Recently I was thinking about funerals. Ever since I was a little girl, I'm guessing that I would go to at least one funeral every couple of years.
One of the reasons was because my relatives were much older than me. At some point, I was either taken to the hospital to visit someone who was deathly ill or carted to a funeral home to visit them once they had passed.
I have to admit that my mother did me a huge favour by taking me from such a young age. I don't get freaked-out at the thought of going to a visitation. Now that I'm officially middle-aged, I still meet people who have not been to a funeral or attended very few of them.
I find this shocking. What were their parents protecting them from? It's the inevitable. Newsflash! We are all going to die.
All of my relatives had funerals with a lot of pageantry. This was ironic to me since they lived their lives in a really low-key kind of way. But their funerals were quite elaborate.
Police-led limousine procession through the streets of Toronto, a beautiful solid wood and satin-lined coffin inside a gold-plated burial vault, sit-down dinner in a banquet hall or restaurant, a multi-day visitation and elaborate two-hour funeral service with priests dressed in gold and velvet are the ways which my ancestors were celebrated in death.
Thinking back on their memorials, I got to thinking about how I would like to be celebrated. As I've mentioned to my husband a number of times, the funeral service should be a simple one-day event, followed by a reception in the funeral home and a concrete bench with my inscription on it in the cemetery. A nice blossoming tree bowing overtop would be a bonus.
Why a bench? Well, not only did I go to a lot of funerals but I have also paid my respects to many people at their grave sites. And I often thought how much nicer it would be (and that I would visit for a little longer) if I had somewhere to sit. So the idea came to me in requesting a bench of my own.
Sometimes I'll spot a bench in a local neighbourhood with a small plaque of dedication. Perhaps they enjoyed walking those streets or going to the coffee shop at the location where they are now providing a resting spot. How nice.
I haven't quite figured out whether I want to be buried or cremated yet. That part is not so important to me.
But making my final resting place a pleasant spot for all of my visitors would be a wonderful gift to them for coming by to see me.