lemur King
Time: June 25, 2008, 6:02 pm

My GOD, has it been that long…? Little dinghy?

Yes, exactly! Try as I might, I cannot recollect ever reading about him dying of dysentery or cholera, so the stuff will be suitably germ free for my “service”.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 25, 2008, 6:07 pm

Ty-D-Bowl Man.

Comment from Allen
Time: June 25, 2008, 6:07 pm

Oooo, the Ty-D-Bol Man. There’s a classic.


I always imagined depth charging him. “B-45, Ahhh, you sunk my dinghy”

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 25, 2008, 6:11 pm

Ha-HA! I beat you by seconds, Allen. And I swear I didn’t use my magical blog-owner date-stamp-diddling skills! 🙂

Comment from Allen
Time: June 25, 2008, 6:20 pm

I saw that, but what’s disturbing is that more than one person remembers the name “Ty-D-Bol” and found the same link.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: June 25, 2008, 6:23 pm

I’ll try resending this evening. I should send a pic of my hand as well, it has so many claw and tooth holes in it that it looks like a killer case of freckles….

Comment from XBradTC
Time: June 25, 2008, 6:48 pm

When Dad had died of cancer last year, it took a horrific toll on him. Your term, husk, is so fitting. After a couple of months, we finally took his cremains home to Georgia. Took him as carry-on. In a baggie. Finally, an urn was ridiculously priced, so we bought a nice jewelry box. Buried him in the family plot by his folks and his first daughter. Kinda weird- I was looking at my own grave (we bought the plots many years ago).

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 25, 2008, 7:22 pm

Allen – Weaz is fuckin’ wit yous. She does that to me all the time but won’t admit it. Like the other day she posted about cats and cat teeth, and then somehow *made* me post a cat photo and a teeth photo without ever knowing that was what she was doing.

Thing is, I still haven’t figured out how she puts all them ideas in my noggin. With science, probably. But believe me – she *made* you go find that link.

Comment from Dave in Texas
Time: June 25, 2008, 7:30 pm

That is a very funny, little bittersweet, but funny graphic.

Comment from Allen
Time: June 25, 2008, 7:31 pm

Hmmm, I am beginning to suspect Weasel’s blog is actually a patch over a hole in the space time continuum, where sometimes things “leak” through.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 25, 2008, 7:31 pm

With science. And a ver-y long eyedropper.

Brad, I’ve had my picture taken lying on my plot. But I was something like 18 and the idea was hilarious. Today? Probably not so hilarious.

Some years ago, we made contact with the oldest branch of the Weasel family in the States. My dad and I made it to a reunion. The spookiest thing was the family burial plot out back. Imagine a small cemetery where every stone has your name on it.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 25, 2008, 7:34 pm

Dave, my actual mom and my actual cat urn are all packed up. That is a simulation based on Google images search.

I was really shocked. An images search of “marble urn” turns up mostly pet urns. Lots and lots of pet urns. So I guess it’s a pretty common thing to do with the fambly dog.

Comment from Dave in Texas
Time: June 25, 2008, 7:47 pm

It were still funnay.

We cremated mom. My sisters think it’s a little odd I’ve never gone to the cemetary where they parked the urn in a mausoleum cubby hole, but I’m just like “eh, that ain’t her”.

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: June 25, 2008, 8:35 pm

I have to be cremated because of Andrew Marvell:

…and worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity.


Comment from scubafreak
Time: June 25, 2008, 10:22 pm

OK, second attempt is on the way. Let me know if it comes through. Right now, I need to go stitch up my latest battle wounds.

(then put the keys back on the laptop keyboard. He didn’t like it when I told him that surfing the net is reserved for those with opposable thumbs…)

Comment from scubafreak
Time: June 25, 2008, 10:24 pm

Mrs. Peel –

“Here lies the body of Mary Lee…..
Died at the age of 103…..

For 15 years she kept her virginity.
(not a bad record for this vicinity….)”

Comment from Pupster
Time: June 25, 2008, 10:36 pm

When we had to put our German Shepherd down, his ashes came back to us in a sealed wooden box, with ‘Wolfgang’ engraved on a brass plate on top.

I had to put it out of sight, it still chokes me up whenever I see it. Dammit.

Comment from LemurKing
Time: June 25, 2008, 11:04 pm

Mrs. Peel – you reminded me of that song that I don’t know the name of:

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The worms play pinochle in your snout…
They eat your eyes, they eat your nose,
They eat the goodies between your toes…

Who wrote that, where is it from, and why does it never go away?

Pupster, I grew up with 2 german shepherds, and I know exactly what you mean. There’s a dog that is with you, thick and thin and would flat out die defending you. And they make great lap-dogs.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 25, 2008, 11:15 pm

LK – the Innertubes to the rescue:


The above link has all the history known about the worm song. And here is the best set of lyrics I found in my long seconds of Net search:


Comment from Jill
Time: June 25, 2008, 11:22 pm

I kinda like the ‘idea’ of worms playing pinochle in my nose, like some perverse little black velvet painting.

