How do you want to be remembered after death? It has made me think about a Chinese Emperor who was found buried together with thousands statues of his army and officials. It is believed that he wanted to take them to his next life. I’m not very sure if his morbid ambition would be true but did he realize that he had left one of the greatest archeological wonders in human civilization? The first Qin Emperor ‘Qin Shihuang Lin’ was laid to rest together with 8000 human size statues of his soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 250 cavalry horses.

Replica Qin Terracotta Soldier

The picture is a replica of a Qin Emperor’s Statue that my hubby gave me as a Christmas present few years ago.

Last year, I had a chat with a relative of mine and she said that she told her sons and daughter to be kind and generous for her while she is still alive and it is no use and just waste of money to give her an over the top funeral and tomb stone. Then she told me a story about some of the rich mausoleums. They resemble miniature opulent mansions all made of marble stone. She said that too many poor people didn’t even have enough money to eat, how could you be laid to rest in peace with such waste of money?

The other day my son saw me re-potting my bonsai trees and for awhile he was standing there watching what I was doing. I said to him that he has to learn how to look after bonsai so in the future after I have died he will know how to do it. I also said that in Japan and China bonsai trees are passed on from generation to generation. I know that he hates gardening and jokingly he said that he could bury me with all my bonsai trees so that I could look after them over there. Yes, yes very funny, I said and we both ended up laughing.

After that conversation with my son, I have started to think about life, death and funeral. I remember one time I attended a funeral and in the speech for the celebration of life, there was a very long list and details about all the places from all around the world that the departed visited during her life time. I know that she loved to travel, but I started to think if it was necessary to tell everyone all those travel details while there were more important things to recall like for examples the personality, the life struggles, the pain and joy of life…..

I think a speech to celebrate a life during a funeral should be an honest account about the person, about his/her positive and negative traits. It reminds me of a daughter who talked about her mother on her funeral and she did it cleverly and honestly. In a nostalgic way she reminisced some of the squabbles between herself and her mother when she was younger. She mentioned how tough, stubborn and pig headed her mother was a lot of times, but she was thankful for her strong upbringing and true motherly love that had lead her to a successful achievement in her life. The speech was delivered casually and it was beautiful, funny and sad all at the same time.

I can’t imagine to be buried with all my bonsai trees on the top of my coffin. Instead I prefer to be cremated and then toss my ash at the open sea so that I will forever travel all around the world.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905-2004)