Friday, May 8, 2009

She loved painting ceramics, cats, and dogs...

So here's the thing... I think about death too much. Always have. I never thought I'd make it to the age of 30. I think that the idea of dying young makes life livable sometimes. Probably just the result of reading too many VC Andrews novels in my teens though.

30 came and went. 40 hit hard. I surrounded myself with friends and family and celebrated the milestone but inside I was still sad. The day before my 40th, my cousin's daughter died from an asthma attack. She was only 21. I felt sad for Debbie and for Jessica's daughter who would have to grow up without her sweet mama. And I felt sad for me for not being able to share my 40th birthday with my own mom.

I talked to my dad about death recently. My dad has lung cancer and we're waiting to see how this last round of chemo went. When we talked about death however, we discussed mine...not his. I told him that I had planned my funeral and he told me that if I were to go before him he would assure me that my plans were NOT carried out. LOL

Months ago I recorded myself singing Dust in the Wind on MySpace Karaoke because I want it played at my funeral over a powerpoint of pictures from my life. He said that was a no-go. He said that it would be too sad for people to have to listen to me singing after I was gone....and a little creepy. I pointed out that I was fine with that because I want people to miss me but realize that I'll always be with them. He didn't care. He said that if something were to happen me today I would have the most traditional funeral ever. One more reason to live I guess.

I asked Val what she is going to say when it's time for my eulogy. What stories will she tell about me to celebrate my life. At the risk of ruining it for my big day, this is what she came up with:

"I'd tell about you being a true blue friend - the kind that lets you run wild
in the class room while she's doing her ventriloquist show and not rat
you out to the teacher. The kind that will take the heat
because you're too chicken to fess up to your mother. The kind that
housesits while you go to your father's funeral. The kind that creates and
maintains a website so the world can know how your daughter is doing.
I'd tell about you wearing ugly ties and drawing on white sneakers
and eating watermelon and only corn and before school runs to the Sing
store. And the word we had in Ba for being able to turn on the hot
water in the bathtub with your toes. "

I gotta tell you...those were some awesome words and I shed a few tears when I read them! Val is the best speaker I know and I know she won't let me down when it comes time to lead the round of "remember when" stories on the big day.

Okay so let's get down to brass tacks. What DO I want to happen that day? It's probably morbid to discuss all this but frankly I think that "proper planning prevents poor performance" is never more important than on the day of your funeral. I don't want my kids to have to stress out over details. I want them to be able to enjoy the celebration.

I want the aforementioned music played at my funeral. If for some reason MySpace Karaoke is down I want either the Still Magnolias or Jon Lowery and Tom Eavenson to play guitar and sing for y'all. PLEASE spare everyone the organ music! Nothing sounds creepier to me than "Lady Marmalade" played over a loud speaker on an organ. LOL

Pictures abound. There are no excuses for anyone to not have good pics of me to share during the big show. I've been through too many experiences (okay 2) where we spent good grieving time looking for pictures for the funeral home to scan. Mine are already digital. Bonus.

I want to be cremated for a few different reasons. First of all I really hate the idea of the guilt that people feel when they can't get to the cemetery to visit a grave. Or worse, the panicky feeling that hits when you get to the cemetery and realize that you can't immediately pick it out of the masses. I'd rather my family think about me being a part of the earth somewhere than to stress over putting flowers out for me once or twice a year.

The other reason I want to be cremated....and I know this will never fly so it's going to take some diversion creation by Niki and Jo that I want my ashes shared by my loved ones. I don't care if you have to divvy me up in the parking lot after the ceremony. I want everyone to get a piece of me and do things that I never would have done.

Adam is going to take me on a roller coaster and scatter me there after a ride. Beth will take me to the ocean and let me loose on the waves (where I can assure you some shark will be waiting to gobble up my remains). Jamie will take me to Mardi Gras and let the good times roll right over me. And if it were to happen anytime soon...someone needs to make sure I make it to graduation on Sept. 12th.

I want lots of laughter and storytelling. I've been entertaining y'all for years and I don't want it to stop just because I'm not around anymore. Tell about the stupid things we used to do and the way I made you laugh until you peed your pants.

Promise to make sure that when my kids are old enough to hear the stories, that you'll tell them that I wasn't just a mom but that I was a person who loved them not just because I gave birth to them. And PLEASE remind them where they were born. I swear that if one more of them mentions being born in a hospital I'm going to holler. LOL

Let there be food. LOTS of food. But don't take it to the house where the kids have to deal with it. Get a pavillion somewhere and set up tables and grill some meat. I hear that Keith Edgar is the man to call for that. Find him on my Facebook page. And there has to be devilled eggs made with sour pickles...not sweet. And chocolate cake.

You might be wondering why I titled this blog "She loved painting ceramics, cats, and dogs..." I was reading the obituaries this morning (per usual) and this line struck me as funny. I mean...this woman probably didn't paint cats OR dogs but this sentence reads that way right? Make sure that my obit is free of typos and glaring grammatical errors. I'm not prewriting it (surprised?) so I trust you guys to make it entertaining.

Please don't freak out and think I'm planning my death or anything because I wrote this blog. I'm just a planner and I like to have my memorable events taken care of way in advance. It's how I cope with all the uncertainties in life.

Please make sure that there are no screechy singers and that the chocolate cake is nice and gooey. I'll be watching you know....

1 comment:

kirsten said...

so many things Kim.

i love to hear your voice again.

very close to home.
wanting everyone to be happy and celebrate is totally right, but unrealistic.

i needed and need to acknowledge my husband's death in so many ways. it's a daily thing. he'd so not want me to be sad and sloppy, but it happens. he's with me all the time, but not...and i can't help but get really upset over that when it hits me. it can be for only a second, or a whole day and i'll have to do all kinds of mental and emotional somersaults to break it up sometimes.

i had to make the decisions about Morgan's 'funeral'. we'd never had a specific conversation about funerals. family and friends were COMPLETELY SUPPORTIVE but i had to be the one and i still hope no one feels 'incomplete' with what i did.

you'd have really liked him, Kim. wouldn't have been able to help yourself. no one could. *giant smile*

your details are so close to what we did for Morgan. great minds and hearts. an afternoon filled with music, pictures and stories - and favorite doughnuts!! it was what i thought would make most folks feel like he was there and comfortable to tell their favorite stories and memories. more laughs than tears and even those were on smiling faces.

no one grieves wrong and i hope folks can draw from the feelings of all those gathered that day, if they need to. if someone needed or still needs 'more tradition' i hope they can find it. i think of more memorials all the time. i won't be done for a long while.

Morgan was sunshine. he just made you smile and bask. eyes closed. face toward the sky.