A few months ago I was reading The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey and there is a point in the book where a bunch of people with terminal illnesses have to write about their funeral (I have no idea why they waited till they were in a hospice to think of these things but hey, it must have moved the plot along).
Then it got me thinking about the fact that young people don’t really talk about the big things like funerals and death. And they really should. People die young too. You don’t die at the age of 104 surrounded by family. I mean some people do die at the age of 104 but being young doesn’t automatically make you impervious to death.
So today I am going to talk about my funeral because it scares me and I’m quite obviously not going to live forever. I mean if David Bowie can die there is basically no hope for the rest of us.
First thing, I don’t want to be put in the ground. This is mostly because the graveyard my grandparents are in (and where my parents will end up too) is the most awful place I can think of. You could visit on a lovely sunny day and that graveyard will still be cold and windy. I’m not sure how it manages that but it does.
But the thought of cremation somehow manages to seem worse than being buried. But here is the thing. When I was a kid I somehow managed to get this idea into my head that when you die you turn into flowers. And it’s sort of true, I know very little about science but I know energy isn’t created and destroyed it turns into something else. So if (as Carl Sagan said) “we are all made of star stuff” then doesn’t it mean that a part of us would turn into flowers after death? I still don’t like the thought of cremation but I think I have a better chance of turning into flowers that way.
Now, I would rather not have a funeral in a church. I’m really not into that whole organised religion thing (though I find Buddhism fascinating). I would like to go out with as little fuss as possible. I don’t like making a scene now and I’m pretty sure I would be embarrassed if anyone made a big deal over my death. And let’s be realistic, I only have like 3 friends so it’s not like many people would turn up anyway.
Now onto music, because that’s always an important thing at funerals. I’m not a fan of music in general. My ipod broke years ago and since then I just got used to not listening to music. But there will be a part of me that always loves musical theatre. So I suppose showtunes would be a good way to go out. I would make one specific song request though: I’m Going Home. Not the hymn version (because that does exist), I’m referring to the version from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Because this final song somehow manages to be poignant and lovely and everyone will have to listen to it while I know it’s actually been sung by a dude who is sad because he made a hunk in a tank who was then killed by a bunch of aliens. I will truly have the last laugh.
One last and I think most important thing. Do not let anyone say I went gently into that good night or she greeted death like an old friend or any bullshit like that. I will not, I refuse to go gently into that good night because if I’m perfectly honest that good night scares the ever living shit out of me.
Okay this post is getting far too serious for my liking so I will end with a bit of advice from Monty Python.
Life’s a piece of shit, when you look at it
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true
You’ll see it’s all a show, keep ’em laughin as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you
PS: I want to point out (because this is really quite a serious subject) that I’m not dying. I’m not planning on offing myself. I spoke to Joe about this post and he convinced me it was a good thing to write about so if you didn’t like it go complain to him.
PPS: I mean I technically am dying but then technically you’re dying too so yeah….