I can see her still, pixie sized, with soft blond hair just brushing her shoulders, and compassionate, smiling eyes swirling her wine glass. I can see her in the vineyards, on the boat watching the whales, in her home watching inspirational television, in her Fiat driving around dressed smartly. She was one of the wisest women I have ever had the great honor to be friends with. She crossed the veil, with grace and hopes of not returning, last week. She was in her late fifties. Her husband, Steve, my friend for many years, will be driving through and stopping in to see me. We shall cry and reminisce and drink wine in her honor.
If you have followed me for awhile, they were the couple we used to visit in California every few years. I wrote many notes and added many photographs of our adventures through wine country, the Red Wood forest, to the ocean.
Our society doesn’t like to speak of death. We are fearful and clearly do not want to accept it. But telling your loved ones what you want can help ease the decision making in a bereaved spouse and children. It doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom. Death is the next great transition, the next path, it is all beautiful, and it can be spoken of with humor.
When my daughters were young I remember them clearly arguing in the back seat as we drove somewhere about my remains.
I will put her ashes in the compost pile so that she can grow into flowers and trees! The other retorted, No, I am putting her ashes in the lion cage at the zoo. You know she always wanted to be near a lion!
“Excuse me, I am right here!” I said, all of us laughing.
Saturday as Doug and I were driving, we thought of Lisa. I told him when I die call Lauren! She is a friend of mine who specializes in green funerals. The last thing I need is to be filled up with chemicals and shoved into Mother Earth with a final “screw you” inside of my veins. No, just put me in there as is so I can feed a tree and microorganisms without killing everything. Or cremate me and put me in the lion cage. That could be fun.
Doug chimed in,
A deceased woman was seen floating on Minnequa lake on fire this morning in a Viking funeral. Two men in kilts were arrested for disturbing the peace and public drunkenness. The bagpipes were confiscated. Three police officers- friends of the deceased- were arrested for drunkenness and attacking a police officer with a sword. The deceased’s children were seen fleeing the scene.
We laughed at this vibrant scene in our imaginations as we made our way to my brother’s St. Patrick’s day party.
My friend, Nancy, who was a great part of this blog as well, died at fifty-four years old and in her final decisions wanted a green burial. She was buried on her land in a beautiful ceremony right in the path of the easement where the oil companies were going to come through. She had the last laugh!
I turned to Doug and asked him seriously since he doesn’t speak too much of it, “What do you want?” He was silent for a moment and then replied thoughtfully,
I have just one request. I want you to prop me up in the first row and see how many people notice!
Well, that sent us into another round of laughter.
We may not have written down exact plans, but we have the gist of it. Death is not scary. It is just another journey. Save a little money for your burial, write down what you want, and then maybe plan a great reception in your honor complete with Mariachi and margaritas or your flaming corpse on the nearby lake. Send yourself off proper. And love those around you fiercely while they are alive. I will sure miss Lisa.