Sunday, December 04, 2011

That Final Event

I have reached the age of maturity when much of my time lately has been spent going to the funerals of friends, my peers.

I know this trend will only continue as we all get older but it really doesn’t make it any easier to take. And of course it makes me face my own mortality.

I often come back with a few more notes for my funeral file on what I want and don’t want when I finally check out.  My daughters think I am joking – I do have a black sense of humour – but more and more, it makes sense to think ahead. Plus as someone who has made a career out of putting on events, of course I want a say in that final one.

1.   I don’t want any fancy coffin – rent one if you like.
2.   No, I repeat, no open casket. As the fashionista I prefer to be in control of how I look and likely someone will put on the wrong jewelry that doesn’t match with the entire ensemble.

3.   I want to select the photos now.  Years ago my daughter held a surprise birthday party for me, with a gallery of photos chosen based on the criteria, I believe, that I looked dreadful in the photo. None of that.

4.   Talking of photos, the family better start clicking now because there are no recent ones of me.           

5.   Have some stirring; lively hymns that are upbeat and everyone can burst forth into song.

6.   Have a private family service early on and a Celebration a few weeks later, when family and friends feel less raw and ready to party
7.   No dreary speeches – make people laugh, that’s always been my motto and hey I have provided enough material for you to share some funny stories about me.  In fact, with some advance notice, I could even write a few.
8.   Have a party – celebrate each other – some good food, wine and company. (Will just be sorry to miss it.)

But I plan to stick around for a while yet – I mean there’s a lot to organize.

There’s a quote from Tuesday’s with Morrie that I have always found comforting –
 “Death is the end of a life, not a relationship.”

So even when I am not here, I am. 


Cheryl Ambrose said...

That's so very true, "Even when I'm not here, I am." And it is something we need to remember while we're alive!
BTW, I'm with you on the rest of it too! I'll never forget my shock at seeing lilac fingernail polish on Mom. I hope she was laughing ... but somehow, I think not! She did choose her photo, her coffin, and her resting place. She even had her headstone in place, etched in a design she drew herself.

Ingrid Folekrs said...

Reading my mind and whatever your believe system is, in mine, I'll be partying along side everyone.

So I will be there..... Cheers!

Amanda said...

So it's not just me!
Three years before my Mum died she told me her wishes, where all the paperwork was, where I'd run into challenges with 'the authorities' and what to do with my errant brothers etc etc. I tried to shush her, but she would have none of it!

The following year, when I visited, she made me repeat back to her what she'd told me the year before. At that time I had a great memory -- or is it really simply all about recall?

Anyway, was I ever glad she had. She'd been ill for years....but her parting was as devastating as if it were unexpected, sudden AND tragic.

Her thoughtfulness made such a difference to all the complexities and dramas of living (and dying) in a foreign country and the celebration we had in her honour. After all, who would have thought of partying at such a time?

You can bet I am trying to do the same for my kid.