Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Something quite extraordinary is going to happen in the funeral business. A new and exciting frontier that is close to becoming a reality. IT'S BIO-CREMATION TIME YO!
You say "Wha???"
Bio-cremation is an environmentally focused “end of life” option for people choosing cremation over burial. I heard about this technology at a funeral industry convention, and during the presentation I had to restrain from jumping up on the table in wild and uncontrolled enthusiasm...I don't know why but something about this process feels inherently right. Maybe it's the fact that our traditionally sleepy industry is moving ahead alongside other industry initiatives and accepting the fact that we need to consider the Earth instead of trashing and rampaging it.
As far as I can tell, this technology is globally lead and trademarked to Matthews International Cremation Division, an American company that has had success within various U.S. state legislations to allow the process to be practised. It's an eye opening scientific process that will surely raise a few eyebrows, but all drastic change ruffles feathers, right?
Now forgive me, I am not great with scientific explanations but I'll give the concept a go. Cremation by definition is reducing the body to its basic elements of bone fragments through the use of heat. The Bio Cremation technology replaces the use of flame with the utilisation of water, blended with an alkali solution of potassium hydroxide. I know right! The steps involved are technical but not too overwhelming when explained well. I'll pop up a link and if you're interested and read all about it (I highly recommend you do!).
Anyway, this process is so environmentally-friendly because there are almost zero air emissions admitted into the atmosphere. The by-product (effluent) from is sent to water recycling where it is filtered, purified and recycled back to earth. Basically, our body is recycled and without harm to the environment. We return turn to the earth through a cycle of life, feeding trees and making stuff greener.
Hoorah! Oh, and there are you tube clips too, so you can learn just as much as I know. I wouldn't mind heading to the states and bringing the technology back to Australia, anyone feel like sponsoring??? I can only dream.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
As a child I loved the movie The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy Gaaaaaaale.
Most girls born in the 80's (and surrounding decades for that matter) probably shared this fascination. I loved it because it scared the crap out of me, and I loved how perfect Dorothy's braids were, how degraded the lollypop kids seemed, and how the wicked witch melts so theatrically in the end. Between about 1989 and 1993 I can honestly say that I attempted to watch it every single day after kindy and then school. Even today if I watch it I fall into a subconcious time warp and can recite each line without exerting any cognitive effort.
You can imagine how stoked I was when I learned that my nannas name wasn't actually nanna, but it was Dorothy. Dorothy Veitch, of Sunbury Victoria. Wifey to George and mother to a bazillion.
My grandpa George was amazing, and one of the few relatives that I really understood as a child. We shared a pretty amazing bond for people generations apart in age, states apart in distance, yet so similar in heart and mind. I was devastated when he died in about 1995. Maybe it was 1996?. He was fishing around Lake Eppalock in Victoria when his line got snagged. Appararently he threw off his clothes, jumped in to save his stash and either had a heart attack or drowned because he was pretty darn old. (mental note to self: Why don't I know the actual story?). At some stage in my angsty teens I think I even believed he had killed himself to escape our clan, because at that stage I was engrossed in bitterness and I thought he must have been too.
I really do need to ask my mum how he died, but back then all I was told was that pa 'went to heaven' doing something that he really loved. Still, it's a big bummer that he's gone and an even bigger bummer for me that I still haven't learnt very much about his life. I remember watching MASH together, reading Graeme Base books together, laughing and lamenting about how ridiculously crazy our family was. I hate the word cherish, but its a description that lamely springs to mind when I think about him in his scungy blue workmans overalls that his wardrobe practically wholly consisted of.
Anyway, back to his wife. Ol' Dot.
She scared me just as much as the crazy flying monkeys did in the Wizard of Oz. I don't really know why. Probably because Pa made fun of her and her big bum. You see, nan was a fairly large lady in her mothering and grandmothering years, and I remember thinking that she could sit on me by accident on the couch and I'd squash like a ribena berry. She made peas so soggy that they looked like something I'd see in the mortuary, and as I child I thought her house smelt not dissimilar to a corspe either.
All this aside, I've grown up and I'm now looking back. I'm hungry to see out of these eyes that I have inherited. I want to understand my genes, and learn how to win the winnings and leave the losings.
I went to see Nan when I was in Melbourne last week. Back in Sunbury, I felt guilt and regret for not returning sooner. The last time I was in the locality it was easy for me to drop into Nan's Barkly Street house. All her children grew up there, the extensive majority of her days started and finished there, and all my memories of Pa were there.
Nan is now in a nursing home, a no-frills one near to the cemetery where pa is buried. She has reasonably bad dementia, but when I sat beside her she grabbed my hand fiercely and studied my face for an eternity. Eyes darting back and forth, she knew that I was from her, but not how I had come to be beside her.
It was amazing. After a while, she knew who I was and told me that she always had loved me. I thought that was odd, because I was really a little shit growing up, but it was a touching moment none the less. We talked about how she felt trapped and bored, but that she was accepting of ageing and the fact that life is unrefutedly dictated by the clock.
I said goodbye, feeling odd that in that very half an hour we'd become closer together than in any other time in the twenty six years that I've been around. We were both scared and confused, but wanted to be together more than we could comprehend. Both of us trying to remember past days that were too few and are too far gone.
I don't want her to die before I know what she's all about. That would be a bummer. Also, she thinks I'm a nurse for some reason and I'm just going to let that white lie be.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I'm in post-public speaking reverie. The convention, and my brief but terrifying stint as an expert is over for now...
I had to speak very recently in front of a particularly large group of experienced industry professionals. The presentation, complimented by a delightfully colourful slideshow, was required after winning a scholarship late last year. Let me add that this was the SCARIEST DAMN EXPERIENCE I HAVE EVER HAD in my 26.5 years on the planet. Scary, but unbelievably rewarding.
I highly respected the faces I could see in the room. It seemed that all eyes focused on me and my quivering eyebrow. I couldn't pick up my glass of water because my hands shook and my arms wouldn't function without jerking as if I was doing the robot. My heart thumped in my chest so much that my stomach and ribs pained me. In short, my mortality was brought into question.
I don't know how I did it. Similarly, I don't know how I fooled people into thinking that I was comfortable. I thought my voice sounded foreign, but others complimented my poise. Poise, whilst fearing that a bucket was required for a speedy breakfast removal.
After the presentation my endorphin levels skyrocketed and I felt a rush of pride. Business cards were slipped to me quicker than an E at mardi gras. I can't remember the last time I really surprised myself, or did something that made me feel like I was really achieving. Most of the time I'm shaking my head at my immaturity and comfortable averageness, laughing at questionable homonyms and miserably failing at recalling punchlines...
I DID IT!
P.S.Thank you bar man (who looked like a cast member of Party Down), for your kind words and alcohol-based supply of courage in the lead up.