4.9 Chapter Assignment

Dealing with Bodies After Death Assignment

In this chapter you learned about different options for disposal of bodies at end of life. The chapter’s assignment involves reflecting on and planning how you want your body dealt with and how you want to be honoured/remembered/celebrated after death. It is important to complete all chapter materials (chapter content, including all embedded links to readings and videos, and the required course materials) prior to starting the assignment.

Click on the link below for some guidance on things to reflect upon when completing this assignment:

How to Plan a Funeral or Memorial Service

Keep in mind that what you are planning is for you and should therefore be about you and your wishes. You are free to step outside the box and make plans that fit with who you are, your values, beliefs, sensibilities, etc.

Assignment Formatting & Style for Written Report

  • Assignment formatting requirements: Arial 12-point font; 1 inch/2.54 centimeter margins; single spaced; APA in-text citation style, reference section and cover page.
  • Use proper essay/paragraph style for C (the reflection part of the assignment). A heading with bullet points or essay format can be used for parts A and B.
  • Paraphrase as opposed to relying on direct quotes.
  • Proofread your submission to make sure it is clear, well written, and intelligible.

Steps to Completing the Assignment

  1. For body disposal, identify:
    1. Any organs or body parts you wish to donate or if you wish to donate your entire body to science (this requires identifying which Canadian medical schools the donation will go to. There are 20 that accept anatomical donations).
    2. Type of body disposal method you wish for yourself at the end of life (e.g., burial, entombment, cremation, aquamation, green burial, etc.).
    3. Type of vessel to be used for your remains (e.g., traditional casket, simple coffin, wicker or plain wood coffin, cardboard box, urn, traditional shroud, eco-friendly/biodegradable/mushroom shroud, etc.).
    4. Where your remains will go (e.g., traditional cemetery burial plot, mausoleum, urn, natural setting, ash scattering, etc.). If you are choosing cremation or aquamation, be clear if you want part of your remains to be placed in several locations (e.g., spread some ashes, have some in an urn, that then can be buried or put it in a mausoleum, etc.). Ideally, indicate actual location(s) preference(s).
    5. If choosing a traditional cemetery plot, indicate: if you want a grave liner or burial vault, the type of grave marker you want, and what you want written on the marker (type of marker often determines what can be included on it).
  2. Plan the event that will occur after your death to honour you and your life. Reflect on the following:
    1. Will it occur prior to or after body disposal? If prior to and a casket is involved, will your body be present? Will the casket be open at any point? If so, who will be permitted to view the open casket?
    2. What will the event look like (e.g., traditional funeral, small intimate gathering, celebration of life, a wake, religious, secular, etc.)? Will there be flowers, pictures of you, music? If so, be clear about your choices.
    3. What will it involve (e.g., religious service, eulogy(ies), celebratory toasts, a wake, sitting Shiva, etc.)? Will there be food and drinks? If so, what will be served?
    4. Where will it occur (e.g., a religious institution, a funeral home, a local/community gathering location, your home, home of family or friend, graveside, at location of ash dispersal, indoors, outdoors, etc.)
    5. When will it occur (e.g., shortly after death, several weeks or months after your death — so that loved ones have had some time to grieve and can celebrate your life, etc.)?
    6. Who will be there (e.g., will it be public, family only, family and close friends only, etc.)?
    7. Do you want a permanent marker/memorial of your life? What would it be (e.g., a grave marker; name added to a memorial garden; a tree planted in your name; a bench erected in a public space with plaque with your name; a scholarship set up in your name, etc.)?
    8. What percentage of the money spent on your death should go towards body disposal and what percentage to the after death event, celebration, or memorial? In other words, do you want the financial focus to be on body disposal, end of life honouring event, or a memorial in your honour as per VII above?
    9. Do you want people to send flowers, make donations in your honour to commemorate your life, or something else? If donations, where do you want them to go?
  3. In addition to A and B above, write a 350-500 word reflection piece about your experience completing this assignment. Reflect on why you made the choices you did and the experience of completing the assignment.
  4. Cite course materials, via in-text citations and a reference section, to credit the sources you used to inform your choices.

Assignment Submissions must Include

    1. A proper APA style cover page.
    2. Plan for body disposal.
    3. Plan for after death event(s).
    4. A reflection paper.


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On Death and Dying Copyright © 2022 by Jacqueline Lewis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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