Whatcha Wanna Leave Behind?

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Last week, the mother of a high school friend passed away after a two year bout with stomach cancer. This friend’s family went to the same church as we did growing up, so I’ve pretty much known them all my life. My parents were able to go to the funeral and pay their last respects, and a report on the funeral afterward came from my mom. It brings up a few good points I’d like you (and me) to think about…


For one, the deceased was a school teacher, just like my mom. Due to her profession, there was a song chosen about working with girls. Very appropriate. And, from what I hear, it was a really sweet song and not the sort of “Amazing Grace” or the usual church funeral hymns. Like, she wanted everything to be uplifting. Instead of the traditional dinner after the funeral, the mourners had ice cream. I find it kind of hard to be grief stricken when I have ice cream.


I have several friends who work for hospice and they do such fantastic work helping the dying become comfortable with their impending end of life. Unless you’ve been with someone struggling to live (or die, for that matter), it’s really hard to imagine. There’s a part of me that wants to drop dead of a heart attack when it’s my time. Just, poof! Gone. And then there’s a little part of me that, of course, doesn’t like the idea of suffering, but that is intrigued by the ability to arrange things after one is gone. Like, in this friend’s case, she said she wanted the service to be uplifting. She wanted a treat for mourners. When someone dies unexpectedly, they don’t get to plan their last hurrah.


The Hottness has the absolute demand that there not be orange flowers at her funeral. Don’t worry, she’s not dying any time soon. For me, if my funeral or memorial or whatever is held in St. Louis, I’d like everyone to retreat to my favorite pub, PJ’s, and have a last toast, if they so choose. And I’d kind of like to have “He’s Gone” by the Grateful Dead done by a couple guys with acoustic guitars. But honestly? I’m dead. Do what’s easiest.


Still, it brings up some good points to ponder. How do you want to be remembered? What would you like for your last gathering of family and friends? Do you have certain items you’d like to be given to certain people?


And, we’re all familiar with the money disputes and inheritance conflicts we’ve seen in others (maybe our own?) families. I’m not talking about that. Think of it in a vacuum. Not that, if I don’t give this ring to daughter so and so, she’ll be mad. You get to do what you want. What do you want? Have you thought about it? Do you have an aversion to thinking about it?


Death and dying are inevitable. I mean, it’s going to happen to the best of us, right? I guess the main thing I’d like to leave behind is the ability to continue doing good. What about you?

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