By Cormac MacConnell
The organic truth this week for you hardy band of faithful readers is that I’ve at last decided to discard a lifelong desire for a traditional chapel funeral (in the hopefully quite distant future), with clansmen staggering under the weight of my ornate casket. with bright brass handles and suchlike.
I’m instead going to support the global campaign, for survival of the human race, to protect our planet from the frightening threats posed by dire climate change.
It was the reports about the Arctic and the Antarctic melting at an escalating rate by the day and hour that changed my mind.
I swear, I will now head to the Shannon Crematorium for my final journey, and there be rapidly cremated into gritty grey ashes which will enrich Mother Earth greatly, over time.
It hurts more than a little not to be saying farewell to my family and friends the old way, because the MacConnells always had highly enjoyable wakes and funerals down the decades.
I’ve relished a lot of them in my time, as have many of you more seasoned readers out there along the Wild Atlantic Way and elsewhere across the island and beyond in the diaspora everywhere.
But the time has come when it is vital we take a stand, and that is why I am opting for cremation, as my thanks to Mother Earth for countless favours received to date.
And there again is a fragment of the pure truth.
This serious issue has already been fully debated with my wife, family, and friends.
They were a little shocked, at first, maybe because — as one son joked — they were already looking forward to a lively MacConnell funeral, garnished with music and craic, as always in the past.
But they finally fully agreed and supported my cremation plans, especially when they heard the full dimensions of it.
In the election excitement of the moment, with all parties expressing their plans to detoxify our planet urgently, I was hugged and clapped on the back warmly, but commanded not to go up in Shannon smoke anytime too soon.
Several family members, including my good wife, even committed themselves to following my example, when their expiry dates arrive.
My plan, you see, is that I will be borne to Shannon in the cheapest organically perfect cane coffin, no brass handles or anything like that, speedily cremated after a brief service there and then, without delay, my ashes brought back home to Killaloe in the cheapest possible available urn.
They will then be scattered liberally under the willows at the end of our little garden.
They very quickly thereafter will add their nutrient content to the roots of the whisperingly deciduous willows.
In that fashion, they will greatly enrich the willow’s growth and contribution to the local atmosphere around Lough Derg and the silvery Shannon nearby.
I’d like to imagine that those willows will whisper their gratitude to me, then in the other dimension, whenever the winds blow gently in the night.
All the ashes will be retained in our compact little garden, and not brought away to any other location.
I’ve no wish at all for any of them to be conveyed across our troublesome border, back to the Fermanagh of my birth and youth.
I was glad to leave there in my late teens and, no matter how long the period before my cremation, that border, with all its tensions and troubles, will still be a reality for those around it.
I sadly but confidently predict that there is another pure enough truth.
It is a reality at present that the nation’s crematoria are all extremely busy.
Are the traditional chapel funerals with the expensive mahogany coffins with those brass handles becoming an element of our yesterdays?
I have learned that, no matter when my time for cremation arrives (hopefully not anytime soon!), I will likely have to join a queue, and take my turn, before being converted into those grey and gritty ashes exclusively for the benefit of Mother Nature’s willows at the bottom of our garden.
Times have surely changed.
In this instance, certainly for the better, in my view.
Shannon has always been associated with skywards journeys towards the stars and neighbouring planets in our galaxy, and I will rest comfortably and quietly in my organic cane box, not complaining at all, until it is my turn to go up in smoke.
We’ll leave it there for now.
Be careful out there until we meet again.