Winter is literally coming, but no, this isn’t a Game of Thrones reference although HBO needs to get its house in order and give me my G.O.T ASAP… Now that I got that out of the way let me explain.
I lost my Dad suddenly 10 years ago. When he died thoughts of mortality awoke from hibernation, stretched, and began to pace the recesses of my mind. He had known me from the womb through my first 33 years on this earth and now he was gone. Even worse, he didn’t leave a will or tell us what he wanted for his funeral services. I wonder if it’s because he was so full of promise but depression ate him up and spit him out, so he didn’t see his life in a series of happy moments but in a series of failed ones. I wonder if it’s because he was scared of death, and thought that acknowledging it perhaps meant inviting it.
For years this very fear prevented me from writing down what I want for my services. I’m still working on that, but as of last month I began to draft a document so my family doesn’t have to guess. If I’m still living in Maryland I want Lisa Scott to handle me. I want to be cremated and don’t want a viewing. I’m very realistic about funerals being an industry (albeit a necessary one). I don’t want the viewing because I don’t want to be remembered as a shell, AND having a viewing means embalming and that’s an expense. I’m trying to shave off some coins.
I don’t want a ton of flowers if I’m not there to smell and admire them. Plus at the end someone has to gather them and take them somewhere and I’ve witnessed people bicker over what they want. Save the ostentatious floral displays and donate that money to charities I have yet to choose.
I want music, lots of it, and not some dry hymns. Play “I’m Building Me a Home” by the Morehouse College Glee Club from the School Daze soundtrack. That’s the only somber moment allowed. I want some Kendrick Lamar and some Erykah Badu. Put my ashes in an urn and dance them to the mausoleum like your part of a New Orleans First Line. Pssst if anyone knows anyone who can make a First Line happen, do it!
You can put my ashes in a necklace if you want, but I’ma let you know right now, I won’t reciprocate. Just put my urn in that aforementioned mausoleum. I don’t want to end up in a shopping bag on the floor of somebody’s closet.
Oh yeah, and I want someone with graphic design skills to design my funeral program, and someone who really fucking knows me to write my obituary. It doesn’t have to be poetry, it just has to be true. I don’t need my resume regurgitated. You can tell ’em, I was born in Baltimore, my pre-school years raised in Edgewood, then Utah, and back to Aberdeen. You can even tell ’em where I went to school. But don’t list every professional job I ever had. Tell ‘em I love yellow tulips, whiskey and Prosecco, the scent of decaying leaves on a crisp fall day, Los Angeles in summer, YA books, and above all else music.
For years I’ve feared committing what I want to paper lest doing so tap the Grim Reaper on the shoulder to come see about me. But I had to give that up. I don’t want fear to prevent me from going out the way I want. I can’t control when and how I die, but I can damn sure provide a blueprint for my family. I’m in no way ready to leave this earth, but when I do I want my service to feel like I’m in the room leading the party.