Long for this section, but part of a book on funerals.
|Although I am in no hurry to die, this is how I envision my ideal funeral. Keep in mind, this is for me; your plans for your own funeral may be different!
The setting would be in some natural place, ideally in a forest or on a mountain valley meadow, preferably a privately owned piece of land rather than something owned by the State or the Feds. My presence will be in an urn with my ashes enclosed, brought to the event by my wife, or whomever my closest friend is at that time.
Entertainment will be by some folk group, no one famous, local if possible, and possibly with more spirit than talent. They will play a number of Celtic songs, sea shantys, Bob Dylan, Melanie and Irish Rovers tunes to entertain the crowd. The instuments will not be amplified, and one or more of the musicians will also be singers. They will also play requests from the guests.
Food will be plentiful, but not fancy. Because of the location, it will be prepared off-site and brought there, some of it in coolers. It will consist of fruits, cheeses, breads, sweet rolls, a selection of luncheon meats, jams, jellies, honey and whatever simple foods come to the mind of my funeral's host.
Beverages will consist of imported beers and ales, a fine selection of Single Malt Scotches, homemade mead, wines, water, iced tea and a selection of fruit juices. Note: Water is not to be mixed with the Scoth, and neither is ice to be used with the Scotch!
Guests will be encouraged to bring tents and sleeping bags for what I hope to be a two to three day party to celebrate my life, and my leaving of it. They will be encouraged to leave strife, problems and disagreements at home and use the two or three days to enjoy themselves at my expense. (Actually, the expense of my estate!)
Guests will be encouraged to mingle with and meet those whom they have not yet met. I would request no ritual or special event in my honor, although I would like for the guests to relate funny stories about my follies and my humorous behavior. The important thing is that they mingle and form or strengthen relationships with each other. I would like to have them act as if I were there, enjoying their stories, acknowledging their accomplishments that had made my life as joyous as it has been, and saying farewell as if I were merely leaving this station for another, to meet them all again at some time in the future.
There would be no scheduled events, sad remembrances, or dour exhibitions mourning my loss. There is no loss in death, so I would prefer a celebration of my transition to whatever comes next, even if it is merely to have my elements re-join the elements of Nature.
I do hope someone brings a camera to record the party, the celebration and the meeting of friends, now and old. My estate would pay for having all the guests who desired to have copies of any photos taken. I don't want a professional photographer, however, just a few friends with cameras, shooting pictures as they will.
The only "serious" part of this celebration would be tables set up with brochures and other information regarding the organizations I support. There would be no "push" for people to take the info, or even to visit these tables; it would merely be an exhibit showing a part of my life that place the importance of some organizations' work to me. Some would be national, like the NRA and the Libertarian Party, others would be local, like the Zoo, Chrysler Museum and STEP-UP, Incorporated.
The culmination of the celebration would be to scatter my ashes about the wood or meadow, giving me back to Mother Nature, from whom I came. Again, no ceremony or ritual, just a peaceful scattering of my ashes.
To handle necessities, my estate will contract to have dumpsters, porta-potties, water trailers and portable showers brought to the event and taken away. A professional clean-up crew will finish up the event by cleaning the area so that it is as good as or better than it was when my party arrived.
Death, the end of a good life, should be a celebration.