Lights Out. Curtains. The End. Without the possibility of an encore performance. THE BIG FINISH.
And although I found myself rather unperturbed by the entire concept of my life coming to a sudden (and tragic) halt, it was the idea of my send off that started to bother me even more.
Coming from a large family, I've been used to celebrating all manner of events from a very early age. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, christenings, graduations; they've all been attended with gusto. Funerals on the other hand have always been an alien event. My family tended to keep children away from funerals and death in general. And the one time I did attend one, I was too stressed out by the overwhelming atmosphere. The person in question had been a rather aged member of the family and had died after a good long life. Yet, there were people all around wailing and beating themselves with grief. Literally. Many years later, I found out that those women who had been weeping copious amounts of tears were what my dad referred to as "professional mourners." They regularly attended funerals of all and sundry and made sure that the overall atmosphere was rank with grief and despair. At the time, I did not know this, and I was scared and uncomfortable with the whole situation. And, as I often do in such times, I began talking and joking. Inappropriate sentences tumbled out of my mouth and I was powerless to stop myself. My grandmother and aunt who were the relatives closest to me promptly marched me out of the room and into the custody of a random cousin with instructions to take me home at once. Said cousin has often thanked me for getting him out of a claustrophobic room and uncomfortable suit. It was later decided that for the sake of the family, I was not to attend any more funerals; a decision I was more than happy to abide by.
But now, I was consumed with thoughts of my own sendoff. I knew what funerals are supposed to be and I also knew most certainly that I wanted mine to be nothing like a "regular" funeral at all. I didn't want sadness or grief or tears. Not unless they were going to be tears of laughter. Because, let's face it, when thinking about me, most of the time you're going to remember some sort of crackpot thing that I've said or done and that's just going to make you giggle.
And that's what I want. A room full of people who I love and who hopefully love me in return all sitting around sharing their personal stories about me. No one is to wear black, unless of course it is for the slimming effect and you have a LBD that you've been dying to wear. I would like folks to bring along their favourite picture of me. That way, everyone can see just how great my hair actually was!
I want music playing. Not some somber ponderous rendition of Amazing Grace either. But music that is reflective of me, of my life. Pink's Raise Your Glass comes to mind right now. So too Glee's Loser Like Me. Both terribly apt I'd say! These are the notes I want blasting through that room. And I DO mean blasting, so there's no way this is going to be in some stoggy funeral hall or prim and proper church. The party room of some pub would be a far more suitable venue.
If there is to be a eulogy, then I want it told by the three people who I know will do me justice. My cousin Scribbler, my big brother Beer Baron and the love of my life, Maestro. They know all the good stories spanning my childhood, my teenage years and in to adulthood. Also, by picking 3 writers, I'm increasing the odds of them being around after I've kicked it! I can count on these guys to leave off the flowery tributes and focus on the really and REAL stories instead. Even the ones that made me look like a complete tit. Especially those ones!
Please don't bother with flowers. Wreaths especially. Take that money you'd spend on lilies or carnations or whatever and instead put to towards some concrete way of remembering me. Plant a tree. Put a bench in park so that people can sit down and read on a fine summer's day. Donate it to a charity. Whatever. Just don't waste it on an ugly wreath that costs too much and will just wither away in a few days anyway.
I guess what I'm saying is, don't treat as the end of my life, rather, a celebration of it. Make it a great big party and by golly, I want people to be hungover as hell the next morning!
And if you are going to play Amazing Grace, at least make it a damned good version!