‘I’d like to be rooted’: Changing the way we think about death

Jun 05, 2020
" Imagine if you could go and visit (say) a tree in a forest where your loved one was actually buried and watch it grow and know they were part of that regrowth," writes Brian. Source: Getty Images

Upfront I have to say this is a direct quote from the love of my life — my wife! “I’d like to be rooted when I’m dead!”

At first it shocked me but then she started to explain … “I don’t want a funeral. I don’t want to be a body in a box or cremated. What an absolute waste!”

As it happens we have both registered to be organ donors when we leave this mortal coil. If you want to do this too just make sure you complete the appropriate Australian Government forms and add it to your last will and testament.

My wife’s next request is to have her body placed in a sack that can help grow new forests. It’s a biodegradable burial pod called the ‘Capsular Mundi’.

Think about it. How environmentally ‘unfriendly’ are coffins! They take up space, use resources such as wood and metal, not to mention the huge cost … and achieve absolutely nothing! As for cremations, do you really want the ashes of a loved one staring you in the face every day? Aren’t the memories enough?

For now unfortunately the biodegradable burial pod, which is an Italian project that envisions an eco-sustainable approach to the way we think about death, is for ashes only, but no doubt this will ‘improve’ to include full corpses … Much like the body farm reported by the ABC in 2016 where “behind a high-security fence at a secret bushland location outside of Sydney lies one of the only body farms in the world, where scientists are studying the various ways human corpses decompose”.

In fact we’ve already done something similar over the years for our much loved doggies. All of them except one have been buried at our house under a specific tree. When we lived in Spain years ago, our much loved European rescue dog Picasso was interred close to a familiar tree that we could always go back to and ‘remember’.

More recently over a period of years, our three poodles and much loved baby bichon were ‘rested’ under several trees around our house. The amazing thing was the memories were ignited in us every time each tree blossomed.

For our first boy here in Australia — Cosmo, named because of the night we picked him up, which was a brilliant starry night — was buried under a tree just outside our front doorway. Cosmo was prone to showing his ‘boy bits’ when aroused for some reason and whenever the tree flowered with its bright pink flowers, we would say “Aw look, Cosmo’s got his ‘pink boy’ out again!”

Such is the memory of something ‘natural’ to link a deceased loved one — whether human or animal.

Seriously, the fact that we can be reminded more often of a loved one on a regular basis rather than just the anniversary of their passing is amazing. Imagine if you could go and visit (say) a tree in a forest where your loved one was actually buried and watch it grow and know they were part of that regrowth.

in my opinion it is something that brings joy and happiness rather than a ‘date that you’d rather forget’!

Death is inevitable for all of us, but let’s see how we can make something positive out of what is ultimately a loss. The loss of a much loved one.

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Have you thought about how you'd like to be remembered when you die? Have you spoken about your wishes with your family?

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