In 2021 I received a call from a guy named Adam who was calling me from Volcano, CA. Adam proceeded to tell me that he had heard of this new idea called Terramation and wanted to know if I could help him by answering some of his questions about the process. I was still new to the process of Terramation but I would give it my best attempt. During the course of our conversation Adam began to tell me about his 99 year old Mother named Ruth and what a remarkable life she had lived. You see Ruth lived with Adam and Adam was her caregiver. As Adam's story progressed he shared with me that Ruth was the daughter of Bernard Zakheim, one of the 25 artists who painted murals inside of Coit Tower in San Francisco, CA. In fact Mr. Zakheim had even painted Ruth when she was a young women into his mural located in the Coit Tower.
Ruth is the young woman in the front row dressed in Blue and white in this photo of Mr. Zakheim's mural. As our conversation continued Adam and I discussed what would happen if Ruth died in California and wanted to choose Terramation as her form of disposition. As is the case as of the date of this blog, Terramation is not currently a legal form of human disposition in the State of California. Adam and I spent the next few minutes brainstorming how we might transport Ruth to Washington after her death. Then the question came up, "Can I transport my mother to you in Washington?" With a little research of the States of California, Oregon and Washington's laws we discovered that this idea was perfectly legal. I connected Adam with a local funeral provider to bring them up to speed as to our thought of family transport and what their responsibility may be in the process. We were very fortunate to find a local funeral provider that understood our request to have Adam transport his mother but most importantly that did not try to convince us that embalming would be required to leave the State of California. With all the plans put firmly in place, Adam and I ended our daily conversations for about nine months or so.
On Aug 30, 2022 I received and email from Adam with a simple subject line that read "Ruth passed so peacefully this morning." Ruth Had lived 100 years and 19 days and had the great fortune to pass away in her home with her son at her side. It was now time to put the plans we had previously made into place. Once all the permits were received Adam rented a vehicle and placed his mother's shipping container in the back of the vehicle and headed north to Washington. Adam was met at Return Home by our employees who assisted in the offloading process. "The first thing was to check on Mom" Adam said. After Ruth remains were received unharmed Adam sat down with the team at Return Home to finalize the pre-plans we made the year before. Ruth has now begun her Terramation journey and Adam has safely returned back to Volcano.
Now we wait for the Terramation process to be complete before Ruth can be returned home to California. I unfortunately never had the opportunity to meet Ruth. However, I feel a real connection to her through the stories shared with me by her Son Adam. To quote the famous Television character, John "Hannibal" Smith, "I love it when a plan comes together." Through Adam's interest in pre-planning, we were able to assist him and his family with an easy transition from California to Washington for the Terramation of our friend Ruth.
Rest In God's Peace, Ruth.