Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Funeral

Don't take this the wrong way, but I've planned out my funeral/wake.

I figured I should probably create a record of what I want to happen in the event that I die. I know I'm not going to be there, and so I won't actually care what goes on, but I'd at least like to know now that I have some list of my requests. Assurance for the future, call it.

To start of with, I want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered. I don't really care where. The ocean sounds nice.

I don't want a traditional funeral. I want more of a wake. Have it in some church or something if you must, but I want a large percentage of the budget going towards alcohol. If you have to cry over me being dead (and I don't see why you would, really), then do it on your own time. I always hated going to funerals which were all about the death of a person. Seriously. Let's have a decent remembrance of when I was alive, and then a fucking huge party. That's probably about the most apt way of celebrating my "life."

Moving on to more specific requests. There are three songs that must be played at my funeral:

Opening: "Life Without You," by Stevie Ray Vaughn
Middle: "Little Wing," by Stevie Ray Vaughn, covering Jimi Hendrix
Closing: "Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Parts 1-5," by Pink Floyd.

The only official "reading" that I want I my funeral is this:

"We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here." - Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow.

Joe, Arto, and Mary are fully allowed to heckle me at my funeral, and Joe had better have a pretty good eulogy, delivered in a mean-old-cuss-cowboy way. Just saying.

Keep the heaven and god talk to a minimum, if at all possible. The funeral's really for the folks left behind, and I would rather it be more a celebration of life for them than endlessly droning on about some afterlife or "better place" or other such nonsense. This world is more full of wonder than people give it credit for, and it is enough for me.

That's all I have so far. Maybe more later.


The Rooster said...

Great post! I think about death all the time -- not in a fearful way, but in a life-is-too-short-to-be-a-tool way. I love the songs you picked for the funeral. I don't know if I could pick a handful of songs. Some that come immediately to mind are "Fade to Black" (Metallica), "Planet Caravan" (Black Sabbath), "Burning of the Midnight Lamp" (Hendrix), etc.

The Rooster said...

I thought of another one: "Victim of Changes" by Judas Priest -- the live version off Unleashed in the East rather than the studio version.

Daniel said...

I remember you mentioning this not really sure the exact moment but it is none the less a fantastic idea, on one hand it seems quite morbid to be celebrating and having a giant party at a funeral. But on the other hand I fully comprehend celebrating the person and all the great moments spent with them. But every time I hear this or something like it, anytime I see a funeral I always want to question people why they are crying. Obviously I understand why, although according to their religious beliefs they are in a far better place than the mortal earth. So everyone crying is basically mourning the fact that they will not be able to spend more time with that particular person. I see two reasons for this grief, either

A) They really accept the fact that the person is REALLY gone and they will never see them again.


B) They are an incredibly selfish person and they don't want their loved ones to move on to a "better place" or at least until they themselves die and can be with them.

Either way it does not look good for their religious beliefs. Regardless the reason I assure you I will drink and party until I drop(I think it would be funny to die at a funeral, god I love irony)

Ragoth said...

@ Rooster - Thanks, and those are all good choices. I especially like Fade to Black. Maybe because it was one of the first Metallica songs I learned to play (the first was Wherever I May Roam).

@ Dan - I agree for the most part, and I think we've hashed this out in personal conversations. I can understand, if you're truly religious and believe both of you will go to paradise/heaven/whatever, that you can still be terribly sad because you know that you won't meet them again for possibly a very long time. That makes sense...but the extent of grief doesn't always measure of to this, in my mind. But then again, maybe I'm colder at heart than most people. I'd prefer to say just more realistic, as I am very sad when I know I'm not going to see a good friend for some time, but that in no way compares with the sense of loss when someone I know dies.

Zie said...

i get to heckle you too.

just kidding.


DirtyGaijin said...

Ya know, funerals are a funny thing to me. Not "ha ha" funny, or anything, because that seems cruel. But, when it really comes down to it, I don't care what people do about me after I die. Funerals are for the living, not the dead, after all.

I think my only request would be that if there was a funeral, that there would be a clown there. Maybe pony rides.

Ragoth said...

Yes, I need a large heckle squad, Zie.

And Gaijin...thank you, for your...unique...sense of scope.

Okada said...

@ DirtyGaijin

You know somehow that seems quite fitting for you.