I went to my friend’s funeral today. I was sad for her husband, he is my friend also. He said he’s never been alone before, this will be a new experience for him.
He spoke at his wife’s service. It was wonderful, he told a story that was actually funny but that expressed her sense of humor and ability to forgive easily. He told everyone what a hero she had been to him. I learned things about her that I hadn’t known. Cool thing….she used to quilt, and she saved her husband’s old work shirts over the years as they were replaced. She made a quilt of all of the discarded shirts as a gift for him when he retired. Unique idea! I hope he wore colorful shirts and treated them nicely? I was trying to picture the quilt from my knowledge of work shirts worn in steel mills, and it wasn’t pretty. Did she keep the shirts hidden so the quilt would be a surprise decades later? She mut have been very committed to their relationship.
But the service made me feel peaceful, and hopeful. I was glad for her….that her time with chemo and scanxiety and tests and doctor appointments and second opinions was over for good. Glad that she was well and whole again. I know she is now fully alive…not bedridden, not a hospice patient.
The service was so well done because she had planned it for those of us she knew would attend. It was her gift to us, and it was filled with hope.
I know of cancer patients who have had fun planning their funerals, one made sure they showed a movie clip during the service that she really wanted everyone to see. It wasn’t anything profound or meaningful, just a clip she liked and wanted to make sure no one missed. I heard they left the service scratching their heads, and I’m sure she was somewhere laughing. I’m thinking you could kind of have some fun planning your own funeral? Leave ’em laughing, even? Get the last word in? I mean, who could say no to your final requests? It could be an opportunity for the ultimate in creativity.
Someone asked me many years ago if I would rather know I was going to die before it happened. At the time I said yes, as then I could make sure my laundry was done and that I’d cleaned up after myself and had not left out one of my journals for everyone to read. If I knew ahead of time I could tie up my loose ends and not embarrass myself. I wanted control!
But now, after years of testing and limbo and contemplation of one’s end, I would choose to live oblivious to any thoughts of my own demise, to go about my day-to-day activities planning for an indefinite future in ignorant bliss (like I did before cancer took way my “normal”). Now I’d choose to just have a massive unexpected heart attack when it was my time to go.
So what if they read my journals.
I’ve learned I’m really not in control at all anyway, control is an illusion. All plans are tentative.