We’re gonna need a bigger vacuum

By Mir
January 23, 2014

Today ended up completely sideways and I don’t really know how or why. This is me cheering myself up with the conversation that STARTED the day, before everything went to crap.

Her: So explain to me, again, why you want to be cremated when you die?
Me: Well, for one thing, I’m cheap, and I think the cost associated with buying a hole in the ground and a fancy box to bury in it seems dumb to me. For another, I don’t believe that the body means anything after the soul leaves it. Why fancy it up? Get rid of it, I won’t be using it. And I don’t want a place that you feel compelled to maintain, or that you have to sit and feel sad.
Her: But… so… then what do you do with the ashes?
Me: Sometimes people keep them around, like in a pretty container, but lots of people rather they be scattered somewhere that made them happy. Don’t save my ashes, that’s creepy.
Her: Oooooooohhhh. Okay, so after Licorice dies, we should have her cremated and then spread her ashes under the couch in your office. And after YOU die, I should just dump the ashes in your bed.
Me: That seems kind of gross for Otto, if he’s still around.
Her: Nah, he’ll love it. He can still sleep with you every night!
Me: You’ve got it all figured out, I guess.
Her: Don’t worry, I’ll sprinkle Monkey on the keyboard when it’s his turn.
Her: What? It’s where he’s happy!

Debate continues as to where Duncan should go (maybe the landing on the stairs, though I feel he’s mostly just confused there, not really happy), but thankfully Otto has already picked his finally resting/sprinkling spot. [Note to self: Revise will to specify that Chickadee never gets to decide where anyone’s ashes go.]


  1. Little Bird

    I just got word that my grandfather passed away today, and he too is being cremated. I’m not sure where he wanted to be sprinkled, but I’m sure my aunts are already planning the trip to do so. I’ve already threatened to save some of my mothers ashes to have compressed into a lab diamond. That way when some one comments on it I can say “oh that? that was my mother.”
    My mother can’t decide if she wants me to go ahead with that or not.

  2. Little Bird

    I should note, my grandfather was quite old, and it was his time. The timing of this post is just very coincidental!

  3. LisaKay

    I will say, but if you want to be sprinkled it’s best to specify where you want to be sprinkled. My aunt and uncle carried around his mother’s ashes through a couple of house moves because she didn’t specify where she wanted to be sprinkled. She ended up spending at least a couple of years in closet on the shelf! (Which still makes me laugh when I think about it!)

    • LisaKay

      Oops! Should’ve said “I will say THAT…”, not “I will say BUT…”!

    • Megan

      My grandfather is STILL in my mother’s closet, TEN YEARS after his passing. My grandmother died this fall, so we’re all hoping my mom and her siblings will find somewhere to put them together. For now, we do a lot of joking about Grandpa being in the closet and asking him nicely when we need to get a coat. ;)

  4. Lucinda

    So weird that you wrote about this today since this morning I prepaid my mom’s cremation for her. Fun fact: here in the hippy, dippy Pacific Northwest about 65% of people choose cremation compared to about 35% of people in the rest of the country (except Florida. They like cremation too.).

  5. RuthWells

    How comforting. Or morbid. One of those. Here’s hoping tomorrow things are right way ’round again.

  6. bryan

    My whackadoo sister wants to go to the Body Farm. She reads too many police procedurals. I’m a cremation girl myself.

  7. bonuela

    a friend’s totally unhinged next door neighbor moved away. she came back after her mother passed and asked the new owners if she could sprinkle her ashes around inside the house. IN THE HOUSE!!!!

    • Nelson's Mama

      A year or so ago we found a lovely house with some acreage that I totally had my heart set on. We’d noticed that there was a holiday visitation “easement” on the listing but hadn’t figured out what it was. The third time we looked at the house, we ventured further out in the backyard and discovered the prior owner’s tombstone and graves!

      The family wanted to able to visit grandma and grandpa!! Only in the South :)

  8. Katherine

    My aunt died last year and was cremated. We’ve got a trip to the beach planned this summer so that we can sprinkle her ashes under a specific tree there, where my grandmother and both her parents ashes were scattered years ago. I sure hope that tree is still there! I think my mom’s ashes will be split between the tree and the memorial garden at the church.

  9. Rachel

    Just curious…. how do you feel about organ donation? Or entire corpse donation?

    • Mir

      I’m a registered organ donor, Rachel. I’d be okay with donating my entire body to science, actually, but I figure donating organs has a greater chance of helping others.

      • Brigitte

        Organs are OK, but I’m a-skeert that immature med students would play pranks on each other with my corpse as the main prop, if I did the whole body!

        • Pamela

          This might not be any comfort to you, but that’s probably the last thing immature med students would do. Med schools take the whole cadaver donation thing quite seriously, and they have a service every year at which they acknowledge those donations. The whole thing is very somber and serious, and calculated to make even the least mature student feel full of Higher Purpose and Great Dignity.

          Sheep brains, now… that’s a whole different problem.

