“Western societies have developed a whole system around condensing and compartmentalizing death. You’re not supposed to see the body in a natural state. Someone takes it away, prepares it to mock life, and then it goes through different rituals before it’s either burned or buried. There’s an illusion present there that death is somehow cleaner that way.” — Wow: the Most Responsible Burial on Earth
I found it interesting and, because it’s not part of my culture, a bit disturbing. On the other hand, it does make a lot of sense. After death the body is no longer a vessel of the soul, it’s just decomposing meat. It only seems natural that in death we should contribute to the cycle of life. Becoming part of the food chain is more logical that trying to preserve our dead bodies, pumped full of preservatives and sealed inside a steel and concrete vault for all all eternity. What purpose does that serve? After we have died, we will never be needing those bodies again.
Our society never wants to see our bodies in their natural state, either alive or dead. The appearance of the dead in their coffins has always made me feel uncomfortable. It’s not because they were dead or because I was grieving but because they never looked natural or as they did in life. Why would I want to have chemicals pumped through my corpse to keep it from decomposing or have my carcass subjected to what amounts to badly executed plastic surgery to make it look “natural”?
When I do finally leave my body, I’d prefer not to have a viewing or a traditional funeral. I’m not my body either in life or in death. Of course, those I leave behind will do what they want. Funerals are for the living. The dead have little to say about it nor do they receive any benefit.
I’m not convinced that funerals really provide the mourners with closure. There is a sense of finality to seeing the coffin closed and being lowered into the ground but finality is not closure. For many, the funeral is the point where the reality of death hits home and the grieving process begins to kick into high gear. Closure may not come until several years later, if at all.