Well, I mean, I’m going to. I mean soon, though.
It’s probably that I spent too much of my early life in funeral homes that makes me think like this. My family came from a place and time where you still had all-nighters in the funeral home. I slept on a lot of red velvet, Victorian-style sofas until I woke up one morning with my eye swollen shut and we realized I might be allergic to the upholstery cleaners they used. I think that’s why I think a lot about my funeral. I’ve always done it. In high school, I was planning my funeral.
I’d rather die than have it in a funeral home…ok, not funny, but I really can’t stand them. All the neutral colored, neo-classical architecture. Blech. I don’t want a bunch of people bumping into each other in fancy clothes, wondering if they can or can’t take the coffee in with the casket. I don’t want a casket either. Ugh. And for the love of high school basketball, I don’t want a bunch of $500 flower crosses on tripods!
I want everybody to cook something. We’re in the south, you’re gonna do it anyway, might as well make it useful. Put on jeans and t-shirts, or tuxes and fancy ball gowns, or duck costumes. Whatever you feel comfortable in that day. Use it as an excuse to go get something you’ve always wanted and never thought you’d wear. (“I wasn’t going to buy that crystal coated gown with the fifty layer tulle skirt, but then Alice died…*sigh* I had to wear something!) Take your covered dish down to the Riverpark and get a table. Somebody might have to rent the pavilion, it’s Chattanooga, it could rain on the three people who show up without warning. Hook up my laptop and hit shuffle. Listen to all of it. Buffy musical, Here Come the Mummies, Irish pub songs, the whole nine. After you leave, the family is going to go to New Orleans and throw my ashes in the Mississippi anyway, because even my ashes aren’t spending eternity in Chattanooga. (Heck, pack up and go to New Orleans with them. Go to one of the art museums, go to Jackson Square, sit at Cafe Du Monde and get caffeined up, go to the Avenue Pub and have the Dumptruck waffle fries!)
Most importantly, learn things. I’m alright that you won’t learn the higher, loftier things from my funeral. You certainly won’t learn how important it is to have a big, close-knit group of blood relatives. You won’t learn how important it is to have a long career. I hope you learn that music is joy, it’s sorrow, it’s pain, and it’s love. Learn that trees are amazing, and color is everywhere. Find out that you can learn things from fictional books, because I always have. Being frivolous, being silly, and being hysterically happy aren’t actually childish. Learn that painting a mural on any wall of your house is ok. It’s your house. You want a big black and silver tree in your closet? DO IT! Try things! Rejection is only one person’s opinion (or a group…depending on what you got rejected from or over), and sometimes that hurts, but they can’t take away your birthday. Please learn that helping people doesn’t always mean using money…and that your family is a collection of people that love you because they want to do it, not because they feel required to do it. Donate your organs! They may be crappy, but there’s a good chance they’re still better than somebody else’s organs. In summation, life is not something that happens to you, it’s something that you create.
I feel better now that I’ve gotten that out, so maybe somebody will learn something without me actually having to die…because…that would be cool.