When people attend funerals, I think it’s natural for them to think about their own mortality and how they would like people to mourn or celebrate, as the case may be. Okay, maybe it isn’t natural. Maybe it’s morbid. And maybe I’m the only one. But these are some thoughts I had during my great-grandmother’s visitation at the funeral home last week.
Really, I shared these thoughts with my cousins as they asked how I would like my funeral to be. I assume they were just curious and not actually planning my demise. But it got me thinking about what I’d like people to do when my time comes. And this is an evolving thing, so it will likely be different by the time that time comes. Which I assume is several centuries away.
I’ve always said that I would like to be cremated. I just don’t see the point of taking up a small plot of land that no one’s going to visit anyway. This could also eliminate the uncomfortable viewing of the body during that already uncomfortable visitation time.
This might offend some folks, but I really don’t like the viewing. I get that, for some, seeing the body is a part of their grieving process. Some people are genuinely impressed with how the body looks and comment on how well the funeral directors or undertakers or morticians did to make them look normal. To me, they don’t look normal. No matter what is done to the body, I never think they look good. To me, they always look like a creepy wax sculpture version of themselves. When people say, “Doesn’t she look good?” the most I can come back with is a nod or maybe, “mmhmm…”
So I don’t particularly want that for myself. But I did tell my sister that, if my family wants the viewing/visitation, I’ll allow it. As I said, for some it’s a part of their grieving process.
But if my corpse is going to be on display, there will be conditions. First, I want a cell phone in my pocket. I want someone to call it every so often, specifically when someone is leaning over the casket commenting on how good I look. Second, I’d like the casket to be spring loaded, so my body would sit up randomly. Finally, if possible, I would like my face to look non-traditional. They usually go for a look that says, “I’m at peace.” But I’d like to either look like I died in hysterical laughter or with a face frozen in terror. To all my mortuarian readers, can we make either of those happen?
For the funeral service itself, I would like a Viking funeral. I want my body to be placed on a wooden raft or barge of some kind and floated out on a lake or in the ocean. As my corpse floats away, people can speak and share their memories of me. Try to limit this to a few dozen or so, if possible, okay? A choir of whistlers will whistle “It Is Well With My Soul” in harmony. Once my body is roughly 100 yards off shore, a trained archer will fire a flaming arrow at the barge, allowing me to finally be cremated. Which will make the face frozen in terror all the more appropriate.
These are my wishes. Please respect them, should I go first. But if I do go first, know that you are a suspect.