I don’t anticipate leaving this world anytime soon (that I know of!) but ever since Tom Sawyer faked his own death and then secretly came to his funeral and sobbed, I’ve been fascinated by this particular subject.
Now an online company called My Wonderful Life is encouraging us to take charge of all the details so the burden isn’t on our loved ones during their time of grief.
As a retired party planner, this seems right up my alley!
I’m a bit hesitant to bring up such a morbid subject to my very sensitive teenage children. Certainly they’ll become shocked and emotionally distraught, but I’ll quickly explain there’s nothing wrong with me– I’m just doing them a favor. Besides, being straightforward and candid with them has always been my philosophy.
Me: Kids, I’m planning my own funeral right now.
Daughter: Can you please be considerate and not schedule it during prom season?
Son: Did you eat the last of the Nutella?
Well, that went swimmingly. Clearly the rest is going to be a cinch.
Coincidentally, I recently attended a beautiful service for a dear friend’s mother and wept at the poignant beauty of it all. But afterwards, I walked away with what I’ll now term, “Memorial Envy.” (Are you listening Pinterest?) The daughter (my friend) gave a breathtaking eulogy speech, a son played the guitar while singing exquisite original lyrics. Still another sibling wrote a thought-provoking poem. They concluded by showing a video montage on a large screen set to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (my favorite song!) which depicted highlights of her life, holding her grandkids, and experiencing family bliss. All for their dearly departed mother. Lastly, in another room as refreshments were served, her artwork was displayed on easels for us to admire. Perfect.
I allow myself to imagine my published novel up on a podium for everyone to thumb through. Hey, with all the people gathered that day to pay their respects to me, I could even hold an impromptu book-signing! That would be a neat party trick.
So who in the world would plan something as nice as this for me? I better get cracking!
The “My Wonderful Life” website suggests starting with crafting your own obituary. Let’s see… that’s certainly an intriguing writing prompt. How about . . .
“Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead!”
A big fan of The Wizard of Oz, Stephanie D. Lewis (AKA Little Miss Menopause) just departed this earth, leaving behind a garage full of junk that nobody seems to know what to do with. After an appropriate amount of time, please come forward if you want several dozen pairs of sparkly red shoes, wicker picnic baskets with stuffed dogs in them, and yards of blue gingham fabric. In lieu of flowers, please paint your face green and cackle, “I’ll get you my pretty!”
“Oh what a world, what a world….” I bemoan, not quite satisfied with the tone or voice of this piece so far. Obviously a work in progress. I think I can extend this editorial deadline by a few weeks, emphasis on “dead” of course.
As any party planner worth her weight in confetti knows, a good theme pulls the entire event together. Since The Wiz of Oz is already being implemented for my obituary, I think a “Writing” theme will do just fine. That’s it, I’ve got it! My memorial service will be held in a public library.
Instead of a traditional guestbook for people to sign, I’ll have a cool vintage typewriter at the entrance so they can “tap-tap-tap-ching!” their names like real authors.
Tasteful floral bouquets sitting on bookshelves will be folded origami style from print-outs of my best loved Huffington Post Blogs. (Okay, maybe there will only be enough for one lily and a couple of gladiolas.)
My favorite book-jacket cover will be enlarged with my photo on it — “GONE WITH THE WIND!”
The local librarian will announce to everyone. “It appears our last copy of Stephanie D. Lewis is permanently checked-out. She’s overdue, but we’ll waive the hefty fine because her final chapter was such a page-turner.”
My humor columns from local newspapers can be paper-mâchéd on the outside of my casket.
Oh that’s right….hmmmm, my casket. “Who should be my pallbearers?” I muse aloud, as my reverie is suddenly disturbed with familiar annoying voices, loudly squabbling . . .
Youngest Son: Make your eldest four kids do it. They’re the strongest.
First-born Daughter: Eww, I’m not carrying her body. You do it!
I throw a book in their direction.
Me: Will you kids just be quiet for once and finally let me . . . R.I.P?!
What do you think? Would you plan your own funeral? If so, any good ideas?