I went in the American car of a doctor from my class of doctor's and Leader Lee, a nurse from my class, and another one of my students were in the car on the return trip. My landlord was there and so were a dozen notable members of the local government, including the head of the health bureau and a deputy principle from the High School Attached to Northeast Normal University. Janet, the widow, did all right and her son was there, too. He looks like her.
|Imagine fifteen of these (only oblong) being thrown into a fire.|
For me, the most appalling part was that we burned ten of fifteen 6x3 foot panels of styrofoam with plastic flowers in a big open air chimney at the conclusion of the ceremony. That will happen a couple dozen more times today. The western part of Changchun, where the private funeral home is, was home to the first car plant and was as polluted as Shenyang. The black soot issuing from the chimney as we drove away was disconcerting. There is a new train station being built very close to the funeral home. Steve, my doctor friend, told me that the municipal cremation place is on the other side of the city and that there are only two in all of Changchun--a city of 7 million or so.
How you decide to honor and deal with the bodies of 1.3 billion people is not a small matter. I remember the most fascinating Green Drinks that I attended in Concord was a couple of women who specialize in green burial practices. If you have any interest, see Green Burial - the final recycling effort.