I’ve never thought much about dying. Like taxes, it’s just one of those inevitable events that no one can dodge.  Not much you can do about it. 
 
But recently I experienced a rash of realistic dreams in which I was about to die. The first one had me driving over a cliff. The second one entailed learning I had a disease that gave me six months to live. Another had me falling from an exploding plane. Not pleasant dreams to awaken from—although given the theme, I guess I should be grateful I’m waking up at all.

This is probably why, with these dreams still fresh in my mind, I paid attention when my mom mentioned two funeral services she had recently attended.   

 
“You know what kind of service I would like, don’t you?” I asked. She already knows I want to be cremated and interred in a cookie jar, at which she rolls her eyes. Beyond that, we’ve never discussed anything else.  Without skipping a beat, she responded, “Sure. Something solemn with plenty of beautiful hymns.”  
 
No no no no no!  The only hymn I know is the gender-specific pronoun, and since when has “solemn” ever been used to describe me? I’m a tofu-eating, jeans-wearing kinda gal who loves my dog, watches South Park, and attends a church known to play alternative rock. My mother should know better. But she doesn’t, probably because this topic has never before been addressed, not with anyone. When you’re a healthy forty-something sipping a cappuccino at Peets with friends, funeral plans don’t naturally come up in conversation.
 
 
This is why I’ve drafted my memorial plans. Not that I’m planning on going anywhere soon, but these dreams got me thinking: a memorial will be my final opportunity to tell the world who I was. Important stuff, especially since there are no retakes. No second chances.
 
So put away the hymnbook, Mom. Should I meet Saint Peter anytime soon, this is how I’d like to be remembered.
 
For starters, I want my greyhound, Elvis, at my service. He may be confused and a bit scared, wondering why his human has left him and he’s suddenly now living with someone else (a pre-selected person, by the way). But Elvis must be at my service.  Because if any one thing were to capture my essence, it would be found in the love I have for this dog. Elvis is as much a part of my family as blood relatives and close friends.  He sits. And stays. In the row reserved for family.
 

I’ve never thought much about dying. Like taxes, it’s just one of those inevitable events that no one can dodge.  Not much you can do about it. 

 

But recently I experienced a rash of realistic dreams in which I was about to die. The first one had me driving over a cliff. The second one entailed learning I had a disease that gave me six months to live. Another had me falling from an exploding plane. Not pleasant dreams to awaken from—although given the theme, I guess I should be grateful I’m waking up at all.

 

This is probably why, with these dreams still fresh in my mind, I paid attention when my mom mentioned two funeral services she had recently attended.   

 

“You know what kind of service I would like, don’t you?” I asked. She already knows I want to be cremated and interred in a cookie jar, at which she rolls her eyes. Beyond that, we’ve never discussed anything else.  Without skipping a beat, she responded, “Sure. Something solemn with plenty of beautiful hymns.”

 

 

No no no no no!  The only hymn I know is the gender-specific pronoun, and since when has “solemn” ever been used to describe me? I’m a tofu-eating, jeans-wearing kinda gal who loves my dog, watches South Park, and attends a church known to play alternative rock. My mother should know better. But she doesn’t, probably because this topic has never before been addressed, not with anyone. When you’re a healthy forty-something sipping a cappuccino at Peets with friends, funeral plans don’t naturally come up in conversation.

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