So, I haven't been talking about it on my twitter because death is too hard to talk about sometimes, but on April 4th one of my friends from when I was younger passed away unexpectedly. Jessica suffered cardiac arrest at 30 and died in a coma. It was jarring. We'd fallen out of touch the past several years, but she was close to me in my early 20's, a critical emotional support as I left my abusive ex fiancee, and we had been founding members of a pagan spiritual group at our college. I'm still picking apart the pieces of how I feel. There's the numbness of loss, of knowing there's one less human breathing in this world that breathed vibrance and hope into my life at a time I most needed it. There's guilt for falling out of touch, and shame that I'm not more actively weeping. There's a lack of resolution; all of us friends are having trouble learning when and where the funeral will be, when it will be held over 2000 miles from where I am, and if I'm going to make it, I need time to organize flying out there. UPDATE: That's because there won't be a funeral, her wishes as expressed to her closest friends was to have a celebration of her life, so that will be happening over the summer sometime.
There's the realization that the last time I saw these friends was two years ago when Kirk, a man who touched my soul more than I ever told him, whose loving but crabby attitude and kindness to those who needed it were an inspiration in my formative adult years, passed. I left him a neon pink lipstick mark on his cheek, as he lay there cold. I remember getting blisteringly drunk and singing karaoke after his funeral, as he would have wanted.
I'm not sure what Jessica would have wanted. We were young, and still forming our identities when our lives spun around one another. We were married on facebook as a joke for a year, and teased each other about stealing potato peelers and spatulas, so facebook history tells me. She remained more involved with my former spiritual community, the heart of my soul, but I am flighty and restless and had to roam out of state and country, and she was among those I stopped talking to, despite our years of exchanging emotional and spiritual energy.
So it's mostly guilt for forgetting, guilt for drifting, and stress as I try desperately to organize who else I've missed, who could die any day with little warning, leaving me regretting having not ever told them that I care for them, and value them, and even if it's been years since they were important to me.
So anyways, If I Die First.
Please for the love of fuck don't buy me flowers. I get the sentiment but it's a commercial industry that feeds on grief and loss, and charges consumers a premium for their presence at a time of great emotion. Please instead donate to a LGBTQ youth homeless shelter, or an HIV prevention organization that focuses on marginalized populations. Please, paper my memorial with notices of compassion and caring for those that need help.
On that note I don't like the idea of being preserved. I've often joked that I'd like someone to dig a hole, throw me in, and plant a tree over me. If you're sentimental, wrap me in linen first, a linen shroud people wrote their memories and blessings and final thoughts on for me, whatever. I'd like an apple tree, and if you make a pie in my honor every year after it starts blooming.
But if preservation is what everybody wants, please rent a casket or put me in a cheap wood one. We spend way too much on commemorating the dead with useless trinkets they can't appreciate. If you have to spend money on me after I die, please spend it on the living. I don't carry cash because I have a bad habit of handing it all to people on the streets. If you have to commemorate me with money, commemorate me in the way I would have used it. Yes this includes also buying yourself a new eyeshadow, better fucking wear it to my funeral!
I understand a funeral might be important, and having it solemn is cathartic. But please let my wake me some mixture of fun and deep, full of laughter that turns into crying and crying that ends in laughter. Please drink a lot of whiskey and sing badly and stay up too late and cry and laugh and throw some glitter around.
So, that's a rough outline of what I'd want. Spend your money on each other, those who need it, and yourself, instead of trinkets for my lifeless corpse. Celebrate me with whiskey and glitter and laughter. And for the love of god if you buy me flowers I will personally haunt you and it won't be a fun sexy ghost situation.