Saturday, 16 July 2011

Would you leave your heart in San Francisco?

I was rather fascinated by the fact that Otto von Habsburg, last heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire ( who was laid to rest today, Saturday July 16th following a Requiem Mass at St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna) has had his body interred in the crypt of the Cathedral while his heart is to be buried in a Benedictine Monastery in Hungary.

This seems to me to be quite a good arrangement. Not the interring bit, I mean the heart being removed and deposited in some desirable place.

I know that, not 5 miles from where I live, there is a ruined chapel with a stone sarcophagus that is home to the pickled hearts of I don't know how many Crusader knights whose bodies were buried in a foreign field but who obviously had a desire to have part of themselves reunited with the homeland by being interred on familiar ground.
Would you want your heart interred
at Brains? (ahem)

Where, I wondered, would I like my heart to be buried (you see I am (at heart) a romantic and not a curmudgeon). I immediately discounted Brains Brewery in Cardiff, home to the ambrosial Rev James Bitter. This would be too secular for my tastes and, anyway, the planning authorities might have a word or two to say at the prospect of a main street in Cardiff being excavated to house my heart.

"You can't put that hear there boyo" the planning officer would say (Welshmen never actually use the word 'boyo' but, apparently it annoys the hell out of Lord Kinnock so I take great joy in using it at every opportunity.
"It's against Section 4 sub section 18 of the Highways and Byways Act - where it states: "Hearts are not for the burying of on any main street in England or Wales due to possible incidences of a) future subsidence or,  b) dangers to public health".

I really would like my heart to be deposited in a holy place but I am also drawn to places that have a good memory for me, sites of special affection....mmmm......the cafe in Surbiton where I proposed to my wife?.....not a good idea ("Hearts are orff the menu today dear).

Along the banks of the River Thames...yes, that is an attractive proposition for me; I have spent many happy years fishing, swimming and boating on the Thames but it seems a bit occultish to go around burying hearts willy nilly.

I need, perhaps to look a little further afield and it really is a must to find somewhere sacred.

Got it! It has to be Lourdes. Not on the domain, of course and not in the town centre but, maybe on the banks of the Gave, a few hundred yards upstream from the shrine or, maybe, on one of the high slopes that look down on the town and the Basilica. I always feel a sense of coming home when I arrive in Lourdes, it would be good to feel that my heart is where my home is (?)

Where would you like your heart to be buried?


  1. I want to be assumed, body and soul into heaven. I don't want to rot in the ground, or be turned into an ash pile. Dust thou art tho, or rather dust I art, sorry, am.

    I know if fallen nature takes it's continuing course and the 2012 rapture doesn't happen before the 2012 'end of the world', this will not be my heart's literal journey, but it is my heart's absolute wish and not just for me either. Sometimes it feels as if I am already there (you know, 'there')but I suppose that is ridiculous and I really must get on and iron my work clothes and some school shirts.

  2. Tony Bennett aside (I do love San Francisco)and assuming I am actually deceased, I think I'd like my heart to be buried right in the back yard, the body too if possible. Otherwise, I know we have two plots up in the town my grandmother used to live in. It's about 5 hrs from our house via highway. I'd have the funeral here just to make those I leave behind travel the 300 miles of funeral procession at 35 mph. Ha, Ha!

  3. I think my dad would have his body in the crypt of St Peter's (Cardiff) and his heart pickled in the Brains Brewery. Word has it, it is semi-pickled already!