This is the second in our series on questions and answers about cremation. We appreciate the feedback and comments we have received on our previous blog.
Martin Oaks Cemetery and Crematory is located just north of the Dallas Fort Worth airport in Lewisville, Texas. Our historic cemetery was founded around the time of the Civil War and contains many beautiful, vintage grave markers. The crematory, one of the oldest in the southwest, dates to the mid-1980’s; during that time, we have provided final disposition services to thousands of families throughout the state of Texas and adjoining states. We work with numerous licensed funeral directors in the area to offer the best in deathcare assistance.
As we noted in our previous piece, acceptance of a passing can be a very difficult process.
The unwillingness to acknowledge a death is almost a universal phenomenon. We remember what a professional therapist had to say about this — he quoted a Groucho Marx bit of humor that has more than just a grain of truth in it. Marx said of death, “I know everyone dies. I was just hoping that in my case an exception might be made.”
Unfortunately, this is not an area where exceptions are granted.
Again, should denial and grief become too overwhelming to deal with, professional help may be required.
Complicating a passing are the circumstances families find thrust upon them. Is it best to have a service or not? Do we prefer cremation or traditional burial? If we bury — even after a cremation, cremains may be interred — what type of marker is most appropriate?
As we have pointed out in the past, the easiest and most convenient procedure, at least from our viewpoint, is to have these details pre-planned. The stress of dealing with a passing can only be made more difficult when other decisions — decisions that can be irreversible — must be made.
Sitting down with a qualified funeral director is something that can relieve this anxiety, especially when such a meeting is held prior to the loved one’s final days.
Speaking of those final days, they too may be fraught with agonizing choices — particularly when it comes to choices that involve medical care. Obviously, physicians and other medical experts are the best at aiding those decisions.
All of us at a certain age have had experiences with these situations — individual differences and preferences are the guideposts that need to be considered.
We recently read an account of the passing of the famed writer, Paddy Chayefsky (pictured above). There are a few lessons to be learned from this real life, real death event.
As some of you may know, Chayefsky was a multi-talented, major writer in several arenas.
His scripts — movies like Network, Marty, The Americanization of Emily, The Hospital and others — were not only box office hits but also critically much honored.
Chayefsky is the only solo writer to have received three Academy Awards for screenplays; others have won three Oscars, but have shared those with a co-writer. Chayefsky also penned Broadway plays and novels, experiencing success (and accompanying awards) in those endeavors as well.
The Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement, named in his honor, remains one of the most coveted and prestigious prizes in Hollywood.
But, awards aside, like all of us, Chayefsky had to face his own mortality.
When he fell ill for the final time in 1980 with cancer, Chayefsky did agree to chemotherapy, but he would not agree to surgery. This necessitated adjustments by all concerned.
Chayefsky died on August 1, 1981 at the relatively young age of 58. It was said that he went out on his own terms.
A moving and insightful portrayal of Chayefsky’s brave passing is available in “Mad as Hell, The Life and Work of Paddy Chayefsky” by Shaun Considine. It is worth reading for a host of reasons, one of them being understanding how each individual may go out on her or his own terms.