T had to go back to his mother's family home in Munford (with an "n"), TN to attend his uncle's funeral, or as he puts it, "had to take a couple days off and do the dead-uncle thing."
It was one of those traditional open-casket affairs with a separate "viewing," service, and interment. When they got to the cemetery, the huge over-built oak casket was lowered into what his relatives said was a very expensive copper sarcophagus or vault or whatever.
His family religion (Assembly of God, I believe) subscribes to the same belief that most of my older relatives hold that Jesus will need to know where the body is so that he can resurrect it when He comes again and that the body needs to be intact. In fact, T's mother considers cremation an abomination.
When my grandmother was explaining to me once why they bury people in lead or concrete vaults, I asked her what happens to people like soldiers who were blown to bits in the trenches in World War I where no trace of their bodies were ever found. She said not to worry, that the Lord would take care of everything. Of course, I had to ask why, if the Lord could find all the pieces in one instance, he couldn't do so in another. Aren't we putting limits on the Almighty here? Her reply was something along the lines of, "Yes, He can do anything, but if we intentionally make extra work for Him, He's not going to be as happy with us as He would be otherwise." I let it drop.
The point is that pretty much everyone I know anywhere near my own age wants to be cremated when they go. My personal preference would be for them to use any organs that are usable, let Med students practice on the rest, then grind up what's left and use it for fertilizer. I realize that cremating the final residue is probably as close as the law will allow. I do not want some semi-preserved, twisted, dried out facsimile of myself lying around for four hundred years.
There was a truly hideous tale on PBS the other night in which they were exhuming the body of some guy who was rumored to have been a patron of Shakespeare's. There's a group that believes that most, if not all, of Shakespeare's stuff was written by Christopher Marlow in exile after he "faked" his death in order to escape a bunch of spies and government officials who wanted him out of the picture. This group suspects that Shakespeare's "patron" was really a go-between who received the plays, sonnets, and whatever else from Marlow and either gave them to a real Shakespeare who published them under his own name or published them under the name of a totally fictitious Shakespeare.
Anyway, they thought that this patron guy might have been buried with some papers that would prove that Marlow wrote Shakespeare's work. The guy was buried in a lead vault four hundred years ago. When they opened it, his remains had liquefied and stayed that way the whole time. Ick!!! He was nothing but soup. The lead, because of its weight and malleability, had apparently formed an air-tight chamber in which the anaerobic bacteria did what they could then chemical decomposition took over until an equilibrium was reached where nothing was going to decompose further and nothing could escape, not even water vapor so that the whole mess would dry up. Needless to say, they found no papers. See what I mean?
I suppose even an amateurish attempt at embalming might prevent the soup scenario, but Jeez! I would rather be nothing but a memory (or not even) than end up a grotesque reminder of the impermanence of the human body.