Death talk was not what caught my attention on the cover of the magazine. As usual, it was an article about how to best loose weight. This feature focused on eating clean. (prevention.com november 2016) I bought it. Read about clean eating, may try it. More to my interest was a ‘Personal Journey’ feature, “Mourning Becomes Her.” The experience of a young widow, Audrey Pellicano. She turned her loss into a mission. If you have an opportunity to read her journey, it is well worth the time.
Ironically, death will take a few pounds off most of us. As long as I am healthy and can fasten my clothes, my weight loss success will most likely be attained at cremation…the fat will melt away. Okay, maybe it’s a weak joke. As a culture we need to relax and understand that no matter who we vote for in presidential elections, we will all die one day. Accept that fact. Talk about what you want and don’t want during your final days; especially after your final breath.
One of my all time favorite songs is sung by David Clayton Thomas of Blood Sweat & Tears. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gxwutvlTw8 http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bloodsweattears/andwhenidie.html It starts out; “I’m not scared of dying and, I don’t really care. If it’s peace you find in dying, well then let the time be near.” If you are not familiar or have forgotten, take a few minutes to listen or read (or both) the lyrics. It has an upbeat sound.
Death is an uncomfortable topic of conversation. Think back a few years. Remember when Playtex ads showed the bra on the outside of a sweater? Now, it’s not such an embarrassment to advertise bras. Years ago, who could ever have imagined television commercials about erectile dysfunction, depression, personal products for periods…Our children are growing up with these dirty little now spoken words as part of daily media messages.
So, what’s next? Death. Dying, End-of-Life issues, funerals. Caskets – what a market! There are so many choices, price ranges, themes – yes, themes. Even furniture to be used now and later as a burial box. https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2011/10/26/woodworker-chuck-lakin-makes-caskets-that-double-furniture-before-their-final-use/WLEjtGl1ueJ1Z8DJRQpR5O/story.html
Or build your own.
Amazed! Go ahead. Take a look. Break tradition. Open discussions.
Recently, I met a woman with a terminal condition. She was still full of life, love and joy – yet she was comfortably ready to die. Her children had organized a Celebration of Life afternoon for her; while she was lucid and alive. It was the perfect day for the garden party.
Family and friends gathered and were able to verbalize, hug, kiss and share. They told her how much she was loved; how knowing her filled spaces in their hearts; how little things she did or said left lasting impressions in their lives. Better yet, she was there in person and breathing – alive – to hear all the personal tributes from them to her! How sweet is that? Why do we wait to eulogize our loved ones? Let’s start a revolution! Let’s talk about it!
When my dad (stepdad but he was like a father to us) died he didn’t want flowers. Frugal and pragmatic, he requested food for the local homeless/food bank shelters. It was a first for the funeral home. I’d like to think others followed (I don’t live there) his example. Of course, if I were in the floral business I may think otherwise. Dad wasn’t one for fancy duds. He was dressed in a work shirt, dungarees with his wide red suspenders and a cap from his favorite local diner.
Dad wasn’t much on gospel or spiritual music. He wanted “Puff the Magic Dragon” to be played. The only traditional custom was the 21 gun military salute and presentation of the flag (to my mom). He was cremated and now resides in a lovely marble-like urn on my youngest sister’s mantle (she is the child of my mom and stepdad). Mom is there too. Another option for cremains is jewelry. http://www.jewelrykeepsakes.com/Cremation-Jewelry-s/20.htm?gclid=CKfNubiCn9ACFUlLDQody1UDkw
Mom didn’t have a viewing. Her celebration of life was a few months after her death. It was held at the Bradley-Bourbonnais Sportsman’s Club in our hometown. The “club” is built on property donated by her father; over the years many of our large family gatherings were held there. Her favorite gospel song was performed by members of a local gospel group; she was a groupie.
Stories were shared. Her signature beret was worn by one of us. We lit individual candles to the strains of “This Little Light of Mine;” she had nine children and many grands, even great grands, so there are lots of her little lights burning brightly.
Get your hands on documents such as “Five Wishes.” http://www.freegovernmentforms.net/landing.htm?kw=Free%20Five%20Wishes%20Forms&gclid=CMfoytr9ntACFUpMDQod3W0DYw (download and print). Fill it out and share it with your loved ones.
Also, if you haven’t yet, get Advance Directives, Living Will documents for your state. Fill those out. No need to notarize but have them witnessed and distributed. If your thoughts or plans change any time, destroy those and make new ones. Thanksgiving is coming, many families gather then. Have the documents – a copy for each family member – complete them between dinner and desert.
Organ donor? Those documents are also available – make it more than just on your driver’s license .http://www.freegovernmentforms.net/landing.htm?kw=Organ%20Donor%20Forms&gclid=CIWj5fn-ntACFYZMDQodqWQCYA
Any questions? Talk about it. Look for it on the web – probably a form for it.
Just do it! Think of your specific plans as the best gift to your loved ones. They will know exactly what you want when the time arrives. They will not be obligated to make guilt ridden decisions which may not be anything close to what you want.
If this revolution catches on we each can truly rest in peace.