Sudden Death

“This is nice because if I die, there will be less of my stuff to sort through.”

That’s what I said this morning when I opened the door to my newly tidied closet.

It’s hard not to think about dropping dead when you reach my age — and I suppose it doesn’t help that my wife reads me the obits of guys in their early 50s every morning.

My father died at 62, but it may have been lifestyle that lead to the second heart attack. There is some longevity in his family, but that didn’t help him; one of his sisters is over 90-years-old, and another who turns 90 in September, is in better shape than most 70-year-olds.

So, I’m starting to plan there are some things to do in case I die:

Write an obituary. You shouldn’t don’t trust anyone else with this job. If you die suddenly, somebody will get stuck doing it who has other things on their mind, which is why there are so many half-assed obits in the paper. Nope, DIY is the way to go.  I’m considering writing mine in the first person, which is something you don’t see very often — and I’m leaving a space for cause of death. Seriously, what’s the point of obituaries being so evasive about that? Don’t make people guess — just say how you died.

The funeral home experience. I like the idea of having an iTunes playlist that they can put on during the wake. I’ve already picked out some of the songs, which include some unlikely things like Johnny Horton’s Battle of New Orleans, and Mary Hopkin’s Those Were the Days, songs I loved as a child. I might put a few things in there for laughs, like Seasons in the Sun. A lot of people do some sort of slideshow, which is also a nice touch.

The Funeral. I just hope some people show up! I suppose it’s a good idea to choose a few readings, and some churchy songs. On the short list are Simple Gifts and Amazing Grace. Morning Has Broken is nice, and Battle Hymn of the Republic, while bombastic, can be a real showstopper. I’d also like Danny Boy.

And as for my mortal remains? Cremation. I once joked that I want my cremains mixed with the dog food, but that may not be good for them. The ashes  can be buried if you feel the need to bury something, but if not, take them down to the ocean and pour them in the water. That will do. Don’t do it on a windy day.

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