Burning Memories Germinating In Your Head

, , , , , | Related | June 21, 2017

(When I was about seven years old, my mother’s aunt died. I over hear the adults talking about the funeral and cremation.)

Me: “What’s cremation?”

Mum: “Oh, it’s instead of being buried, [Great Aunt #1] is going into a special fire.”

Me: *horrified* “They are going to burn her?”

Mum: “Yes, that’s what cremation is.”

(I had never known Great Aunt #1 to have a husband and in my mind I decide that’s what was done to unmarried women when they die — they burn them. Before then I thought that all boys were icky and that I would never get married; afterwards I am determined to get married so I don’t get burned when I die. Many years later, my grandmother has passed and my mother has just got her ashes back from the Crematorium.)

Me: “Did I ever tell you what I thought when I was seven, when [Great Aunt #1] died and was cremated?”

Mum: “I don’t think so.”

Me: “I thought that when women who weren’t married died they were burnt as some sort of punishment. That’s what I thought was done to [Great Aunt #1].”

Mum: “Why would you think that? [Great Aunt #1] was married.”

Me: “I never knew she was married.”

Mum: “You’re thinking of [Great Aunt #2]; she wasn’t married.”

Me: “No, we used to visit her in that old house on the highway in [Town] and I don’t ever remember her being married. [Great Aunt #2] lived on [Road] on the other side of [Town].”

Mum: “Oh, no, you wouldn’t have known. [Great Uncle] died before you were born.”

Me: “Anyway, that’s what I thought; then a year or two later, Dad was talking to [His Sisters] about what happens when they bury a body. He said that the germs would get as big as basket balls while they were eating the body.”

Mum: “He was just joking.”

Me: “I know that now, but all I could think of was what would be worse, getting burned or eaten. I figured burning would be quicker and wouldn’t hurt so much.”

Mum: “You don’t feel pain when you are dead.”

Me: “I know that now but I was nine years old.”

(I still shudder at the thought of being eaten by giant germs.)

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