A Cup of Conversation – April 2016
When we sat down to prepare our trust and will arrangements, the estate planner asked how we wanted to structure the end of life details. This means death and burial instructions. The attorney said no detail is too small. They clearly didn’t know who they were talking to.
Mary said she wanted to have her ashes split between the east coast and west coast beaches where she spent her childhood. We’re waiting until both exit this world to have ashes dispersed together, leaving careful instruction to our children. They are to procure professional fireworks, rockets in particular, and affix our ashes securely to the rockets so upon detonation, our ashes will be scattered from the heavens and drift forever upon the trade winds of time. This is to happen on a summer night, full moon, and clear skies. No exceptions.
Mary wants a big party; laughter, and merriment. No black attire and lots of flowers, mostly tulips and daisies. She wants big food, big drink, and mandatory dancing to old-school Motown.
Me: Please no Michael Jackson.
Mary: It’s my party.
Me: How about ‘Jackson 5’, Michael Jackson?
Mary: I can live with that.
Then it was my turn. I wanted lamentation, professional mourners with wailing and tears. Dress code is black, a little white for contrast but no pastels. Surviving friends and family are encouraged to speak but only if visibly heartbroken. No flowers, food, or party. Use the extra money to hire more mourners. Those who’ve treated me wrong and use this solemn occasion to gloat, relieve guilt or just crave a sanctimonious spotlight will not be allowed to speak. Security should be present.
After listing all my wishes, both wife and planner just stared at me until the wife says, “Ok…shall we move on?”
I’m mostly kidding about the professional mourners and such but is it too much to expect at least one thing in life go as planned? The answer is yes. It is too much to ask because life is not about me. Life is a gift; not a right and not a nebulous phenomenon. Nor is life an accident, excusing me from either accountability or endeavoring to search out the bloody intersection where humanity and holiness collide. I believe many who reject this outwardly have at some point sensed inwardly it could very well be true but choose to think in terms…less absolute. The best argument to view life in absolute terms is because death is absolute.
I’m looking out the window and see plum trees in early blossom. They must have been budding for the past week but I didn’t notice. The end of our days is going to be just like the plum tree. By the time we see the mature blossom, it will be too late to go back and watch them bud. If you’re reading this it is not too late to reconsider everything, even as a child might. Truth be told…it is the only way. For those able, the greatest purpose on earth is to acknowledge where beauty, power and grace originate. Everything else…and I mean everything, bad and worse, is reconcilable at the cross but only if you believe and accept the costly gift. I sincerely and lovingly hope you do.