I have a playlist on Spotify called “A Celtic Gathering” and it’s all my favorite traditional Irish and Scottish songs, and it’s over 25 hours of music. It’s my pride and joy.
And I want it played at my funeral.
I know SUPER macabre for this blog, but I want my wishes known. As the daughter of a line of cemetery employees, I’ve come to be in favor of the “Good Death.”
If you don’t know Caitlin Doughty, she’s the purveyor of the Order of the Good Death, and I love everything she stands for. I mean, by purveyor, she encourages people to have Good Deaths, she is not a murderer.
And what do I mean about a “Good Death”? I mean, everyone in your family (and your friends too) know what you want at your funeral so there isn’t any questioning or wondering about whether she would have wanted/liked dot dot dot. It’s just there, already known. Do you want to be cremated? Got it. Do you want to be buried with a tree? Cool. Do you want to be blast out of a cannon with glitter? Go for it! But tell someone first!
So, get to planning. And as blog as my witness, I will have “A Celtic Gathering” played at my funeral. But hopefully not before I get to listen to it a few more times.
I think about this blog post a lot. Probably because I commute a lot. And maybe because I think about death a lot. But the more I think about it, the more it rings true.
As you may know from reading my blog before, I have a bit of a commute. And if you haven’t read my blog before, then now you know I have a bit of a commute. We all spend a lot of time in our cars: listening to music, stepping on our brakes, and following slowpokes. While I’m driving, I like seeing new models of cars and how much duct tape can be used to fix a bumper. And with my commute, I have seen a lot.
But today, I saw something a bit different. I was driving behind a rather beat-up truck with a large load. When I got a little closer, (not close enough to tailgate him, I know better) I noticed that there were four vending machines in the bed of the truck. As I stared at the soft drink logo and those curlicues made of metal that sabotage you when you try to get a bag of crackers, I morbidly wondered what would happen if one of them fell off the back of the truck and onto my waiting car. I mean, there would be no wondering if it happened. I would most certainly be dead. But I started to laugh when I thought that the headline would have to be something like, “Snack Attack: Vending Machines Kill Girl on Highway.” And I realized that if I had to go out like that, it wouldn’t be a blaze of glory, but I would be alright with it.
Laughing all the way home, thinking that I would probably need Dorito dust and honey bun sugar to be wiped off my corpse, I realized that what I want more than anything (besides to make it home every night not being killed by a rogue vending machine) is for people to laugh at my funeral. If I die in a really ordinary way, then can you at least set up some board games at the wake? I don’t want everyone to be in such a somber, sober mood that they forget all the times I (tried to) make them laugh. Sure, life can be difficult. But mourning me isn’t going to help you appreciate life, help you smell the flowers and see the sunrises. Only you can do that. And what is death but a final reminder to celebrate the life you lost? Giving you the pause in your life that you may not have given yourself when the person was alive to remember them and their legacy. Death keeps us honest but also whole.
I’m not saying it’s easy (or correct) to laugh at a funeral. But please try to at mine. Assuredly, I’m somewhere, (up? down? around?) laughing with you.
Oh, but don’t ask me for help in trying to get your snack out of the machine when it’s stuck. I’m not even sure God has the power to do that.