I’ve never thought about what would happen when I die. I guess those thoughts of who will miss me, how my family would cope, or what would happen to my possessions have crossed my mind at some point of my 20 years of life, but I’ve never thought about if I wanted to be buried or cremated, or if I wanted my ashes scattered across a river.
In Rachel Cochran’s “Inheritance,” the story focuses on Ravi’s duty to scatter his father’s ashes across the River Ganga in order to release his father’s soul.
Even though scattering my ashes across a river isn’t the most common ritual in my family or culture, Cochran’s story reminded me of how certain rituals tie us to our culture, to our world, and to that other world most people wish to venture to after they die. Whether it’s telling stories to my little brothers, cooking shrimp stirfry with my mom, or singing in the choir every Sunday with my sisters, these things tie me to my family, my culture, and to the world in which we live.
I doubt my ashes will be scattered across the River Ganga, but I think it would be cool to be buried near my hometown and for my family to always share my stories of when we cooked stirfry and sang in the choir.
Be sure to check out Cochran’s story as well as all the other wonderful works in our 2011 issue: Reconciliation.