A few words today about the “What do I care, I’ll be dead” train of thought that some people favor as a way to avoid funeral talk. Fair enough, your absence from the event cannot be argued.
However, the loose connection in that rationale is that your unavailability to be there somehow detaches you from it. Au contraire. The ENTIRE AFFAIR is solely, 100% and by definition and design about YOU. Yes, there is truth in the statement that funerals are for the living, but why should they have all the fun? Stand up and discover that having a say in the matter is not indulgent, not superfluous,* and indeed can be absolutely enjoyable.
Here’s my Top Five Ways Contemplating Your Funeral Can Be Fun
1. Music. Hearing a song that you decide you want played at your goodbye party is an ongoing delight. We’re always hearing new songs, remembering forgotten songs, etc…. creating a playlist is a work in progress, and can be as fun (or somber) as you wish.
2. Gifting. Starting a list of who you want to get certain meaningful things you own becomes a game in itself. Clearly, it’s a nonessential activity, but if you decide to do it, you get to enjoy the process now. And you can’t do it once you’re dead.
3. Surprises! For those who really want to get into it, planning a surprise, or two or three, for your goodbye party is total fun that you get to enjoy now, while you’re alive and well.
• Leave people handwritten notes
• Leave them $$ for an indulgence in your honor
• Leave instructions for hiring some kind of entertainment — a chorus, a banjo player, a poetry reading, a magician, tap dancer, face painting, skywriting … whatever grabs you
4. Planning Leads to Acceptance. Upon getting over the hump of making the first decisions, you’ll discover that you’re okay with death, even your own. The big, scary fuss starts to dissolve, and the Circle of Life’s normalcy will no longer be just a concept; you’ll be liberated from your fear and anxiety. It will no longer seem crazy that the process can be fun, because you’ll be having fun.
5. Putting Yourself in Their Shoes. By thinking what it might be like for your friends and family to not have you to kick around anymore, you can think of ways to make it easier on them. What might you decide, for the event or memorial, that you know will make them smile, recall best-loved memories, feel like your spirit is still there with them? Write some thoughts down and be a total hero for your loved ones.
Yeah, you will indisputably not be present for the festivities, but you have both the power to contribute it its awesomeness, and the pleasure to imagine that awesomeness… for as long ahead of time as you want. Given that, uh…you never know how long that is, so don’t dawdle.
And if you need help, you know who to call or email.
*I rarely say this because it’s a tad harsh, but I feel like not deciding and communicating at least some of the most important decisions (e.g. cremation or burial) is a lot like leaving your dirty dishes in the sink. Kind of rude, right? Making other people deal with what you neglected to do.