Mourning the Dead


Don’t go all crazy on me with the title of my blog. This isn’t a morbid story.

My aunt just died. She was 96 years old and I envied her vitality, creativity and humor. She was a wonderful woman.

When I saw her obituary I frowned.

Why do we have to go through such elaborate measures to mourn the dead? I mean, they’re dead. They don’t care. They aren’t even going to be at their own wake and funeral, so what’s all the fuss about?

If they had to make a poster board with pictures of me or my husband, it would look like a kindergartener’s best work.

In my opinion, I think the whole pomp and circumstance spent on planning for a wake, funeral and post obligatory lunch–which sometimes turns into dinner, if you come from an Italian family–puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on the immediate relatives who already have enough pressure, stress, and sadness.

My husband and me are making it easy on our kids. When we die, we don’t want a wake. Don’t bother going through the thousands of photographs we have to make a poster board, or make a slide show presentation.

What am I saying?

I have three boys; none of them have ever possessed the fondness of gluing, scrap-booking, or making pretty posters with pictures on them unless it was for a science project during high school. If they had to make a poster board with pictures of me or my husband, it would look like a kindergartener’s best work.

We won’t bother them with calling long-lost relatives, or in other words, people you only speak to when you go to funerals and weddings.

They won’t have to pick out caskets. I vividly remember having to pick out a very tombstonesexpensive casket for my mom when she passed away and she was being cremated.

WTF? Was buying this elaborate mother of pearl casket with roses on it really necessary?

My husband and me are going to be cremated. We told our kids, “Whoever dies first, get us cremated and then keep us in the wooden box we came in until the next one keels over. When you get both of us in ashes, dump us over the cliff with Sarge, (our favorite dog who died in January of this year and is also cremated and standing watch in our family room),where we got married in Maui. You’ll get a nice vacation.”

I’m not joking. My husband, even though he has had a very rewarding life in the military, doesn’t want any of the elaborate drama that comes with military funerals. He’s seen enough of them to last a lifetime.

As for me, my body is a shell. I don’t really care what happens to it when I die. I just want to be thrown into the air and spread across the Pacific with my husband at the same time.

We aren’t dramatic people. We don’t want to put our kids through the added stress of having one person after another say, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” They don’t need to deal with that, and we are trying to make it as simple as possible for them because they will still have to clean out our house, divide stuff up, have an estate sale, put the house up for sale, fight over candle stick holders, yada, yada, yada.

Then, there’s the whole financial aspect for them to deal with. Social security, life insurance (well, not for me because no one will give me life insurance. I’m too “risky”). That’s proof alone that I’ll go first.

If I do go first, I really just hope that they don’t shove me in a closet behind some shoe boxes. Odds are, when they’re cleaning the place out, they’ll mistake my ashes for an old pair of shoes.

My body is now trashed. Not that it wasn’t already; it just literally is now trash if they were to toss me into the garbage unintentionally…hopefully unintentionally.

I don’t think my husband would let that happen. He’ll build a shrine for my wooden box. Surrounded by candles and incense, he’ll learn how to pray and miss my obligatory swearing, hard of hearing loud mouth, and snarling smile.

It’s so much easier for those left behind to forego the whole funeral ritual. Some people may state that they need to go through the process to gain closure and pay their respects; sort of a final goodbye.

In my opinion, if you had a close relationship with me, you probably already said your goodbye’s when I was on my death-bed. It may not even be a bed. I could be road kill for all I know.

What I do know for a fact is that you do have a soul. My husband claims I don’t, but I think I do. Your soul goes to heaven (or hell), where you reside doing whatever it is souls up in heaven do. I’ll have to let you know about that one.

I wonder if I could blog from heaven. Hell definitely wouldn’t have wi-fi; that would be torture for anyone. If you don’t hear from me in the after life, you’ll know where I ended up.

 

 

 

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