I particularly appreciated this paragraph:
“Travel. See the world, if only through others’ eyes. Talk to strangers. Hear their stories and see things their way. Even if you disagree, you’ll be surprised to find that most people have a reason for the things they do and don’t do, and I always enjoy getting the “why” and “why not” behind their motives. Encourage others in their endeavors, entice them to create more beauty to overpower the bad that will always be present. We may not be able to eradicate the bad, but we can certainly opt out of participating in it.”
The whole thing made me think about family … and dealing with death, and even more important – dealing with life. *smile*
Here is something that I wrote after attending a memorial service recently:
When I die, I want a party.
Like in the joke about the difference between an Irish Wedding and an Irish Wake … just prop me up in the corner and put a drink in my hand.
I want my friends, my family, my acquaintances and co-workers to gather together. Everyone should be welcome – especially the one’s who annoyed me, who taxed and vexed me, who judged me harshly, who hurt my feelings … and yet were still, somehow, a part of my life. Every one of them have made me who I am, and I am grateful. When I die – don’t bury me, but bury all the baggage. I won’t be carrying it – that is for certain.
Have a big old fashioned pot-luck with home-made potato salad, casseroles that no one ever makes except for these kinds of gatherings, fried chicken and jello-salads, and pie. There should definitely be pie.
I want music. Maybe everyone should bring a cd, or an mp3 … whatever works … My oldest son should play some Slipknot and remember the first concert we went to together. The youngest should play “All Star” by Smash-mouth and think about the first time I ever took him to a Casino. At some point “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” will come on, and my best friend will smile at the irony and an old joke between us. My daughter should put on Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld just so everyone can remember me on my knees screaming along (“Mom, don’t sing!”) – an Epic fool but full of laughter and fun.
There should be at least one toast with shots of tequila … good tequila.
Pass the bottle and share a tale – that time we went tubing and I locked the keys in the car at the top of the run instead of leaving them at the bottom with the car that was supposed to be our pick-up vehicle, the time we went to the City and bickered all afternoon about directions and where to park and when to eat …
Do we know someone who plays bagpipes? Amazing Grace on bagpipes … because more than any prayer, any words, any other moment … that song was the thing to give me goosebumps, to let me shed heart-broken, heart-healing tears when I lost my dad, and my grandfather.
Then another toast, and more music, and more memories to turn the tears into laughter … and more pie. Don’t forget the pie … and the tequila … and most of all … don’t forget the love. Because I have been blessed with a whole hell of a lot of love in my life … and when I die … that is what I want to leave behind.
Don’t have a funeral, don’t waste time on headstones and plots of ground. Don’t rent doves or send wishes on balloons or wallow in sadness and words. Prop me up in the corner, put a glass in my hand and celebrate, because I will be right there with you.
When I die … I’d like for those I leave behind to have a party. Remember me in vibrant colors of anger and laughter, silliness and sincerity. Celebrate the life I have lived, and hopefully the moments and places that I have touched them, and carry me on.
In reality, when I die, I hope that my loved ones will do whatever it is that they want and need to do to celebrate and to grieve … because it will be for them, and not for me … but this is my wish, my hope … the spot I am trying to carve out and create in the world.