An open book with a heart cut out of it sitting on top of a bookshelf.

GriefSPEAK: “I’m dead. Now what?” – Mari Nardolillo Dias

By: Mari Nardolillo Dias, contributing writer 

“There’s only so much time before we die 

We don’t know when, we don’t know why 

Thinking that our life’s a race 

Skipping sleep to keep the pace. 

On your stone will be your name 

But not the things you’ve done in vain 

A place to talk with no response 

Look for signs where words were once. 

The sad fact is that what we find 

Is that we’ve lost our peace of mind. 

Timeout, take a break 

For yourself, for heaven’s sake 

The face you wear so strong and brave 

But you can’t do much from the grave.”  – (From the Grave, lyrics by Joe Martira, 10/22) 

Hopefully we prepare before we die. We don’t want our families to cry out in dismay, “Now what?” We cannot answer them from the grave, but we can prepare them before we die. We can leave them with answers to their queries: the book entitled “I’m Dead, Now What?’ is a journal that allows us to include our personal wishes, final preparation, letters to loved ones, financial and insurance information, usernames/passwords and more.  

My friend Paul took this to heart. He has been prepared for decades. His prearrangements at the funeral home are detailed and explicit, outlining his wishes for final preparation. Paul wants to be cremated. Despite all of the available options designed to store ashes, Paul has a unique request. He has dismissed the traditional choices of jewelry, urns, columbarium, scattering over or under the ocean, mixing them with the dirt in a pot that cradles a sapling, or convert them into glass or diamonds. The choices are endless; however, the bottom line is that cremated ashes can be stored however you want. Paul wants his ashes stored in snow globes. He has already purchased a few globes with liquid only, and masterfully placed, in the center of the globe a miniature prayer card, with his picture on one side and an original poem on the other.  His cremated ashes will replace the “snow”.  

“Isn’t this a great idea, Mari?!” he exclaimed. Think about it. A spouse dies and the partner is angry. They can take the globe and shake it over and over while shouting at their dead spouse. Or… maybe add music and the globe(s) becomes a loving reminder!”  

It certainly is a singular idea. I thought. I just googled “snow globes for cremated ashes” and sure enough, there is an Etsy and several other “Kickstarter” sites. Before this goes mainstream, Paul would like you all to know that he is the originator of this idea, as evidenced by both his journal and his prearrangement documents. His four snow globes sit patiently awaiting his death. In his front closet. Next to the front door. Easily accessible to those who have read his “I’m Dead, Now What?” journal.  


To read more articles for RINewsToday by Mari Nardolillo Dias, go here:

Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief. Dias is a Certified death doula, and has a Certificate in Psychological Autopsy.

She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI.  For more information, go to:

Dias is the author of GriefSPEAK, Vols. I and II