My grandmother passed away three years ago.
Shortly afterwards my parents and aunts came across this box while cleaning out her house. My aunt texted me a photo of it with the message:
“Still calling the shots from the grave.”
Let’s just say that Grandma Frannie’s desire for control didn’t fall far from the tree. In her honor, I compiled the following list of rules for what should happen when I’m gone.
1. Donate my organs.
And not just the good useful ones either. I’m sure at this point, no living being will have much use for my liver. No matter. Any part of my body that can’t be transferred should be donated to the closest research lab. This move might be incredibly unpopular, our family’s culture really values having a body and grave to mourn and visit, but I swear on all things holy that if you put any part of me in the ground to rot when it might be of use to science, research or just for a bout of disbelieving laughter I will come back and haunt you.
2. Do NOT have a visitation.
At least not in the modern sense. Remember when visitations were called “wakes”, a term stemming from the Irish peoples’ practice of waiting around to make sure the deceased was actually dead and not just passed out from too much whiskey? I don’t know for sure if that’s true or not, but I read it on the internet once and have always liked the idea.
Even 40 or 50 years ago wakes were more fun, filled with laughter and tears and memories and drinks and food. Somehow modern society has failed so thoroughly that we now have visitations, where hundreds of people line up to spend approximately thirty seconds saying “Sorry for your loss” to an exhausted family who would really just like a cold drink, a comfortable chair and a good nap.
Again, this might be unpopular, but if I find out in the afterlife that those closest to me stood in a visitation line I will be all sorts of pissed off. You’re exhausted, you’re mourning, you need a nap. Take care of yourself and deal with the masses later. I mean, I’m dead for shit’s sake, of course everyone is sorry.
Also, I’m realizing this might just be a list of things that will piss me off in the afterlife.
3. No church.
Unless of course, you can find someone to act as my body double, show up to the service at least ten minutes late dressed in inappropriate clothing and loudly and awkwardly hunt for a seat in the back. Actually, now that I say that, it sounds like a lot of fun. If you can find a Catholic priest to go along with the gig, go ahead with a church service with my body double.
4. Have a party.
Not until you’ve taken care of yourselves (see #2) and not until you feel you can truly celebrate my life as much as you mourn my death, but when that time comes throw a party, a big one, preferably next to a lake. Being near the water has always calmed me and if there is anything to learn from this list it’s probably that you want me to have a calm spirit.
There should be live music and plenty of food and wine and beer. Good beer too, none of that Miller Lite bullshit people always serve in free kegs thinking no one will notice because it’s free. I would like everyone to wear a button with my picture on it and the saying, “Good luck having fun without me, Fuckers.” My friend Jessi said that once years ago when she couldn’t make it back for a St. Pat’s weekend. Ever since then I knew it would be the perfect saying for my going away party. And I’m talking a big button here, those kind we used to plaster all over our jean jackets in the early nineties showcasing our love for New Kids on the Block.
If my husband is still alive, try not to let him speak too much. Partly because public speaking makes him nervous, but mostly because he finds me only mildly amusing when in fact we all know that I am outright hilarious. I’m sure there will still be someone around who finds me hilarious, but if not, just hire someone and have them make up funny stories about me.
Obviously I hope to have many years to add to this list, but in the mean time keep it close. I don’t want to spend my entire afterlife haunting a bunch of assholes who couldn’t follow directions.