Planning Wonder Woman’s Funeral

wonderwoman_dl“Today we’re going to get into small groups,” my thanatology teacher announced as she handed out a list of questions we were supposed to answer based on course and lecture material.  The challenge: planning Wonder Woman’s funeral.

Wonder Woman, according to our assignment, had passed away after many years of kicking butt as a sexy caped crusader in the name of justice.  Because she was loved the world over Ms. Wonder Woman’s only direct request was that her funeral service, body disposition (what’s done to the body), and final disposition (the body’s final resting place) equally include all of the many unique death-related practices from around the world without offending or marginalizing anyone.  The request was sweet … but not simple.

As my three funeral planning collaborators and I sat puzzling over whether to go with cremation or embalming it became clear that even in a world where superheroes roamed the Earth, despite appearing noble and loving for a universal icon to not choose favorites when it came to cultures, her request wasn’t practical or even possible.  Not only are many of the death-related traditions vastly different, it’s flat out impossible to sprinkle someone’s cremains and embalm them while simultaneously doing a green burial, it just can’t happen.  And, therefore, someone’s not going to be happy.

“Ugh.  If only Wonder Woman had just said what she wanted,” one of my partners moaned. “Then people could’ve accepted the funeral choices, whatever they were, as honoring her wishes even if wasn’t what they would’ve done.”  Unfortunately for us Wonder Woman had not considered the level of stress and frustration her vague request would cause her funeral planners.

As I weighed various personal, cultural, and religious reasons for cremation versus embalming trying to determine which one Wonder Woman would’ve preferred, it occurred to me that “don’t spend a lot of money”—my only stipulation for my own funeral and body disposition—was just as unpractical and potentially problematic as Wonder Woman’s request.  No matter how well my family knew me they would still be left guessing about the specifics: “Would she have preferred embalming, cremation, or an earth burial?  What about a viewing?  Should it be a secular or religious funeral?  And what about a grave marker?”

I realized not giving my family any details would be like when a friend says “You know what I like” in response to what she wants for lunch.  Instead of her nonspecific order helping the situation, it just makes things unnecessarily difficult for everyone.  It might be impossible to please all the inhabitants of Earth, but I can at least take some of the future burden off of my family members by given them at least a few more practical details about what I’d prefer.


57 thoughts on “Planning Wonder Woman’s Funeral

  1. I cannot stand not knowing straight-up. I will be as blunt with my questions and expect a straight-forward answer. If I don’t get one, because one knows when one is being lied to, I will walk away, not answer my phone/text, send no reply, etc.

  2. Pingback: Planning For The End « Solitary Spinster

  3. Wonder Woman ??? I loved the Sexist Aspect to that simple cartoon .. beats me how will nubile young nothings get titilated on that part .. meanwhile Check out the New Wonder 2010 Michael W Smith’s Latest Offering , 2010

  4. A number of years ago, a high school friend of mine was dying of cancer. She only told a few people (I wasn’t one of them) so after she died I was sad that I didn’t spend more time with her as she had wanted.

    While she was alive she planned and paid for EVERY detail of her service and burial. I mean EVERY detail. Her family and those of us not involved in her plans, all we had to do was show up at her service.

    I am a single mom, so I learned a bit from her foresight. In Sept I will be finished paying for my “burial” spot (can’t remember the actual term). Then I will (again) use a payment plan to pay for my cremation & burial charges. So I am glad not to be a burden on my only child in this regard.

    • Sharon, I’m sorry I didn’t reply to your comment sooner. I’ve been a little under the weather and got behind in online things.

      That’s a beautiful gift for your child! My sociology teacher (who taught the Sociology of Death and Dying) always talked about how planning out how we want things like a funeral/memorial service and burial to be handled (and especially paying for it when possible!), is one of the best gifts we can give those we love. That way, when they’re gone they can grief without worrying if they did what we really wanted and without the financial burden. Thank you for sharing. I think it’s beautiful. 🙂

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