In the past two years, I have seen more death among loved ones and loved ones’ loved ones than I did the 19 years before that. Despite this, death has never really affected me strongly. I’ve known people who lost older family members when they were kids, so their foundation wasn’t shaken quite so hard later in life when others passed on. I didn’t lose a family member until my grandma passed away at the end of my sophomore year. That didn’t really hit me too hard, but it’s probably because she had been so sick for so long that we had all long since prepared ourselves for it.
My grandpa’s death back around Thanksgiving was a little more sudden. He had a stroke several years ago and had a hard time getting around and communicating ever since, but for the most part he’d been doing OK. A few months before he died, he had another small stroke and was in and out of the hospital a few times. After a month or two, he moved into a nursing home and died at 83.
Ever since then, my own mortality has been sort of nagging at the back of my mind. I’ve never been afraid of death; I accepted it as a natural part of life (namely, the end thereof) long ago, which may have helped me cope with the death of others. I am afraid of the actual process of dying, because I’m kind of a wuss and don’t like pain. I’d like to die in my sleep, or due to a faulty parachute, or at 120 MPH without a helmet into an overpass, because it’s quick and dirty. I’ve had a pretty good run these past few years, and there’s still a lot I’d like to do, but I don’t fear death.
Now, this bit is important. I’m mentioning it here because I’d like to think that lots of people will read it this way, but I’ll be happy if just a couple do. Should I die in a car accident or something like that, I have a few requests:
- Give my body to a hospital or something. I'll have no use for my organs at that point, so make sure someone else gets them.
- I don't want a Catholic funeral, regardless of what my parents may say.
- Someone should the biggest, loudest Irish wake in the history of ever.
- I would like to encourage drinking during whatever memorial service is had. And story telling. We have funerals to offer the living some closure, but that doesn't mean they have to be sad. I would much rather have a fun funeral, celebrating the good times I had with the dearly departed, so that's what I want when I die.
- Play some terribly ironic music at the service. Nothing churchy - something like Staying Alive.
- If I have to have a tomb stone, I want it to say "This guy was pretty totally awesome."