My parents died within eighteen months of each other and that got me to thinking about my own mortality. After all, I’m the oldest of my siblings, my parents are now gone; that sort of puts me in God’s Waiting Room, doesn’t it? Let me tell you, Dear Readers, those green, faux leather-covered seats are mighty uncomfortable.
I’ve given my Final Party (as it were) a good deal of thought. I have all my desired arrangements specifically outlined in my will. Along with the usual bequests and dispersal of my ‘worldly goods’ are the detailed instructions for my funeral.
First, there may be 20 minutes of ‘sad’ and the rest of the event shall be a Par-Tay!
I would like more flowers than at a mafia funeral. Flowers by the truckload, in fact. Flowers like in The Godfather. I have in mind a wreath in the shape of a horseshoe, facing down, showing that my luck has run out. And another wreath, showing a poker hand of aces and eights, supposedly the hand that Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was shot dead by Jack McCall. Sprays of flowers, bouquets of flowers, vases full of flowers…you get the idea. None of this, ‘In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Homeless Cats of Los Angeles.’ Oh, no. I want the damn flowers.
I would like a New Orleans Jazz Band to play. Yes, I want music. The band may either play as accompaniment to the actual service or later on, when people are back at the house after internment. You know what I mean. Think brass playing, ‘When The Saints Go Marching In.’
I want paid mourners. Specifically, old Italian nonnas with mustaches, black dresses, sturdy shoes and white hankies. I want weeping. I want wailing. I want rending of garments. Even if I have to pay for it from beyond the grave.
I was so moved by the scene in The Descendants in which the remaining members of her family scattered Elizabeth King’s ashes in the water off Waikiki, that I thought of chucking all my plans in favor of a destination funeral in Hawaii, complete with cremation and the scattering of my ashes, most likely off Maui. Even after paying airfare for select invitees, a destination funeral would still cost my estate less than the plans detailed above.
Sadly, I had to abandon this idea after consultation with my Rabbi. Once he told me that I would never find a Conservative rabbi who would officiate, that was that.
So it’s back to Plan A.
See you all there.