  10. Rachel

    P.S. Love that all of the ads so far will guide you to purchase a vacuum cleaner…

    • Jessica (tc)

      Well, I know a lady who vacuums three times a day, so I suppose her daughters might that an appropriate place to “sprinkle” her ashes. ;)

      • Jessica (tc)

        might *find* that an appropriate place…

  11. Chris

    I’ve designated in my final papers that my body go to science. Let some med school kid learn how to not kill people. My only stipulation is that it not go to anything military – I don’t want it wasted testing shrapnel.
    My family is a little freaked out about it, but I’m with you. It isn’t necessary to spend the money or my relatives’ tears on a fancy box.
    Also, I think I love Duncan:)

  12. Dr. Liz

    We’ve already got it specified in our will that after usable organs are donated, we are cremated and when the last of the humans (i.e. my husband or myself) is dead, all the ashes are to be mixed together with the ashes of our many pets (the ones who have already been cremated – the ones who are still living when we die are provided for in the will with a designated guardian and back-up) so we’ll always be with out pets and the combined ashes are to be scattered in whatever mountains are closest to the executor of our will (most of my family is back east while my husband’s family is in California). Perhaps we’ve put a tad too much thought into this, but better than too little thought, right?

    -Dr. Liz, who, when she dies, really does want to go wherever dogs go when they die.

  13. Pam

    My Mom “lives” with our son as it was her home and she left it to him. He says that is her home and that’s where she belongs. She stays in the guest room which sometimes poses some questions from guests, lol.

  14. Brenda

    I’m only 28, but I’ve thought about pre-paying the Minnesota cremation society so my family wouldn’t have to worry about it or the expense. But I also like the idea of my body being used for science-y stuff. So maybe med students can practice autopsies and procedures and THEN they can cremate me. I just don’t want to be a burden financially when I’m not even here anymore.

  15. Lindsey

    I’m with you – I have always thought it was gross that we have thousands of acres of land in this country filled with boxes of dead people. Ugh! (My biggest fear is that I”ll be cremated while I’m actually still alive, but maybe I’ve just watched too much science fiction.)

  16. Karen in Michigan

    My mother was cremated and her urn interred in the church courtyard. My grandmother was also cremated and her urn interred in the family plot next to her husband. I’ve specified I want to be cremated, too, when it’s my time. I have (mostly) jokingly suggested having baggies of my ashes distributed to my friends to take to Disneyworld (I have no children to get my money) with the expectation that they surreptitiously distribute my ashes on my favorite rides. A little of me on Space Mountain, a little on Tom Sawyer Island . . .

  17. Becky

    My grandmother has been on the top shelf in the living room since I was in 8th grade. It’s only 1/6th of her because they divided her among her offspring. Everyone other than my mom sprinkled their portion of the ashes in the ocean. Mom couldn’t bring herself to do it…

    We decorate her for Christmas every year. She has these two Santa figures and everything. You know that high school!me got such a morbid kick out of introducing guests to Grandma.

  18. Kathryn

    When my grandfather died my mom and her brother had him cremated, then flew to their hometown to bury the ashes beside my grandmother. When they were checking in to their flight they were asked if they had anything to check and my uncle replied “Just my dad!” I don’t think the flight crew was impressed!

  19. Frank

    I wonder just how TSA would handle trying to take an urn of ashes on a flight nowadays. The many questions are morbidly humorous… except they prolly would find no humor in it.

  20. Amy

    My mother-in-law is on top of a bookshelf in our home office. (She came in checked luggage in 2006 and it wasn’t a problem.) She’s supposed to be sprinkled in the Pacific Ocean, but here we are, almost 8 years later, and she’s still just hanging out in the office.

    My father, on the other hand, was sprinkled almost immediately. The crematorium just gave us three film canisters of the ashes, because a full-grown person is a LOT of stuff to sprinkle. I don’t know what they do with the rest, but I’m hoping it involves fertilizing the incredibly lush grass around that funeral home.

  21. Karen R

    I’ve told my family I want the absolute minimum spent on me after my death. I’m an organ donor, and I’m hoping to be donated to a medical school afterward. If not, cremated, with my ashes scattered above a Nordstrom. :-) Or my husband can take a cruise and scatter my ashes on the ocean.

  22. Miss Shell

    I have joked with my son that I want to be cremated, and that in order for him to receive his inheritance he has to put my ashes in a lamp, with a small port hole (so that I can see out, and he can see in), and that the lamp is to be placed next to his bed. His father has now joined in on this joke. I think we will make a lovely set of bedside lamps ;-)

  23. Mame

    My friend Chris can’t bring herself to sprinkle her parent’s ashes so they remain in temporary urns on a table in her family room. The urns look like coffee cans spray painted gold. I’ve told my daughter that I would like to be cremated, sprinkled on the carpet and vacuumed up, a la David Sedaris’ cat, as I’ve never been that fond of the outdoors. My daughter has so many plans for my ashes, she’s going to need cremation helper. Some for a little ceremony in the living room, vacuumed up with a dedicated Roomba. I had to veto writing my name and dates on the Roomba with puff paint. Some for a diamond. Some to shoot into space. The final amount she plans to sent to my friend Chris in a Altoids tin, spray painted gold, so that I can visit with Chris’ parents.

  24. Valerie

    Most of my late husband is scattered on a lake where he spent much of his childhood fishing. But it’s nine hours away. So, I kept a little of his ashes to be mixed with mine eventually.

    For me, there is a definite connection to that lake, though. Only I’ve only been back once since he passed away and I was shocked at how emotional it made me. I think I’d find somewhere closer to home for both of us if I had it to do over.

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