Sure, I know it’s a bit morbid to think about the end of your life, but it is nearing Halloween and well, as I scarf down my strawberry-iced Pop Tart and drink my coffee this morning, I thought I’d share my thoughts about the end of my life.
At the End…
Alzheimer’s and Dementia run in my family, so there’s a chance that at the end of my life I may be stricken with one of these terrible conditions. I guess I just don’t ever want to be a burden or a source of great sadness for my family and friends. I don’t want people to see me and be sad, so here’s the deal. If at any time in my life, I am so far gone that I don’t know who I am, let alone who you are, then put me in a good home and stop visiting.
Seriously. It won’t matter to me whether you visit or not. You’ll be as much fun and as recognizable to me as “Wild Jill,” the nurse who helps with my sponge bath. Actually, Jill might be more fun, but the fact of the matter is that it won’t make a difference to me, but it will to you.
Every time you come to see me in this state, you’ll be reminded of what I was, and what I have become. You’ll feel sorry for me, and you’ll feel sadness at my loss of faculties. It’s like you’re living the news of my death over and over every time you visit.
Me? I’ll be content that there’s Jello today while you drive home in tears. Don’t do that to yourself. Make sure I’m getting good care, and then let me go. The me you knew will already be gone, and I will never know the difference.
When I do go…
I’m not a fan of funerals or dead bodies, so there are some specific things you need to know about what to do when I finally stop eating the red Jello and chasing the nurses.
I don’t want anyone to see me dead. If you have to come identify the body, then I apologize in advance that you had to see me like that. If that’s not required, then don’t. Send me to the funeral home of your choice and have me cremated me as soon as possible. I don’t want anyone to have a lasting memory of my corpse. I want you to remember who I was when I was living. I want you to remember the fun we had and the life we lived (the good times and the bad). I don’t want the first thing you think about when you remember me to be that of a dead body – and don’t buy that crazy expensive urn from the funeral home. I’m seriously okay with the big can of Tim’s fine ground.
I don’t want a funeral. No funeral homes. No churches. No somber services at all. In fact, I don’t want a pastor, a preacher, a minister, a priest, a Rabbi, or even a Sheikh around at all after I die. If you’re one of these folks, I’m sorry if I’ve hurt your feelings, but you probably didn’t know me the way my friends and family did, and you probably will be offended by the party. Yes, the party.
After I die, I want you to throw a party and invite my friends and family and anyone who knew me. Bring a date. Bring a DJ. Bring a bottle. Hell, invite people I didn’t even know, because they’ll have fun too.
The party should have a keg, because every really good party that I’ve ever been to had a keg (and make sure it’s not some cheap beer, okay?). Have a cash bar, because I don’t want people throwing up at my party. When people don’t have to pay for their own booze, they tend to throw up more.
Bring your photographs of me and you. Tell all the stories (the good and the bad) that you know about me. Toast our friendship and accomplishments. Make new friends. Celebrate the me that you knew while I was alive. Don’t cry about my death. Laugh. Smile, and have a great time. That’s what I really want – I want you, my friends and family to have a good time on my account. That’s all.
As for my ashes… well, that’s up to you. I’m not really using them anymore, so put them wherever you like. Dump them in the sea and make a beach trip out of it. Bury them in the back yard next to the duck and the cat (but don’t tell anybody, because I think that’s actually illegal). Go 90mph down the highway and let them fly. It honestly doesn’t matter to me. I’m fine with whatever you decide, as long as it doesn’t involve a graveyard. I hate graveyards.