On Not That Kind of Death: An Interview With Caitlin Doughty


My husband insisted for years that only a Viking funeral would do. I have talked to him repeatedly down and he's finally conceded that it would be OK to just sneak some of his ashes onto a tiny paper boat and set that alight on a lake, which is a nice step back from the thing where his body would need to be smuggled, whole, to an adequately isolated body of water, then a boat that could be sacrificed would need to be obtained, then a second boat would need to be obtained from which an archer could shoot a flaming arrow onto the other boat. I asked him to please back down from this as I intended to be incredibly sad when he died and not up to organizing such a thing, but it took a few years of convincing (and in fact, took until recently when we were helping after his grandmother's death and he really thought about the whole thing and how complicated it all can already be).

My plans aren't terribly precise, but they shouldn't be too bad to execute: donate literally every part of me that can be used for science or recycling, and if there's anything else, go ahead and cremate me and, if you feel the need for a marker somewhere, put it where it would be convenient for the people who are left behind to visit it. It doesn't have to be the same places where my ashes end up. This is basically the same as my parents' wishes, and I appreciate that about them - they said if a marker was to be put up, put it somewhere that's meaningful and convenient to me, not some arbitrary place of their choosing. There are some nice cemeteries (and I'm a cemetery and genealogy geek, so I do love them) in the area, but there's no reason to believe they would be convenient for my survivors eventually. I appreciate that my family talks about this, too.

I work in a research office at a major university, in an office with a name that causes the switchboard to transfer all kinds of random questions to us, and we have twice in the last three years gotten calls about how to donate one's body to science (or one's recently-deceased-husband's body, in one case). We put them on hold, looked it up, and now keep that information handy. I know I'd never thought about the specifics before, beyond "letting everyone know it's my wish."

Posted on October 28, 2014 at 2:32 pm 1

On How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Second Wedding

Oh wow. This could be me. I married at 23, we split at 24 on my basically unilateral decision, and remarried last September at 29, and I felt all of these things acutely. Thank you for writing this.

Posted on June 30, 2014 at 12:15 pm 2

On DJ Earworm's "United States of Pop" Mix Is Here

@Suddenlyjen These ALWAYS make me tear up. I think some of it is just the beauty of the way all the musical & lyrical themes come together, but also it always takes me on a musical tour of my emotions from the whole past year. 2013 is full of good tears (I had a lovely year and married a lovely man); 2009 is one that still makes me cry because it covers the end of my first marriage and my awful, rocky rebound. But they're all delicious and epic and can make me cry even if I DON'T think about my personal associations with the songs.

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 11:49 am 0

On Now That I'm Married, I Only Use Crystal

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 3:13 pm 0

On Ask a Glutton: When Your Food Groups Are Cheese, Chocolate, and Coffee

"The (Reluctant , Nervous, Lazy, Broke, Busy, Confused) College Student's Cookbook" is one that I actually recommend to lots of people who want to make cheap, varied food, especially if they're newish at cooking, as I was when I got this book. It is less a series of recipes than a series of very short articles on how to make something delicious out of whatever you have on hand. It'll give suggestions, sure, but in general it'll give you overall cooking instructions for a lot of different foods and ideas on how to make them more interesting (like "Batted, Fried Anything" and "Tacos" but also a few very specific recipes). Lots of substitutions are offered. This works best if you do have a real kitchen to work with - I think it's more for people who have an apartment and are willing to buy some spices and stuff than for people who live in a dorm - but I dunno, it was useful to me and helped me get out of the paralyzed, I-don't-have-everything-for-this-recipe-so-I-can't-make-it! place.

Posted on September 3, 2013 at 1:08 pm 2

On Friday Open Thread

@Scandyhoovian Ugh, yes, I also had my gallbladder freak out and need to be removed because I lost a bunch of weight. What bullshit. (And also had it happen just a couple months after getting my wisdom teeth out!)

The surgery itself, assuming they do it laparoscopically, is really not at all bad. I had a bad time with the anesthesia, but other than that it really was... easier than getting my wisdom teeth out, with less recovery time, and I felt SO much better even a week afterwards that I wished I'd done it ages ago. If you are someone who ever gets motion sick (there's a demonstrated correlation between people who get motion sick and people who have bad bad nausea after general anesthesia), talk to your anesthesiologist/surgeon/nurse and ask if you can wear a motion sickness patch during the surgery or something else they suggest to avoid having a bad reaction to the anesthesia. Seriously, it took me like 5 days to get over the yuckiness of the anesthesia reaction but by then I felt basically fine from the actual surgery.

Anyway, sending you good thoughts on the health and work fronts!

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 7:52 pm 0

On Friday Open Thread

@Chareth Cutestory Yes, yes, on the zucchini noodles. I love zucchini noodles in cheese-free lasagna. So good.

I tried to do the whole 30 and about 15 days in gave up a lot of it specifically so I would keep on the wagon with avoiding Diet Coke (I'd been drinking liters and liters of it every single day for years, and dammit it was time to quit for real). I've thought about trying again, but either way I am super-indebted to it for getting me off Diet Coke (9 months yesterday!) and teaching me a lot of low-carb good recipes.

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 7:45 pm 0

On That Baby Wants to Break You Up

Ooof. I have always assumed I'd have a child someday, and now I am set to marry someone who does not want one, and occasionally I think that it would be great if I could convince him, but I love our relationship as it is right now SO MUCH that it's hard to think about, even when I only think about the good parts of having kids. This is a useful reminder to cherish what I have and not push for things when I'm pretty sure it's 99% biological/social imperative rather than an actual desire to do this to my life.

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm 1

On A Proposal Regarding Proposals

@werewolfbarmitzvah I have set up a special email address where I send FEELINGS letters (and other private journal-type things) so I can send them and not send them to the person in question.

Posted on September 4, 2012 at 4:40 pm 3

On A Proposal Regarding Proposals

@cecil hungry I have lived with my dude for a few years and we just kick each other out of the house at least once a week. Others' mileage may vary, but it helps me a lot (I REALLY didn't want to give up alone time entirely).

Posted on September 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm 1