Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Last Wishes

I've had a rough time with some deaths over the last few years.  You get used to the elderly dying, but it's the others that wear on you, and I've had more than my share of those, people whose lives were ended seemingly before their times, and at some point my sincerest condolences started to sound like empty platitudes.   The reality of each situation hit me, and it was that I couldn't really do anything to make this better and I struggled with that, because I wanted to try to help and make it better.  I did decide, however, that I could address this topic prior to my passing so at least there would be some notes on how I feel about my own departure. 

     I know there will be sadness, that's the nature of these things.  We miss what we can no longer
have and that is understandable, but do not weep for my loss but rejoice in my life, because you know darn well I'd do it if I could.  There is so much pressure to have a dignified wake and a long receiving line of family, but I want none of it.  I refuse to buy in that it is a comfort for the remaining loved ones to stand and listen to how I'll be missed as if each person that tells them it is imparting some new bit of information.  These are generally somber, long, uncomfortable and hot affairs and I want none of it, thank you very much.  I'd opt for the Irish Wake...  if you please. 

     I'll leave the money behind, but please rent out a bar (one with a comfortable amount of room, like Eddie O'Brien's in Cdga) and place me quietly in a corner and let the liquor start to flow.  I'd like my sister Hummingbird's husband to help negotiate this, he knows the local haunts and he won't them
This would be a good spot
serve the cheap stuff.  You'll have to buy out the bar, but I'd like the libations to flow free and easy and I'd like my family to sit or stand in pockets of areas where the friends that know me and them, can come and share a laugh or two about my shenanigans when I was alive.  Place my favorite drink upon my coffin, and don't be cheap, refresh it when the ice melts and I'm sure I'll appreciate it.  Have Food.  I'm sure my death will be caused by something food related, as it is the one vice I've always had and never, ever, thought about giving up, so have food and make it plentiful and good and for God's sake someone put money in the jukebox.  I like noise and din and the best times of my life I was surrounded by it, so don't let my last outing be quiet.  Does that sound like me?  Of course not.  Let it run until the end of the night.  I was never one to leave a party that was in
full swing and most times I had to be gently reminded by my wife that we seemed to be the last
What I hope it looks like during the wake
stragglers, and so let it be with my last party too.  Make sure people get home safe, but let them eat and drink their fill, and spill their drinks and blame me for their pounding heads the next morning, now that would be a send-off!  Toasts would be in order, sure.  Toast to the memories that you have, toast to my beautiful widow and to my remaining offspring that they should live so full of a life, because I know I had a good one, it's already in the bank.  Sing songs and if you want to, end the night drunkenly singing "American Pie" or "Waltzing Mathilda", arm in arm and swaying to and fro. What a grand night it will be, and the people they would talk.  They'd peer in the windows and observe such a queer affair and they'd whisper how inappropriate such a thing would be (and they would too), but go ahead and let them, for you see you have the honored guest's permission to act up, out, or in any other fashion that you'd like to that evening, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Make sure to give the Last Call shout loudly, and flick the lights to make sure that everyone knows that the party is ending, and this one last time, I hope you won't mind if I skip the party clean up, I've got a big day ahead of me tomorrow.

     There will have to be a Mass and I wouldn't want that any other way either.  Don't feel obligated to attend if you aren't religious, you'll just get confused on when to sit,stand or kneel, but to my
Not sure if these guys are available but it would be cool
Christian brethren, come and rejoice, hopefully it's the start of something wonderful.  I'd like my favorite songs to be song, and if my nieces and nephews were so inclined, I'd like them to do it, they have great voices.  Please make sure to do "Amazing Grace", "Be not Afraid", "Here I am Lord" and be sure to "Rock my soul on the bosom of Abraham" too.  If a eulogy would be in order and if I could pick those who knew me, I'd choose my closest brother, Ace, my youngest sister, Wilson, and my friend Drew to represent all my friends that I held so dear (plus I always liked the way he spoke, you'll love it, trust me).  If my wife and children want to compose their thoughts and have them read by the priest or by another eulogizer, that would be nice too, but I wouldn't put pressure on them to speak that day. You can pick the readings, I like them all, but if you can sneak the one in about wives being submissive to their husbands, it'll give Char a chuckle cuz I always poked her in the ribs during this one so that she'd pay attention.  You can end the funeral festivities here, I don't need a crowd gathered around a hole in the ground throwing handfuls of dirt on me, and I kind of like the idea of being cremated so send me back over to the funeral home and let them take care of it (Quick shout out to Johnson-Kennedy in Cdga, please use them, they hired me as a kid, and sponsored the golf tournament each year, so it would be good to give them back some of their money, Hi Jim !). 

     On where to bury me, it's too soon to call, but today I'd pick Hall.  I've made this little community my home for over 20 years and it's as good a place as any to put me down.  My headstone can be
simple, I think they charge by the word, so something like "Here lies a sinner" or "Son, Brother, Husband, Father" would be nice too.  These are ways that I think of myself and I doubt that they will ever change.  If I've got a little money left, I'd like to give a chunk to the local Boy Scout Troop.  The more time that I spent in Scouting, the more that I realized it's value, and if I can leave some sort of legacy to them in the form of a scholarship, a continuing bond, or even a kick-ass log cabin meeting room stuck in the woods somewhere, well, I'd like that, and it would keep kids coming back to Scouts for a while, which I would like even better. 

     These are my last wishes.  There will sure to be a contingent that will try and send me out another
way and argue that this was done for entertainment purposes, but they'd be dead wrong.  The ones that know me best, know that this is the way that I'd truly like to leave.  

As Scouters, we play Taps at the end of the day.


Gayle Hendershot said...

I hope there's room for cousin on that stone because you're one of the best!

Judy Johnson said...

Bill, you nailed it once again. I would like to say "ditto" to all of this for my funeral, Irish Wake style all the way and Eddie's would be more than appropriate.

To echo what Gayle said, is there also room for "friend"? You're one of the best of those as well.