Hi Everyone! I’m taking a quick break from my housekeeping tips, to talk about something you might not want to think about: WRITING OUT YOUR LAST WISHES.
Whether we like it or not, the Coronavirus is making us all think about that one big elephant in the room: death. This elephant is, of course, a skeleton elephant, with two sickles as tusks and an icy cold trunk. Some of us drink, or eat too much, or stay perpetually busy to keep this elephant away from the center of our consciousness. Especially lately. But I would like to encourage you to take a moment right now….while you’re home and have nothing else to do… to really LEAN IN to that elephant. Lean in, and let yourself feel your own mortality wash over you. Feel the trunk of the elephant gently massaging your shoulders, poking you with its icy cold whiskers until you shiver. Then, let that shiver melt into a peaceful calm. Now, take that calm feeling and focus it on something you have control over: WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BODY AND YOUR STUFF AFTER YOU DIE.
Now, I don’t know anything about the legalities of writing wills and such; however what I do know is, I AM a licensed notary. Therefore, whatever I write down as my last wishes, I can just notarize myself. (WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO ARREST ME FOR NOTARY FRAUD I’LL BE DEAD LOL). For someone who has actual assets, it may be a good idea to consult a licensed attorney and fill out an official will. For people like me though, who have nothing but extended good-will to offer my survivors, my will is just that– good-will to all, and to all a good night.
And now, let’s get down to the REAL business which is planning your funeral.
Let’s start with your body. You have a choice of many myriad options for your dead-ass body. The standard embalming/funeral type service, cremation, being planted into a giant seed pod, a water send-off, or plastination. However, being as these are plague times, consider you may not have the usual options to choose from. Your body may be thrown into a mass grave with others. Or, it might be stacked up on top of another body in a refrigerated truck. So, when writing out your last wishes, consider you may not get your favorite option here due to the unfortunate times we live in. To play it safe, you should have a “Plague-Time” directive, and also a “Non-Plague” time directive for your lifeless husk.
Plague: PLEASE THROW MY BODY ON THE WHITE HOUSE LAWN
Non-Plague: Please plastinate my naked body and put a tray of hors d’oeuvres on my outstretched arms.
Next, you need to think about your memorial service, or what I like to call “your hip-hip hurrah!” Funeral ceremonies can be as formal or as informal as you want. Some people like a respectful church service with bible passages read aloud. Others would like it if everyone snorted some coke off the coffin, followed by shooting some skeet in an adjacent field. There’s no right or wrong choice because there are no right or wrong people. But please consider if you die in the plague you will likely get a ZOOM funeral, so perhaps you can do your family a favor now and help get them familiarized with Zoom. Maybe do a few practice funerals as a warm up!
If you’re doing a memorial service during normal (non-plague) times, now is the time to break down your ceremony details, including an estimated budget for whomever will have to pick up the bill when you kick the bucket. (This duty will fall to your richest friend or relative).
Decor: do you like a certain type of flower or candle scent? Maybe you want a cat theme. Imagine you are a spirit floating above your funeral. What do you hope it looks like? Who do you hope is crying a lot? Is it sparkly everywhere, or is it muted and grayscale? Perhaps there are white horses roaming the premises. Would you like a champagne fountain next to the casket? A friendly english undertaker who goes around with tissues saying “I’m terribly sorry for your loss.”? All you have to do is write it down, and someone will help it to happen. Believe!
Display of your body: Time to think about your dead body again! Are you in an urn, casket or plastinated and greeting visitors at the door? Or, perhaps you’d prefer a slide-show of all your best photos? (Pick those photos now, and trust nobody else to do this for you!!) If you’re in a casket, what is your outfit? (Again, not something you want to trust anyone else with unless you want to end up looking like the lamest dead person ever.) If you’re in an urn, have you picked one out? There are many beautiful urns out there, but there are some ugly ones too. If you’re talented with ceramics, you could even make your own urn and decorate it with whatever baubles you like. Get creative! And if you’re going the casket way, please make sure to have a funeral-tote of your best lip-liners and shadows for the undertaker cosmetologist to use. (Make sure they have a photo of you looking hot in that make-up combo so they have something to go off of in case your face has been half-eaten by plague). Do this even if you don’t normally wear make-up because they will put it on you anyway!
Catering: People who are grieving typically either have upset stomachs or are doing emotional eating, so maybe now’s not the time to make your family eat spicy tuna sashimi and chitlins (Unless that is comfort food for your family, then by all means go for it) . I recommend you serve small sandwiches, cake/coffee and have an alcohol option as well. Two alcohol options.
Music/Dj: Do you have a talented musical relative or friend you’d like to hit up to do a song in your honor? Perhaps you’d like a chorus of children to sing Man in the Mirror. Or maybe you have a DJ friend who wants to play all your favorites after the ceremony, so your friends can dance and cry and remember how funky you were.
VIP List: The people who HAVE to be at your funeral. (Some of them will be surprised to be summoned if they haven’t seen/heard from you, so jot a few notes down next to your VIP list names.
Veronica – Best Friend. Soul sister. Must be there.
Pablo- Lost virginity to. Smoked first doobie with. Mandatory.
Fred- Still in love with after all these years. May not remember who I am. (show him attached nude photo of me during the time I knew him).
Maria- My total enemy, SHE MUST BE THERE SO I CAN HAUNT HER BONES.
Who not to invite: IF YOU DON’T HAVE AT LEAST FIVE PEOPLE ON THIS LIST ASK YOURSELF HAVE YOU REALLY LIVED AT ALL
Gift Bags: Everyone who comes to the service should get to go home with a “piece” of you. Whether it’s shwag (buttons/hats/tshirts with your face on them), personal mementos or a literal baggie of ashes they can snort later, think now about what you’d like everyone to leave with, and then list it in your Final Wishes document.
Officiator: You need not use a religious official if you are not comfortable with that. It’s your funeral, after all. However, if it’s a friend of yours you’re tapping to speak, you might want to let them know ahead of time. Also, you should have a second/third choice if the plague gets the first two. The power of practical thinking!
Here’s an example of a letter you can send.
Dear, 1st ______, 2nd_____, 3rd______ choice
As I am in the process of planning my will, I would like you to know I’ve selected you to officiate at my funeral. You are a fantastic speaker; one who speaks well of me often, and I know you will do well. Attached is a sample program, with suggested song interludes and also poetry.
Props/Gags/Strolling Characters: Funerals and weddings are very similar in the sense that both of them are, on the whole, usually boring. In fact, funerals are actually more interesting because everyone is super sad, and for a brief moment, in their grief, there’s something very human about them. (this, in contrast to the blandly supportive jubilance of a wedding). Am I saying get some white swans, and hire a few balloon artists or strolling characters for your funeral? Yes, but only if that’s your style. Were you a prankster in life? Why not do something funny like have a water corsage squirt people in the face when they lean over to hug you in the coffin? Set off a whole pallet of magic snakes! Put your corpse in a hang-glider and send it off into the wind, while your friends & family cry and wave white hankies (embroidered with your initials!)
Whatever you decide to do for your service is cool, but when planning your funeral, the main thing is to make sure there’s plenty of time for everyone to stand up and tell a cool story about you. This is why I urge you to have a champagne fountain or open bar at your funeral, because after they knock a few back everyone will really spill the beans (and also belch uncontrollably which will add some much-needed levity to the proceedings.)
Estimated budget: $15K (make sure to tip the strolling characters well!)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this exercise as much as I did! And if you need your last wishes notarized, just give me a yell.