#5 – Plan my funeral. Check.

Did you know that I’m going to live until I’m 107 years old? Well, that’s my goal at least. Having been born in 1980, I figure some MASSIVE changes will be made by 2080. I want to be lucid enough to comprehend it all, so I’m giving myself seven additional years as a buffer. 

How does one get to 107 years old? First off, I know genetics play a big role. My grandma just turned 88 and she’s extremely lively. She lives alone, manages a neighboring tenant, still drives, and I honestly think if you got her mad enough, she could win in a bar fight. So genetics? Check.

Then I’ve also spent a lot of time on the Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator. Last year, it said I would live to 92, but after tweaking a few lifestyle habits, this year I’m up to 97 (giving up coffee just isn’t worth an additional six months of living). I exercise (vigorously) six times a week, I eat mostly vegetarian and fish, I floss my teeth, and so on. So lifestyle? Check.

In addition, many of you know that I am keenly aware of the many natural and man-made disasters that may befall us. I spend inordinate amounts of time (awake and in dreams) planning for earthquakes, tsunamis, plane crashes. I know a lot of these situations are sheer luck at the moment of disaster, but statistically surviving afterwards is about preparation and know-how. 

But I am also aware (as my fatalistic friend, Jim, recently reminded me) that sometimes shit just happens. Translation: I need to have my funeral planned out now). I already wrote a beginning post, You are Invited to Party Over My Grave, and today I’m going to wrap it up.

How does one plan a funeral? Well, the nerd in me found a handy checklist on the interweb: Funeral Planning Checklist. I encourage everyone to at least take a look and maybe jot some of the important stuff on a notepad – you never know!

Without much ado, here are my answers to the checklist (I realize some people might be thinking, “This chick is freaking morbid.” You’re right; but I’m also prepared).

General Preparations

THE OBITUARY – I learned from my stepfather who worked at the newspaper, a good obit photo needs to really focus in on your FACE. Ones where you’re grouped with a bunch of people will just make you look pixelated. At the moment, I think this should be my obit photo.

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JUST KIDDING! But seriously, please pick something flattering. Also, you know those funny obits that go viral? Well, I don’t need anything that exciting, but I would like something with character; something people will laugh at. Feel free to include all of my eccentric interests…and don’t forget to say that I’m survived by my cats.

DONATIONS – Being an animal lover, I would like any donations to be given either to The Oregon Humane Society, or the Oregon Zoo. (I have always dreamed of having a brick or a bench or something at the zoo with my name on it).

FUNERAL HOME – Beings that I don’t subscribe to any religions, you can pretty much pick anything that’s easy. 

Funeral Home Services

MY REMAINS – Ok, so this is hard. A big part of me wants to go six feet under in a head-to-toe leopard outfit, but I have read way too many horror stories of people being exhumed and scientific evidence shows they woke up. Cremation sounds like a quick and dirty process (no pun intended). I don’t really care what you put my ashes in, but if it had a cat on it, that would be pretty cool.
SERVICE – We already know the music, but where’s the party going to happen? Well, it depends on the time of year. If it’s summer, do something indoors and then go have a beach bonfire in my honor (hey! if you could spread my ashes at the same time! that would be two birds with one stone!); if it’s the winter, you know it’s got to be something holiday themed – like Timberline Lodge. Make sure you serve gingerbread cookies and peppermint schnapps.
VIEWING – Before I’m cremated, I don’t really want anyone to look at me – unless they really want to. But no public viewing. 
FLORAL ARRANGEMENT – I think it would be a little funeral-zilla to be picky about flowers. Go with whatever is easiest. If you’re like, “It would be a lot easier if she just picked!” then go with yellow and pink roses.
PHOTOGRAPH – Again, something flattering, please.
RELIGIOUS ITEMS – Let’s be very clear here. I am not religious. No religious items or prayers or hymns at my service. 

CLOTHING – Well, I already said that I don’t want to be viewed, but I think my husband, Thor, should pick a dress (sorry, dude). 
LITERATURE TO READ – I have read King Rat by James Clavell every summer since I was 14. Please read the passage from the last page of the book that starts, “His eyes looked at the things of the past…” until it the last line, “And then, in his turn, he looked back no more.” 
MEMORIAL REGISTER – Ok I literally had to google what this is. Skip it! And all the stupid stationary. I really don’t want it.

Participants

OFFICIATOR – Ummm, your choice?
Family member or friend to perform the eulogy – One time my friend, Frances, told me a story about a eulogy that had to do with a guy that said, “I’d rather have a hot dog and a big girl than a big dog and a hot girl,” or something like that. It was really funny. Frances, would it be too much to ask for you to tell a hilarious story? Perhaps one of our first meetings at The Know?
Family member or friend to read scripture or literature – Up for grabs! Who wants it?!

Burial or cremation plot – I think you have to get a permit to spread someone’s ashes, right? Well,  I’m not sure where I want my ashes spread. Maybe somewhere in Hawaii, or on the University of Kansas (lol).

ONE FINAL REQUEST – I like the idea of someone visiting me. I won’t be having children, and I know eventually over time, I will be forgotten. So instead, I want to arrange paying a random stranger $100 a year to visit the spot of my ashes on any day they choose, until they themselves cannot perform this duty or the money set aside for this dries up. 

And there it is, folks. My final wishes. Let’s hope I have another 73 years before we need them.

 

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