It seems like over the past few months I have known people who had a funeral to attend, knew someone who only had a few months to live due to a diagnosis of cancer, pets dying or attended a funeral myself. There are so many ways we pay tribute, say good bye and celebrate these lives once they have passed on. Military have the ceremonies…special burial at a National Cemetery along with a 21 gun salute and the presenting of the flag to a family member. A person who passes away that lived into their late 90’s or even made it to 100 are celebrated with all the historical events they witnessed in their long full lives. Maybe had great great grandchildren. There are ones that pass on that have had struggles with illness and we feel a bit relieved when they die because they are no longer suffering. God has brought them peace with the illness they long suffered from. Then there are the tragic deaths from accidents, murders, suicides or even the loss of a child. There are no words to even describe that type of loss. So sudden and so tragic it literally takes your breath away.
We will never know when it is our time to go. God decides that. We do know how to live our lives to the fullest and make each day count. Some of us may have all our funeral preparation done. Songs picked, headstone bought, bible verses selected etc. All of this has got me thinking….while I am only 46 and believe I will die at a ripe old age…there are no guarantees. What do I want my funeral to look like? How do I want people to remember me? One thing I know is “Don’t stand over my grave and weep”…that quote always pops into my mind. I know I do not want the traditional wake, church funeral and buttered bun ham sandwiches, jello salads with shredded carrots and bars made by the women of the church. I don’t want people all in black (altho those who know me know that I do wear black and grey a lot!) I mean no disrespect to those who have that. But that is not me.
I want to be cremated. I want my ashes divided up between my husband and children. I want them to scatter their “share of me” somewhere appropriate that has meaning to them in regards to me. Maybe it is Target, maybe a park we visited, maybe the coffee shop where I met my son for the first time…or the old area where the Fairmont American Legion used to stand – where I met my true love. Or even Chadwicks NY where I grew up – under the large gingko tree. Don’t put my shell in a box and put me in the ground with the bugs – you all know how I hate bugs! I picture my memorial service and “bereavement meal” in a backyard – the scene much like the Braverman’s backyard from Parenthood. White lights strung across trees on a breezy warm evening. (side note – if its winter time…we will have a plan B – I mean I do live in Minnesota) Fun food and cocktails. I want people to celebrate my life with funny stories. I want pictures of me – pictures approved by my sister – we have an understanding about that! I want music that will make people laugh and sing and bring back fun memories. I want someone to play “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” because those that really know me will laugh and spit their drink out. I want the song “In My Life” played – version of Crosby, Stills and Nash – or a good guitar/song version by any guitar player friends and family members. I love “Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone”. I want people to wear their favorite outfits…an outfit that makes them feel happy. I want Vicks scented tissues – if you cry, at least get a whiff of Vicks – Love that smell! So many other little things I think about.
I don’t like to think of dying as a sad occasion, but rather a celebration of a person’s life – there is nothing sad about that. So I ask you – how do YOU want to be celebrated?