2017-07-14 / Commentary

Til Death Do Us Part

I’m just saying...
Julia Rogers Hook

I think I’m becoming eerily preoccupied with death.

I’m not sure why…I’ve had a major milestone birthday…you know the ones where you either mark a new decade or the middle of one but those come every five years, after all. I had a knee replacement surgery earlier this year, and while I was preparing for that, I read EVERYTHING about the possibilities of dying on the operating table, and I may have gotten a tad obsessed.

I know my husband Marty thinks I did, but he is the supreme optimist about everything all the time.

When he came home from work one day prior to the surgery and found me picking out the photos I wanted at my “memorial service,” he wasn’t happy, to say the least. But I like to be prepared.

I’m also a bit of a control freak so I want anything I have a part of to go smoothly, and, of course, I think I am the only person on the planet who could insure that; therefore, I want to have the plans for my funeral carved in stone.

After all…your funeral will be the ULITIMATE “going away” party. It should be memorable.

This past weekend some friends came over to swim, and as we were sitting around the pool chatting, the topic turned to death and funerals. An odd topic I know, but it was the one we landed on and in the effort to be totally transparent, there was wine involved. Still, I’m not sure that really influenced our conversation.

We were all remembering funeral FAILS and saying how we never wanted THAT at our funerals. We all agreed to no congregational singing because that is just the SADDEST thing ever! You have a church/room full of people who are already sad, and you tell them to sing? That NEVER goes well.

And you never want a long-winded preacher! I was at one funeral once that actually had an ALTAR CALL after the eulogy! The preacher actually asked people to come to the front of the church to be SAVED! At a person’s FUNERAL! Talk about stealing a person’s THUNDER! Sheesh! And the poor sinners seeking their eternal salvation had to KNEEL AROUND THE COFFIN! I can appreciate a preacher wanting to save a soul whenever possible, after all that’s their job, but at a funeral? Really?

At one funeral the minister used the 23rd Psalm as his text, and I’m telling you…when he was done dissecting that psalm TWO HOURS later...I NEVER wanted to hear about shepherds, sheep, green pastures, still waters, or ANYTHING remotely connected to that passage! Neither did anyone else in the church! I think we ALL felt like we had been stuck in “the valley of the shadow of death” forever, and I for one wanted a rod or a staff to push that preacher right out of the pulpit!

So, I’ve told Marty no sermon and no group hymns, and he already knows I’m an organ donor and I’m to be cremated. (That freaked him out a little, but I think it’s because he won’t know what to do with the ashes. I’m sure he’ll figure that part out, but if there are any takers out there, let him know. I’m sure he’ll share. You know who you are.)

One friend this weekend was saying how she wanted a simple memorial service, and she didn’t want “anyone to be sad.” She said she wanted a “party” where people told funny stories about her and remembered her with laughter.

Well, that’s all well and good, and I like the laughter idea, too. BUT I want tears! I want LOTS of tears! I want downright wailing and sobbing and WEEEEEEPING! I want gnashing of teeth and maybe even sackcloth and ashes would be nice!

I want people to be SAD I’m gone! They can laugh and remember me with smiles all they want, but somewhere during that memorial service, I’d better be seeing everyone cry just a little. And trust me…if it’s in any way possible… I’ll be watching!

Also, and this is verrrrry important...every photo that is placed for viewing and remembering had better be of my good side and not ONE should make me look fat! And none of this chintzy “prefab” obituary either. I want a LOOOOONG obit listing everything I’ve done since birth, and I want a flattering photo of me beside the glowing write-up. Preferably in COLOR.

I haven’t picked the photo yet because I really hope I’ve got a couple of decades left before I’ll need it, but I do have the obit pretty close to finished. All Marty will have to do is plug in the dates and times and he’s done! He’s so lucky to have such a thoughtful, selfless wife!

I’m just saying.

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