What to do with me when I die
It was either not long before or not long after my grandfather died that I was poking around on his computer, for what I don’t really recall. I was never certain why he had a computer, since he didn’t know how to use it and he didn’t have any interest in learning but I guess exchanging silly email jokes with the same dozen or so people had a way of giving him something to do. Gotta keep those 70-year olds off the streets somehow.
Anyway, I stumbled across something that was both unexpected and kind of wonderful, in a weird and morbid way (In fact, the opening line of this document stated, ‘(Wife) always thinks I’m so morbid when I do stuff like this.’): his will. I don’t mean a will in a traditional sense – this person gets this and so forth – but a list of things he wanted when he passed away. It read kind of like a letter of demands from a deranged hostage-taker whose bank robbery attempt went wrong.
I couldn’t tell you what most of these things were, both because he may not have wanted you people to know and because I was drinking a lot at the time and my memory is a bit hazy. I do know that most of if not all his instructions were followed. But I always admired the spirit of the move on his part – if you have the time to plan it out before you make your last exit from this world, wouldn’t you want to do it up right?
With that in mind, and in a spirit of mortal peril I believe is diametrically opposed to his, I thought I’d follow in his footsteps and jot down a few things I want those that take care of these things to take care of in the event of my untimely demise. While this probably won’t serve as an official document, I would like to state at this time that I’m under the influence of no chemicals and want all this crap followed to the letter, if possible.
(Included in parentheses: Mrs. Me’s take on my demands. She thinks I’m an idiot, and wants everyone else to know it.)
Don’t bury me
Caskets are expensive. Burial plots are expensive. Funeral homes are expensive. Don’t waste the money. My father’s stated goal of being tossed in the woods to be devoured by buzzards sounds like a fine way to go, but I know there are laws against that. Give my remains to science or burn me up and scatter my ashes. If you go the latter route, dump half the ashes off the back deck of the house on 227 Marion Street in Clarksville and spread the other half down Bourbon Street in the most clandestine way imaginable. Surely someone can figure this out. This plan also saves people the trouble of having to carry a casket out of a church; those things are heavy.
(Mrs. Me: Having a place to visit your remains is a thing for the living. I want that place. I also plan to be buried next to you. If I die first and you want to be selfish, you can argue with our future kids about it.)
Only come to the ceremony if you don’t have anything better to do that day
If I day and the funeral is held on the first nice day of spring or the last nice day of fall, I couldn’t possibly fault you for skipping out and heading to the lake. I know some people feel it necessary to always catch a funeral but really, if people get up and say nice things about me, it’s mostly lies. That reminds me…
No sense trying to sugar coat my life
Whoever has the misfortune of having to speak well of me at my funeral, I apologize in advance. I’m not giving you much to work with. Just tell honest stories and hope everybody laughs. Don’t try to sell anyone on ‘This was the greatest guy ever!’ garbage. The people going to my funeral will know better.
Of course we’re having a cocktail hour before my funeral. Probably after too. Make a day of it if you want.
Music and setting
Hear me out on this one: I’ve always thought it strange to have a funeral in a church. It’s God’s house. We wouldn’t go into anyone else’s home, prop up a body and start telling lies about what a great person they were. Church is for people to hear the word of the Lord; any discussion of me needs to be out of such high avenues.
Pray over me, certainly. I need all the help I can get. But let’s do this somewhere else. And no funeral homes; those are the most depressing places I’ve ever been to. Either give us an outside setting or, if the weather is bad, just inconvenience whichever one of my relatives has the largest home and host it there.
(Mrs. Me: A funeral is a religious rite of passage; hence, the church. You don’t know anything, do you?)
Now, music. Certainly we’ll want to slip in some hymns (‘When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder’ and ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ have always been two of my favorites, because I was a Civil War veteran in a past life), but I’d also like some contemporary stuff too. ‘Bible Black Lincoln’ by the Quaker City Nighthawks and ‘Only the Good Die Young’ by Billy Joel should definitely be snuck in if possible.
This world has already been way too good to me. Once I go, there shall be no tears.
(Mrs. Me: Really? Shut up.)