I've been thinking a lot since last week. A lot.
Some might say my thoughts are morbid.
I suppose "morbid" is the word. Although I don't feel that it's so.
It makes me think of my own death mostly. What preparations maybe I should make now. What can I do to ease the burden for my family.
See, I came to terms with my mortality when I was a teenager. I began planning my funeral / memorial service when I was 15 (as if I have a say), and although some things have evolved, it's still basically the same.
While other people's deaths can shake me to the core, my own... I am at peace with.
No, not in a oh-my-goodness-call-the-suicide-watch kinda way. Not at all.
In the way of I've-accepted-that-as-part-of-life-I-will-die. Someday.
See, when I was 15, my grandma died. Ten days later my uncle died.
It was a difficult summer.
And that's when I began planning. I think in a way it's a coping mechanism for me. A way to take my mind off of the sad, off of the loss, and to focus on more practical things, things related to what happened, but that I have some control over. Or pretend that I do.
As a teenager, and even into my early 20's, I had my plans all mapped out, written down on notebook paper that had crinkled over the years.
Where I wanted the service to take place, what quotes I wanted read, what music I wanted played.
That all has changed, but one thing has remained.
I know it's not my decision, and as my mom has pointed out, memorials are for those left behind, not those who have passed - but... I hope the focus is on my life, and not my death.
I have led, by my own judgement, an amazing life. Trials? Sure. Heartache? Absolutely. But wonderful, awe-inspiring moments? You better freakin' believe it.
I hope amidst what sadness is there, there is greater joy in a life that was lived fully. I want happy music played, my favorite songs sung, trumpets must be blaring a rich melody somewhere.
No boring quiet service, please, full of folks in their Sunday best whispering condolences. I am not (in my opinion) leading a boring, quiet life.
Wear what you wear. Be who you are. I certainly will be being who I am, right?
Tell funny stories, laugh, and smile, and sing. Yes... a music-lover should have singing there, right?
I think I would prefer to be cremated, though this thought horrifies my mother. Just seems like a coffin buried in the ground is such a waste to hold a now empty shell.
But my mother is right, it's not for me, it's for those left behind to mourn, right?
Which leads to a greater (than me) idea:
What if, instead of all the tradition that encompasses our rites of mourning, what if we started mourning in ways that celebrated the person that has passed?
I don't know, but somehow I think this might just ease our mourning, make the passing a little easier on those left behind to know that they paid their final respects in a way that their loved one would have appreciated.
So much of what we do is decided by tradition, instead of being defined by who we are.
Yes, there is a place for tradition, I love tradition in its time & place, and have been called by some, very "traditional". And if tradition & rites are your thing, then by all means, have that be your thing.
I don't know. I guess in some ways it just seems like an injustice to those who have passed to ignore the amazing life they lived and fill it with plain flowers, and dressy clothes, and whispered words.
Because we all live amazing lives in some way, right?
This is kind of rambling, I know. Just some of my thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head.
Mostly, to stop focusing on that one moment, on that moment of death, and start focusing on the amazing life that preceded that one final moment.
Yes, focus on the amazing, on the good, awe-inspiring, beautiful life that was.
Focus on the amazing.