Monday, February 16, 2015

Do's and don'ts for when I die

If you didn't figure it out from the title, this post is about death. Specifically, how I want things done in the event of my death. Now, if you're one of those people who thinks that talking about death is sad or morbid, then this post isn't for you. But, if you're one of those folks who thinks talking about death is just part of life and/or is curious about just how I want to be sent into the afterlife, then please, do read on. 

This post has actually been written for awhile. I was getting ready to post it when a friend from work passed away, and despite all evidence to the contrary, I do have enough manners to not post about death on the same day I go to a funeral. I decided to go ahead and share my madness on the subject today after hearing my cubicle ninja ladies talking about how the latest thing in the funeral industry is to have the carbon in your body turned into a diamond. It's a thing. Human bodies have a high carbon content. So that song my dad used to sing all the time about "I'm just an old chunk of coal, but I'm going to be a diamond some day" could really happen...with the right planning and approximately $3K.

Believe it or not, after hearing about the awesomeness of the death-to-diamonds thing, my plans haven't changed. The things that I've had in mind for years are still the things I want to happen (or in some cases not happen). Every time I get into a "if I die before you and Dad rant" to my Mom, my list of demands gets a little longer. Finally, the list got so long that Mom told me to write them down for her, so here we are. I have determined the categories that I consider important and given each a DO and a DON'T.  


*****

In the case that I die in some kind of auto accident:

DON'T erect any kind of roadside memorial. Seriously. Those irritate me for reasons even I don't exactly understand. Just don't do it. Or I will haunt you forever.

DO make an effort to be a safer driver in your own life. Put away the phone. Buckle the seat belt. Slow the hell down.

Dealing with my remains:

DON'T have a viewing or put me in a coffin. Personally, I think viewings are creepy. And so is picking a fancy coffin. People are so freaked out by the idea of dying that even in our deaths we try to "win" by being embalmed and having a big, heavy expensive box that will slow down the decaying process. I'm no tree hugger by any means, but I believe our bodies should decay and go back into the Earth. Circle of life and all that hippie mumbo jumbo.

DO donate as many of my organs as possible. I've researched it a little, and sadly, I can't pass on my sense of humor, so my pancreas will have to do. After my organs have been harvested (which sounds wonderfully sci-fi), cremate what's left of my body and spread the ashes. It doesn't really even matter where the ashes get dispersed...it's not like I could complain even if it DID matter.

Sending a "death plant":

DON'T send a death plant. Those funeral arrangement bouquets/wreaths/whatchamacallits shrivel up and die and add to the sadness of death. The potted kind just remind the survivors of the fact their loved one is gone. Plus, I've never been very good with plants, so when it comes to MY death, sending a plant somehow seems inappropriate.

DO make a donation to a charitable organization in my memory. I'm pretty fond of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Xi Delta Chapter, but you can choose your own favorite. And if you don't have money to donate, go donate an hour or two of your time (something I should be doing more of).

Planning a memorial service:

DON'T plan a memorial service. I'd rather you had a party or a wake over a sappy memorial.

DO plan a memorial if it will make you feel better. Serve wine.

If you decide you need a memorial service to make you feel better (quotes):

DON'T have people recite a bunch of Bible verses to make me appear to have been more religious than I really was. We all know better. Plus, there are only, like, three verses I would recognize and you don't want me feeling stupid at my own memorial. *

DO celebrate my love of reading with quotes from my favorite books and/or authors. (Harry Potter series, Jane Austen, Molly Harper's stuff...) Bonus points if you quote my own blog. 

If you decide you need a memorial service to make you feel better (music):

DON'T play a bunch of religious music. See above. *

DO play some of my all-time favorites, even if you think they're cheesy. Living On a Prayer by Bon Jovi should play as people are being seated. And if it looks like everyone's about to start crying,  have the DJ sling some U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer. For the end when everyone starts to leave, I expect to hear Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield. JESSIE'S GIRL IS NON-NEGOTIABLE.

I think that pretty much covers it. Now I have to go clean up my apartment because all this thinking about death has me thinking about someone going through all my stuff when I'm gone. And right now, my place is so messy that if I weren't already dead, I'd die of embarrassment.

14 comments:

  1. Okay...so... 1. Morbid. (duh) 2. Hilarious. This might be the best idea ever. Honestly, it's probably pretty danged practical. And now you have me thinking I should probably get my shit together and do something like this. At very least, I should make it clear to my parents and husband what I want so there isn't disgruntled bickering should anything happen.

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    1. Thanks for reading! I decided that putting my requests in writing was a good idea and a great opportunity for me to spread the snark for the day. But all jokes aside, I meant all of it. I may have to add an addendum or two to it after some of my Facebook friends had their opportunity to comment. Up for consideration is "no memorial car decals or memorial t-shirts," which are things here in West Texas.

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  2. I just wanted to let you know that I will be stealing a few of these. Thanks for spurring me on to something I should have done a while ago.

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    1. Welcome back! You're welcome to steal as many of these as you like. I'm stealing an idea as well. When my aunt's husband died recently, he was cremated and put in a bio-degradable box. When summer gets here, they're going to plant a tree with the box. I think that's an awesome idea, BUT, I'll want my box covered in Lisa Frank stickers.

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  3. A friend of mine gifted me a journal about after death wishes and I've been working on filling it out. I agree - I want a celebration, but it's hard too not have those closest to you take it the hardest. And as far as music? I want mariachis!

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    1. Mariachis would be awesome, unless all they sang was sad ballads. I realized after I published that left off a really important song: Mickey by Toni Basil.

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  4. Just having this discussion today. Great job!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by. This is one of those discussions everyone needs to have, whether they want to or not. Maybe putting my own personal stamp on things will make it easier on my family.

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  5. Haha. I love this! I don't know why so many people are afraid of death. It's so natural. I haven't thought about what I would want people to do after I die but there are whole lot of fun solutions. Get shot into space. Get made into a tree. You can be made into a diamond! Shot into the sky - fireworks style. All seem infinitely more fun than just getting buried.

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    1. Those are all definitely more fun than getting buried. It's a shame the deceased won't get to enjoy it. Unless you believe we stick around after death. But that's a blog post for another day. Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. Hubs and I have talked about some of this stuff... but if I actually want to get what I WANT when I'm gone, I'm going to have to write it all down. The man has the retention span of a gnat when it comes to these things ;)

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    1. Men are all about visual stimuli. Write it down AND include lots of example pictures. Heck, put it in comic book form. ;)

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  7. I get the correct thing to comment on here is death celebrations and your clever ideas, but what has really stuck with me from this post for the last month is Molly Harper. I hadn't read any of her stuff before and holy geez was I missing out. So I am working on book three in the series and LOVE her. So as soon as I finish this book, I'll start working on my final wishes... Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. I share the Molly Harper love with anyone who will listen. She is clever and funny and sarcastic in the best possible way. She's is my favorite contemporary author. Glad you stopped by.

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