Fun With Funerals

When my parents and I had the talk about what they wanted for funerals, I listened. We picked out caskets, their “final outfits,” and, for Mom, the songs she wanted at her funeral. The last song was from the Fred Astaire movie, “Cheek to Cheek:”

“Heaven, I’m in Heaven
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak

And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek

Heaven, I’m in Heaven
And the cares that hang around me thro’ the week
Seem to vanish like a gambler’s lucky streak
When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek

Oh! I love to climb a mountain
And to reach the highest peak
But it doesn’t thrill me half as much
As dancing cheek to cheek

Oh! I love to go out fishing
In a river or a creek
But I don’t enjoy it half as much
As dancing cheek to cheek

Dance with me
I want my arm about you
The charm about you
Will carry me thro’ to Heaven

I’m in Heaven
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together dancing cheek to cheek.”

It was a heck of a way to end a funeral on a great note. At that, the tears stopped and the laughter began.

Dad, on the other hand, had made it clear that he wanted no funeral, just a graveside service. I made sure he got that, and, despite him saying that no one would show up for it as most of his friends had died long ago—there was a crowd of people there who cared for him, despite the rain that day.

So, I have done my due diligence for my parents; there they are in the Lakeview Cemetery, side by side in their caskets.

Not to be disrespectful, but that gives me the creeps. For me personally, I hate the idea of of being locked up in a box for all eternity. And cremation? Too hot (I hate the heat) and puts too many chemicals into the air. Donating my body to science? Well, at least it would be helpful. But I’m still kind of “meh” about it.

Now if only they could freeze-dry me like a can of coffee, that wouldn’t bother me. I’d rather be too cold than too hot. And yes, I do realize that, being dead, I wouldn’t feel anything, still all the above creeps me out.

So—what to do about my  funeral? For me, it’s the “green cemetery.” (Look them up; it’s pretty interesting.) Basically, you go to ground with no vault, no casket, just a blanket wrapped around you. This way my body will nourish the soil, help grass and flowers grow, and, should a hungry coyote dig me up and eat me—well, I’d have saved the life of another animal. In fact, if it were possible, I’d just as soon have my corpse thrown to the wild animals.

The other good thing about it is that it’s relatively cheap, too. Those annoying commercials on TV are right; funerals are expensive. From what little I’ve read so far about green cemeteries, it’s about $545 and BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket). Even if I left plenty of cash for my relatives to bury me, I’d still rather they tossed me into the ground, wrapped in my blankie, and let the bugs eat me. This way they’d have the money to have a huge party or whatever they wanted. (My relatives, that is—not the bugs.)

So, call me crazy, but I’d just as soon be part of the earth once I’ve slipped my mortal coil.

Now, lest reading this is a complete downer for you, let me throw in the famous funny sayings about death from the movie “Patch Adams”:

“To die. To expire. To pass on. To perish. To peg out. To push up daisies. To push up posies. To become extinct. Curtains, deceased, demised, departed and defunct. Dead as a doornail. Dead as a herring. Dead as a mutton. Dead as nits. The last breath. Paying a debt to nature. The big sleep. God’s way of saying, ‘Slow down.’”

And my personal favorite from the Brits: “she’s gone tits-up.” Wouldn’t that be eye-catching on a headstone!