I went to a funeral the other day. And, of course, these occasions get one to thinking....About ones OWN demise and ending of this section of existence. It is certainly something to look forward to, tho there are plenty of "things" and folks that tie us to this planet. But a funeral is something that I have found is so very important to Those Left Behind. And, as a "final gift" to those loved ones, I think it is important to make ones wishes known regarding the "graduation party."
My friend Susy McHughes had the right idea. We had talked many times before she died (thinking our "end" was a very long way off) about what WE wanted when we passed on. We both agreed that the funeral homes get wayyy too much money from the grieving family, especially if the family is caught unawares. And we noted that we certainly should write down the plans for the party so that the family throwing it would not have any guilt regarding "all that money spent" or "not Enough money spent."
So, here goes, yall. Here are MY "instructions for the Party."
First of all, Let it be known here and now that I have had a Wonderful Life. I've not made history, but I Have made the front page in the local newspaper a few times (tree-hugging, dawg training, walking pre-schoolers to the library in costume, etc), and I've been influential in two very important lives who have become beautiful women. I've known the exclusive love of a kind and handsome man. I've taught the Lord's Prayer to many people. I've taught people how to crochet, knit, embroider, braid (hair and leather!), sew, get stains out of carpets and quilts, pump their own gasoline (yes! There was a Time when it was a new skill to learn!), plant potatoes, create water gardens, and teach their dogs to be Good Citizens. Maybe that's enough. Probably not. I've had way too much fun doing it, so it may not "count" for anything.
So, I'm thinking that all this fun time living should be Celebrated, not grieved. Rejoiced, not wept over.
I don't want this party to be in a church building. I used to think that this was very important, but I've buried too many gerbils, hampsters, kittens, and even dogs in my own yard, with our own ceremonies and prayers to know that the confines of a brick building is not necessary in order to remember the Joy.
So, just use my yard, if the weather permits. If not, then the church gym. Tell folks to bring their guitars so we can sing. And sing yall's favorite hymns (I like "Great is Thy Faithfulness") and campfire songs. "Barges", "Girl Scouts Together," "Ain't it Great to Be Crazy," Disney songs, "Mr Moon, Mr. Moon, You're Out too Soon," ---Em has a bagful of my old songsheets....Pass 'em out! At some point, pray the Lord's Prayer. That's enough "ceremony."
Cheese and crackers, Hershey's chocolate, koolaid, coffee, tequila. Maybe grapes. Beer if the boys want it.
Everyone should wear their favorite color. Mine is Red. I hope everyone who knows me, knows that. We should ALL know each others favorite color and pie. So, wear your favorite color to the celebration, and wear enough of it that everyone will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what YOUR color is.
Nametags would be good. And bring your business cards, so that if you meet someone you do not know, and discover that you have lots in common, you can contact each other later.
Let my dogs in on the celebration. They can work the crowd like no other. And they will help to make you smile if you decide you wanna grieve....
Tell funny stories about me. And laugh. Laugh a Lot. Hug each other. Don't feel sorry for me or any of yall. Just remember me and get tickled.
Gee. I don't even have a picture to go with this post. And I hope it ain't too morbid for ya. I hope that it gives you a bit of insight to the fact that the bonds of this planet do not hold me as tightly as they did when I was younger. It's a nice planet. My favorite, in fact. But I look forward to what lies beyond and all the songs I will learn thereafter.