Notice that I didn’t say I want pinochle-playing worms in my nose.

I just like the idea.

BTW, the worms’re all wearing sunglasses and smoking 5-cent cee-gars.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 25, 2008, 11:28 pm

I keep imagining hearing a li’l worm scream, “Gin!” from inside a ladies nose.

Yeah – I know it was pinochle – but, well, I hear “Gin”.

…and, yes, I did drink 2 Bloody Marys earlier. Why do you ask?

Comment from Allen
Time: June 25, 2008, 11:30 pm

Speaking of critters and ashes, time to make sure “the boys” my horses, are calm.


I hate fire season.

Comment from porknbean
Time: June 25, 2008, 11:50 pm

Brrr…the worm song. I still sing the worm song everytime I see a hearse.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: June 25, 2008, 11:51 pm

This conversation keeps reminding me of the xs project I’m itching to start: The Houses of Hawk Run Hollow (here and here). The verse: “When I am dead and in my grave and all my bones are rotten, remember me when this you see lest I should be forgotten.” Based on antique samplers — As Stoaty once said, our forebears were strange.


Comment from porknbean
Time: June 25, 2008, 11:56 pm

And my day just ended on a shitty note. Beanboy is okay, but my car’s ass looks pretty bad. Will find out the damage in the morning. *sigh*


Comment from iamfelix
Time: June 25, 2008, 11:59 pm

Sorry about your car, PnB — went through a major autobody overhaul twice this year. Glad Beanboy is okay, though.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 26, 2008, 12:41 am

Beanboy = 1 spew. It was only water, though.

Sorry about your ride, PnB.

Comment from scubafreak
Time: June 26, 2008, 12:46 am

Steamboat. I was thinking of one worm yelling BINGO!, and the rest yelling SH#T!!!

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 26, 2008, 1:02 am

Oh, no. scubafreak – Now you got me hearing a sqeaky worm-voice from a nasal passage: “…and now listen to the blessings of the Word of the Lord! For it is written…. send in that money, folks, and God will be in your heart! ….”

Worm Nose Gospel – with the reverend “Slimy” Vermis.

Comment from Jill
Time: June 26, 2008, 10:20 am

Mmmmmmmmmm…Bloody Marys…

Comment from JT
Time: June 26, 2008, 10:41 am

LOL and eu….ie!!

Thats unbeliveable…..

Comment from JT
Time: June 26, 2008, 10:49 am


Thanks for that graphic and the stories everyone!

Thats it, I’m getting buried. No way do I want my cremains stored in a ziplock baggie!!

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: June 26, 2008, 11:12 am

Although cremation makes literal, almost, the saying of “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”.

Just found out that “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” and “dearly beloved, we are gathered here together” come from the Anglican/Espicopalian Book of Common Prayer. So Anglicanism’s cultural impact is secured in our imaginations forever.

Comment from Lokki
Time: June 26, 2008, 12:25 pm

Yet we battle ‘gainst the fate all lovers someday share:
The day that God (or the Devil) splits the pair;
The day when our eyes close, and we hold our breath
Not for kisses but for death –
The day none would dream, but all will see
The fate the future holds for thee – and thee
The night one cries, and wails, and moans
The night when one of two must sleep alone.
The night when one grows cold to one still hot
The night when one still is, but one is not.
The night when God smiles or the Devil grins
The night when one of us pays for his sins.

And therein lies our live’s true story:
Love brings as much pain as much as glory.
For in the end, all our lovers go
Either pulled above or pushed below….


Comment from Princess Bernie
Time: June 26, 2008, 12:35 pm

MWG and I lost our beloved German Shorthair last August and had her cremated. He spread half her ashes on each of the two farms that she loved to go bird-hunting on.

My uncle lost his wife a few years ago and had her ashes sealed inside a birdbath for the yard. Auntie spent countless hours as her health declined, watching the birds, so uncle thought it a fitting tribute. Me, I get a little creeped out thinking about Auntie being the receptacle for birdies bathing.

Sort of like the Ty D Bowl man’s cremains being sealed in a porcelain toilet, don’t you think?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 26, 2008, 12:40 pm

It is a bit. Though there aren’t many memorials that aren’t creepy, one way and another.

One of Mother’s reasons for having her ashes scattered under a tree is that she didn’t want a monument. The neighbors next door, who loved her dearly but were mentally challenged, didn’t really get this concept. So, for as long as they lived, on the anniversary of her death, they tied a big, unnaturally-colored bunch of plastic flowers around the tree.

Last time I saw it, Mother not only had a monument, she had a spectacularly ugly one.

Oh, how I laughed.

Comment from Lemur King
Time: June 26, 2008, 1:27 pm

Thanks McGoo… that wonderfully morbid song puts it all in perspective. It’s like when my boss sees that I’m really blue, he comes up behind me and whispers into my ear “We’re all gonna die” and suddenly the thing I was depressed about doesn’t seem nearly as important anymore. It really works.

Doesn’t mean he isn’t a cold gallows-humor bastard, but it works!

His gallows humor after mom died was strangely therapeutic.

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