Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Many a time I have been in love with easeful death" Keats

"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - Other Lessons from the Crematory" by Caitlin Doughty   WW Norton   254 pages   $24.95

Doughty was eight years old when an incident at the local mall traumatized her for life.  She saw a little girl fall to her death two floors down and never forgot the "thud."  She was not treated for trauma as in 1993 Hawaiin kids weren't routinely taken to a doctor.
Today she is a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice.  Her Websites are The Order of the Good Death and (co-founded) Death Salon.  This book was based on her experiences learning the trade. 

There are tidbits from 'way behind the scenes - a person who dies in hospital requires a special gurney to take the body to the van headed to the mortuary.  The gurney looks empty, sheets flat on the bed, the body concealed underneath in a tub.

How many corpses can you carry in a Dodge van?  Eleven, stacked like cordwood. 

She knowledgably discusses curious funeral practices of old.  Even today in Japan, it is customary for the family members to gather around the bones and, using chopsticks, put the bones in urns - starting first with the bones of the feet so that the deceased can walk upright. 

No comments: