When I die.
I went to a funeral.
Lord, it made me happy,
Seein' all those people
That I ain't seen
Since the last time
Joshua Judges Ruth
I was driving around the local cemetery, as I do sometimes at night on patrol. I saw the graves of some strangers, some friends, some heroes, and some well-met persons that I'll never get to meet. I don't patrol the cemetery to commiserate with the dead, but to prevent that same sickening feeling I felt when, a few years back, I found the damage wrought by vandals in a cemetery, on my shift. I'd like to have a little chat with such people.
As I drove through the cemetery, I thought yet again that it's an eerie trend that has arisen lately in rural graveyards, to put solar-powered LED lamps around the grave. As you drive by, you see little lights twinkling among the stones. The twinkle is caused by the occlusion of their view, by nearer stones as I move past. I've hit my brakes more than a few times when driving by.
Don't do that to me, when I die. Just don't.
Come to think of it, I've got a little list of things that I want when I die.
--Harvest any organs that they'll take. If they want 'em, let 'em have 'em. I don't care if they want to bleach my skull to make a paper weight for the dean's office; let me be of use.
--Because I know that they won't let my body be ground up and spread over croplands like in Burgess' The Wanting Seed, I want what remains that they didn't harvest burnt. While the Viking funeral appeals, let's just simplify things and agree to throw my mortal coils into a kiln, turn the thing on High, and y'all can step out for a tall beer or four. But I insist that I be burned, and no marker be placed. I'll be damned if I'm going to be so arrogant as to take up a 4' X 7' X 6' portion of this planet, with a marker that has to be mowed around, even after my death.
--Ashes? Well, I've got places that I like, and they're known to those that know and love me. The Big Bend. Guadalupe Ntl. Park. Kit Carson Ntl. Forest. Chuck 'em out there. All at once or in piecemeal; I don't care. But they better be gone, completely, within 6 months. No hoarding remains-- that's just creepy.
--I demand a wake. I would like my favorite restaurant rented out a week after my passing, with adequate notice given to all that gave a damn about me. I want the food pre-paid, catered well, and good, with lots of flavor. If you want bland, bring your own. I want the waitstaff''s tips taken care of in advance, and lavishly. I want cases of good wine and beer present. I want bottles of good scotch and bourbon present. I want those bottles sent home with loved ones the same way bouquets sometimes go home with them from weddings and funerals. I expect that happy stories be told among my friends, and I expect that there be some laughter. While it may be turned down for the occasional toast, I expect music to be playing during my wake. Hell, dance if you want-- I'd rather you did. Have a good time, because that's what I want. Do NOT sit around all long-faced. But if you have to do so, then the bourbon and scotch are in the corner. My remains are NOT to attend my wake.
--If there is to be a funeral, I would like a decent piper to play. If you can't find a decent one, don't bother. Few things are worse than suffering through "Scotland The Brave" or "Amazing Grace," when squeaked out by a beginner with a borrowed skirt and a new set of war pipes or GHB pipes. Ugh.
--I do NOT want some blowhard cleric type to perform a eulogy at my funeral. Come to think of it, pastors, ministers, evangelicals, rabis, witch doctors, and other such "spiritual leaders" are forbidden from speaking at my funeral, except as friends, if they were such. I'm serious about this one.
--As I will be cremated, my family is forbidden from purchasing a casket for me. A sack or a cardboard box will transport my body into the furnace quite nicely.
--I don't want people sugar-coating it. I've been a bastard at times, and we all know it. Pretending I haven't dishonors the good memories, as well.
_ _ _
I've got no plans to kick it any time soon, friends. But when I do, remind my family of this blog, would you? There's a pal. :)