I am longing for a good wedding. Lately, it seems I have been attending far too many funerals. Being unable to have my heart absorb the reality of losing yet another friend to the Big “C,” my mind kicked in during a recent service and pondered some thoughts of how I want things “laid out” when I depart for the great beyond.
Let it be known that I will haunt anyone responsible for dressing me in a suit and horror of all horrors, nylons or Spanx. I rarely get a moment to horizontally relax and if I am going to be in that position for eternity I better be in my moose boxers, “Hike Naked in the Woods — Add Color to Your Cheeks”
t-shirt and bunny slippers. For that matter, I might go the cremation route. Although, I have a friend whose mom wanted to be cremated and his dad wanted to be placed in a crypt. His mom died first. Their dad died years later. The funeral was a sealed deal (literally) when the family remembered their mother wanted her urn of ashen remains placed in the casket with her beloved husband. They relied on the professional funeral staff to remove the casket from the crypt, reopen it and place the urn inside. After some inquiries to make certain things went smoothly, it came to light that the only place their mother’s remains would fit was between their dad’s legs. Their mother is either cursing or singing their praises from the great beyond.
I should probably eliminate the funeral procession in case history truly does repeat itself. Uncle Emil and Aunt Viv were gabbing on the way from a funeral service to the grave site. Not paying attention, they veered the wrong way and got separated from the cars in front of them. Unfortunately, the cars behind followed them, all with their purple funeral flags flapping in the wind. The old saying “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there” proved correct. Being the newly elected, “directionally clueless” lead car, it took them a while to get back on track. When they finally emerged from their vehicles, they were rolling over in tears … of laughter more than grief.
I will also need to pad time since I tend to be “fashionably late,” like my great Aunt Elsie. Family members would tell her that they wouldn’t be surprised if she were late to her own funeral. They were right. Aunt Elsie died while on an out-of-town vacation. Her body was to be flown home immediately for the service and somehow she ended up in New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Just like in life, her mourners in Indiana decided to go on without her knowing that she would show up in her own sweet time.
I really enjoy reliving a person’s life through a memorial video and would like one made. A word to my family: If you include old home movies, watch them in their entirety before adding them to a keepsake memory video. Mourners were watching a beautiful video tribute to my friend’s mom when it was rudely interrupted by one of her brother’s attempts at film making during his teen years. Think Wayne’s World meets Chainsaw Massacre. Considering I almost distributed a photo of my three darling daughters in the tub (until my seven-year-old pointed out you could see me clad in a too-short bathrobe taking the photo in the mirror’s reflection with my “hoo hoo” hanging out) has me a bit nervous about sharing our photos and videos.
I am still undecided about the whole “showing the body” tradition. I always think of my friend who is a nurse, when she told me that her demented patient Walter spent the entire day telling her he had died. The next day she walked into his room and found him completely naked. She said, “Walter, I thought you said you died yesterday. Now what are you doing?” To which he responded, “I did. Today is the showing.”
I may be unclear about the details of my exit strategy but I do know this; I can barely recall the specifics of my loved ones funerals, but I distinctly remember the sound of their laughter and the way it felt to be loved by them. So throw me in a box or scatter my ashes on Maple Lake — I’ll focus on giving the people in my life something to remember.