Patria-Kaye Aarons: Have you planned your funeral?
Call me morbid, but even as I sit here in near-perfect health, I have planned my funeral. I have written down on paper every last detail of how it should play out. I know I want it held at The Little Theatre (or Ward, if it's refurbished by then). I know I want to be cremated and placed either right behind the orchestra pit or in the Royal Box, so that I can watch the show.
The preaching and the altar call and everlasting bawling just isn't my style. And I never want to put my loved ones through the pain of seeing me in a coffin. In death, as I was in life, I will never be restrained. Besides, I've never looked at a body in a coffin. That's not the way I want to remember those I love or for them to remember me. I'd much rather people commit to memory the way I looked at our happiest time together.
I want my funeral to truly be a celebration of life.
Yup, my funeral will be a full-on performance. I know who I want to sing, read lessons, give speeches, and dance. Salsa is a must. Even if I die at 150, I want Mario Evon to sing Gone Too Soon and I want the first item on the show to be a Campion College dance piece to Buju Banton and Gramps Morgan's Psalm 23 while a projected photo montage of me plays on the backdrop. And the very last item in the show would be a live band performance of Marcia Griffiths' Dream Land. Brilliance.
I'm still on the fence about a prank I chuckle to myself about playing on the attendees. I often wondered how people would react to seeing a small Ziploc bag of ashes stapled in each programme. Obviously, this would be burnt compost or something ... but for a split second, if they thought they were getting a little piece of me to take home, their reactions would be priceless.
I've gone as far as to plan the menu for the repast (because a foodie like me just wouldn't leave that part up to chance). Needless to say, it includes a fabulous dessert station and Sweetie products.
I used to be afraid of my own death, but I'm not anymore. I'm at a place of peace where I think I accept it as a natural part of life. I had long made a commitment to myself to live while I was living. To travel, and dance and be kind and laugh and challenge myself and learn and love. This life is the only surety I know of, and if I don't enjoy it, I only have myself to blame.
A little piece of me also hopes that reincarnation is real. I don't want to rest in peace. Oh, I want to come back. I want to come back as a bird with a runny tummy and a wicked sense of humour. There are quite a few heads I'd be sure to dump my birdie breakfast on after it passes through me.
I took some time to reflect this weekend about the many accomplishments in my life. And I wasn't satisfied. I'm not being ungrateful, but life has so much more for me to do. To give.
Les Brown reminded me: "The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream."
I am a dreamer. I have more to do.
(Oh, be sure this article is read at my funeral).