I’ve been thinking a lot about death. Not about how I am going to cause mine, but how I want mine handled. It seems I’ve been surrounded by death more lately. My friend James committed suicide. My aunt’s husband, Don, succumbing to lung cancer, and there are news stories of veterans who pass with no living relatives but who receive a send off from strangers worthy of a head of state.
One evening not long ago, I wrote down a list of songs I wanted played at my wake. It started with Skynyrd’s timeless Freebird.
“If I leave here tomorrow
Will you still remember me?
I must be traveling on now
There’s so many places I have to see.”
I always wonder why I’ve never heard that at any funerals. It’s always something cheesy and often religious, even if the deceased wasn’t. For many people, they should just play “Thank God and Greyhound You’re Gone”.
James had a memorial service attended by at least 200. Don did not want a service of any kind, a decision also made by my late sister-in-law, Vicki.
I’ve finally decided I don’t want a service. Just let me be forgotten and don’t prolong the process by having a service. Don’t have me dressed up in a suit in an expensive casket. And for God’s sake do not have a viewing so people can come and stare mournfully at my earthy remains. Don’t have a viewing at all, but especially don’t have an open casket. If you in insist on doing so, at least have the undertaker extend my middle fingers as my hands lay across my chest and have them give me an erection.
The Egyptians buried their dead with things they’d need for the afterlife, like food and spears and cats. Not sure why the cats, but they had a thing for them. Maybe they ate them after they died. Anyway, don’t send me off with anything fancy. I just want to enter the next world with a hard on.
Burn my body and spread my ashes up along the Mogollon Rim. I don’t want a gravesite that no one visits or feels guilty about not doing so.
The ancient Judeans reused tombs. Once the body was decomposed the bones would be retrieved, the skeleton broken and placed in an Ossuary, literally a bone box. This was done so future archeologists would find them then become fabulously famous, if not wealthy, by selling them to the Museum and the university where the most famous archeologist of all, Indiana Jones, teaches.
I think this is a great custom and we should revive it, but put shit in there that will totally fuck with 39th century archeologists. Like cut off the top of my skull and leave a spoon in my ossuary to make them think that you ate ice cream out of my head in some bazaar Ben and Jerry’s ritual. Or maybe leave a prop from Men In Black so I end up on a future episode of Ancient Aliens.
What really matters most is I am ready. I’m tired. Some days I am just done. I rely completely upon God’s Grace. I can only humbly say, “Lord be gracious unto me, for I am a sinner.” No, “I tried.” No bargaining. No, weighing my life on a scale like God is Lady Liberty or something. God showed us His character in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The Bible does not contain the phrase “have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” And it most certainly never says to “invite Jesus into your heart.” Those sound good over a hymn and an offering. Jesus simply bids us to “take up [our] cross daily and follow [him].”
What happens to us after we die, I do not know. I just know I am ready. And I don’t want a big stink made over me. Just know I endeavored to live a life that mattered. To live justly. Be merciful. And to walk humbly with God.