Eyebrows have been raised in certain quarters about the fact that singing icon David Bowie chose to have his body cremated privately, even secretly, with no funeral service even for family or close friends to attend. But, while it would not be everybody’s choice, he most definitely got it right – for him.
He did not want a memorial service either and, while his wishes in that respect may be honoured, his remarkable achievements will be remembered via a memorial concert in New York’s Carnegie Hall and at the Brit Awards ceremony at London’s 02 Arena on February 24.
Other artistes will also, no doubt, include tributes in their own performances.
As far as the rapid and private cremation is concerned, I can only admire the man. He wanted no fuss and this was one way to ensure that happened. Many tears are shed at funerals and when people mourn the death of a loved one. But these tears are more for those left behind than the person who has died.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve, it is very much a personal issue. Counsellors will tell you that grief has five stages, these are said to be Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. However, these are certainly not set in stone; it is up to each of us to mourn in our own way.
Bowie knew he was dying and did not want any events to be a focus for people’s grief and, from my point of view, that is to be admired.
Dying without a fuss is a wonderful idea. While we don’t like to talk about dying, it is something that will happen to all of us sooner or later. We are advised to prepare Wills and some make arrangements for our own funerals. While I have not gone that far, yet, I do know that I don’t want a gravestone or a formal grave that can become overgrown. Nor do I want my loved ones to feel a need to visit it – and without any kind of marker they hopefully won’t.
While I trust that I will live for many years yet, my choice is now between two options and I have not yet chosen which. These are to be cremated with ashes spread somewhere of my choosing or a green burial in an eco-friendly, maybe even cardboard, coffin that will enable my body to return to the soil.
As I am a Pagan, interment in a suitable green spot would be the best if I choose the burial option. But it would need to be without any headstone or any other marker where grass can grow over the spot and no sign left.
Like David Bowie, I’d like no fuss but just to be sent on my way to the Summerlands with as little Pagan ceremony as possible.