I think about death a lot. I’m not sure why that is, but it’s something that’s always at the back of my mind.
Specifically, I think a lot about MY death and what I want my funeral to be like. I’ve had the bare bones (heh heh heh..death puns. LOL) of the service sketched out since I was sixteen or so. I change some of the details from time to time, but the essence of what I want to happen remains the same.
- I want to be cremated.
This is something I’ve wanted since around the time I was 13 or 14. My dad’s mom (whom we spent a lot of time with growing up) passed away when I was 13 or so and I remember being absolutely horrified at the viewing (as we Southerners call a wake). I remember her looking waxy and weird and wearing far more makeup than she’d ever worn in her life (as far as I knew anyway). She was wearing a pale pink dress that I’d never ever seen her wear and it looked pretty bizarre to see this woman I’d ever only seen in short sleeve button down shirts and pants wearing a DRESS. I almost wanted to find an unlit cigarette and place it in between her first two fingers of her right hand, where I’d seen her hold one when she was alive. She seemed oddly incomplete without a cigarette in her hand. My mom urged me to kiss her, which I flat out refused. My dad’s mom was NOT an overly affectionate woman in life to begin with. Kissing her corpse was just way too weird for me. My sister, younger and I suppose braver, did reach out and pat her hair though. I decided that weekend that when I die, if I had to look like that, I would rather not die at all. Which, of course, is not something we get to choose. We are all going to die at some point. I decided that if I HAD to die, I wanted to be cremated. It seems cleaner and, now that I think about it, more enviromentally friendly somehow since you’re not throwing a wooden box in the ground that’s been treated with chemicals and lacquered to within an inch of its life to decay. And then of course, there’s the corpse. All those chemicals CANNOT be good for our planet. Also..if you are cremated, then your ashes can be turned into a diamond. Or turned into a planter for a tree, which is nice I think. Or be scattered..somewhere. Over your favorite city. Or in the ocean. Or someplace that is significant to you.
Which brings us to….
2. I want my ashes to go for a road trip.
When I die, I want whoever has control of my ashes at that point to take me to Walt Disney World, one of my absolute favorite places on earth, one last time. I want them to take the sack (or whatever I’m in) on all my favorite rides. I want them to ask (and hopefully get) permission to sprinkle some of my ashes in the river of It’s A Small World and inside The Haunted Mansion. And if they don’t get permission, maybe they’ll be rebellious and sneaky enough to try to sprinkle my ashes there anyway. The rest of whatever is left of me, I want dumped into the ocean because I feel so at home on the water. Plus, I don’t really want to be sitting on somebody’s mantle or on a shelf on a bookcase in some kind of jar or box. That’s just weird and creepy.
3. I have very specific ideas about how I want my funeral.
I hate funerals. I can’t honestly say I know one person who actually likes funerals. They’re depressing. People cry. You have to dress in clothes that only get trotted out for funerals and make awkward small talk. “Did you know her? How did you know her?” Most of the funerals I’ve been to have been open casket which means you’re forced for at least a half an hour (depending on the service, I guess) to stare at the dead which is weird. If the person was religious, you sing depressing songs about death and maybe angels and God. Funerals are NOT fun.
I’ve heard of this thing called a “jazz funeral” that is essentially a great big party with loud music and dancing and alcohol and bright colors. I don’t know if it would be cultural appropriation for me, the whitest white girl on the planet and a non-Cajun, to have a funeral like that but that’s what I want. I want my death to be a fucking party. I want them to play Ozzy and “Look On the Bright Side of Life” by Monty Python. I want there to be good food and good booze and I don’t want anybody to be sad.
There is, of course, the chance that I will die before my husband and this won’t happen because he thinks this would be weird and inappropriate. If I die before my mother (which probably won’t happen but you never know) it REALLY won’t happen because she (being a good Southern mama and a Christian besides) would think it’s wildly inappropriate. I don’t know if what I want will even play into what happens to me after I die, but I hope whoever is in charge of my dead body will at least take what I want into consideration. It would only be polite, yanno?