Friday, July 24, 2009

Of death and dishonor

I apologize for the dearth of posts lately. I've actually been riding and doing quite a bit, but the urge to jot it down has been.... lacking. I'm supposed to be headed to Colorado for a week of nothing but fun, frivolity, and mountain biking. Unfortunately, I'm in town until Monday before I can head out. You see, my grandmother passed away yesterday. Before you go on getting all misty, weepy, and offering your condolences, let me share some thoughts with you. Trust me, I appreciate those thoughts and appreciate those friends that want to share them with me, but I think my take on it might bear a bit of different light.

In this particular case, my grandma ceased to be several years back as series of small strokes and general age induced decline robbed her of being a sentient person and left a living shell that we still called grandma. Myself and other family members have basically said our goodbyes all ready and are at peace with her having been gone. This instance happens to be the physical death of the body and while still sad, we've all ready mourned the true loss. In reality, the hard part on my end comes not from feeling the loss, but more so from seeing the impact on my grandfather and mother and lending a supportive shoulder for them to lean on.

The dishonor portion of this comes in to the fact that I've been asked to be a pall bearer for the service. I feel a sense of duty to honor her memory and to honor the wishes of my mother as well. However, that's more or less in conflict with my own views and personal preferences of how I currently would wish to have my own demise received.

We have our chance to enjoy each other's friendship, wit, and wisdom while we're alive. My passing may or may not affect. Obviously, that shouldn't bother me much as I've all ready passed. However, I don't want it to bother you either. I'd like to have my closest family present to say their goodbyes and such as they need and then its off to be turned to ash for my wishes. Possibly, I'll eventually find some place that I'd like a small remembrance put just so I can leave my indelible stamp on the world for at least a bit longer, but other than that, no formal services, no funeral where people feel regret, sorrow, and try to regain the time lost while I was living. No need to take time off work, dress up, and spend the day in a somber mood.

I'd rather have you note my passing, feel how you choose about it, and then wait for an invitation to arrive. I'd like to see my friends and family come together and have a celebration. Plan food, fun, and enjoyment in my honor. Show everyone how my company and friendship was enjoyed, by coming together and doing the same as you would if I were there to enjoy it as well.

I know this flies in the face of the conventional process of death and grieving, but to me it seems to make much more sense. Anyone else share this sentiment in part or full? Feel free to criticize as you will, but I'd like to hear some compelling arguments if you have them.


Iowagriz said...

I'm pretty much with you on this one. I remember telling my friends in high school that if I happened to die, they should enjoy a great day of skiing in the mountains and remember me for how much I would have enjoyed it as well.

Courtney said...

Ya funerals are terrable and I wouldn't subject anyone to one for my sake. Have a bike ride for me all my friends and family can go suffer a few hundred miles in my honor.

Jules said...

Amen, The most unconventional funeral I have ever been to was for my husbands father. Now Dick was quite the interesting guy. He ran a jazz bar in Downtown Chicago and worked cash only. He didnt go to a church however we found a minister who would do the funeral. At this funeral Jazz bands played, people told stories that had us laughing so hard we were crying. The minister thought we were all crazy. After the funeral everyone was invited back to the bar. Food everywhere, open bar, stories being told and Jazz being played all night. I decided then that is how is should be done. as a side note Dick was cremated and spread out over his favorite golf courses. Without them knowing of course. :)