I don’t think a lot about my own death. Although, I have to say that as I age, the concept does become a little more real. I somewhat reluctantly went back to my hometown recently to attend a funeral, and this visit afforded me the opportunity to see many of my relatives I hadn’t seen in years. One of my most, let’s just say, “interesting” encounters, was with an Aunt (actually, she’s my cousin, but we always called her aunt because she’s my mom’s age) who was always kind of the "rebel" of the family. Rebel, or some would probably say, "kook." And I love her! Let me just sum up Aunt Georgia this way: She’s in her 80s and still dyes her hair and wears leather pants. God, I wanna be her!
In my post-funeral chat with Aunt G, we both commented on how people always look so awful in their casket. In all honesty, I find the whole funeral thing pretty much hideous. There lays this dead person, wearing stage makeup and looking like a bad portrayal of themselves, in a box their family had to take out a loan to pay for. Then, people who barely knew them (or hated them) when they were alive, parade by the "display" and make comments about how “good” they look. Really? Good? Uh, excuse me, they’re dead! How good could they look?!
Anyway, I digress. So, Aunt G and I are discussing looking like crap in the casket. Then, completely true to her persona, Aunt G tells me very matter-of-factly that when she dies, she wants to be laid out in a teddy and a boa. A teddy and a boa! Do you love that?!! No permed ‘do and church dress for Aunt G, no sirree. She wants to go out exactly the way she lives, in all her inappropriate glory. (Nobody would recognize her if she showed up any other way.)
After my conversation with Aunt G, I have come to the conclusion that while I’m not afraid to die, I am terrified of looking horrible in my own casket. In response to this fear, I have provided my husband and grown sons with three very simple demands regarding my personal funeral presentation:
1. Hire a hairdresser under the age of 30 to fix my hair. Don’t you dare have one of the volunteers from the nursing home beauty shop give me a ‘do.
2. I’m pretty sure self-tanner still works even if you don’t have pulse. Slap it on me. Liberally.
3. Send somebody to The Gap to buy my "going away" outfit. I am looking for fashion here, people, not function. I’m dead, comfort is not an issue.
I want people to walk away from my funeral saying I looked better dead than I did when I was alive.
P.S. On a somewhat related note, I have made it very clear to my husband that he is absolutely not to re-marry in the event of my untimely death (it’s always untimely, whenever it is). Nope. He is to live the rest of his days in a miserable, lonely existence. When people see him on the street, I want them to comment that “he’s just a shell of a man since Allie’s been gone.” Yep, sounds fair to me.