After all the health problems my father went through the past few weeks, I seriously thought that I was going to be planning his funeral. Thank God I can put that off for now. My mother and I discussed where he should be buried, as my father has indicated no preference. There's a cemetery out in Long Island that many of our family's Korean acquaintances are buried at. But that seemed far away.
My next door neighbor had his wife cremated and kept her ashes over his fireplace for 10 years until he passed away at the age of 88. He said he missed her all the time. I used to think that was kind of creepy until I realized how much I was going to miss my father when he was gone. (Of course, I could die first and then this post would all be moot.)
I think, as a general rule, people want to be buried in a place that they feel close to. For the longest time I thought I wanted to have my ashes scattered over a mountain in Korea, or over Korea's western coastline where I spent some of the happiest summers and winters. But having been away from Korea for over 5 years now, I am acutely aware that my heart isn't as close to those places as it used to be. At the moment I would have to say that I want to be buried next to my parents (which will probably be somewhere around New York City) since they have become my best friends and supporters. I told my brother as much (and I kind of hope I die before he does because I think it would be so sad to be the last surviving member of my immediate family.)
Maybe one day I will meet someone who loves me as much as I love him. Then I think I would want to be buried next to him. Of course, death can come at any time so there's no guarantee where I would end up.
I read the other day that in about 2.5 billion years, our Milky Way galaxy will collide with the Andromeda galaxy and when that happens there won't be any Earth anymore and everything buried on this planet will revert to being the stardust from which we all came. In middle school we learn that the heaviest element the sun can produce is helium. But not many bother reasoning that over 90 elements on this earth--many of which are in our bodies--came from somewhere outside our solar system. I think that's kind of spectacular--that we are all made of stardust that floated in from somewhere far, far away. And that one day we'll be back out there roaming the universe until by some miracle we come back to life once again.