Just been reading Gloriamundi's latest blog post, about whether to choose burial or cremation. I've left instructions with the anatomists that they should bury what's left of me when they've no further use for it, assuming they accept my body bequest in the first place.
Gloriamundi asks, "What price on getting such things right?" Trouble is, things don't always go right. Sometimes it's someone's fault, sometimes it's not. As long as things haven't gone horribly wrong, whatever happened might become part of a family's story, told and retold, about the day you buried Dad, or Gran, or whoever, while you wonder what he or she would have said about it.
There's a green burial site near here where I've conducted a few funerals. One was for a man whose family had prepared a celebration around his grave, with anecdotes, tearful goodbyes, lovely poems, and gentle jokes about his idiosyncrasies. It was to end with an Irish piper, a friend of the family, playing a lament as the coffin was lowered. I said the words of committal, the piper started to play, and the bearers started to lower the coffin. It was a rectangular cardboard coffin, not tapered as most coffins are, and it soon became evident that the grave wasn't big enough. There was a lot of fiddling about and suppressed huffing and puffing, but it was no use; the coffin was stuck. As the piper continued to play, the bearers had to give up and leave it wedged in place at a wonky angle. I don't remember what I said, but everyone laughed and exclaimed that he'd have enjoyed the joke, before they drifted away. An embarrassed funeral director, who had a reputation for making mistakes, stood looking at the coffin. He'd supervised the grave-digging and supplied the coffin, so he couldn't blame anyone else. Maybe he ought to buy a new tape measure, I suggested. He didn't answer.
That was a case of human error. On other occasions, things have gone wrong for reasons beyond anyone's control. Snow, rain and wind can all play a part in funeral ceremonies. There's not much you can do about any of them. Just wear sensible shoes, and hope for the best.