Saturday, January 22, 2011

Will anyone dance at my funeral?

It is early morning. Sleep has been a stranger. Appetite an enemy. As I nurse, in vain, a bad bout of bronchitis, I am considering the end of my life and what it will be like. I started planning my funeral yesterday. That is something I figured I would never do. After all why would it matter to me? I will be gone. This inspiration came from a funeral I attended on January 21, 2011, in Abbotsford, B.C.

Most find that funerals are not something to plan until one has too. Why entertain the thought of a loved one dying (or oneself for that matter)? Yesterday, I saw a beautiful reflection of life. I heard laughter, singing and stories. I saw a collage of pictures that painted the colour of life into a room that expected tears. And I danced. There were no tears for me in that place. I felt an ache in my heart for the family that now has to walk their days without a husband, a dad, a brother, a son and a freind. But I danced.

Dance is a language that I have become very fond of. I once danced a lot more than I do now. It is a language that only emerges now on special occasions or in the privacy of my own home.

I danced at my wedding for my husband. The pictures in this post are from that very dance. The music was by John Denver and Placido Domingo - Perhaps Love.

I wondered about my own funeral and what that would be like. If I could be at my funeral what would I do. I may cry when I see those I am to leave behind. No for my own loss, but for there loss. I would share in their grief for a moment, but then I would whisper a word into the ear of the person who is sharing the music and tell him or her to play some songs so I could dance. I would dance for joy, dance for freedom from pain and the hardships of life and I would dance so that others could also share in my joy and freedom.

I asked the question... "Will anyone dance at my funeral?" Yes, I will. No one will see me there. There won't be a body to look at. But I will be there. I will be there in the memories, the stories, and the faces of the people that have loved me through this journey.

I don't know if I should plan the service down to the last detail. I know some have, who have been told there time is soon up. I would like the people that have loved me to have a place where they can process their own pain, in their own way.

I can't ask my family and freinds not to cry. That is a selfish request. I would only suggest that they allow themselves to laugh as well. I would ask my nephews to share the story of our first ski trip together. I would give permission for my sister to talk about my most embarrasing moments from childhood and adulthood. There are many. I would ask my friend, Carla to share about the crazy things we did together at bible school. I would ask my husband, if he could, to share about the love we had for each other. I would ask him to tell about our time as coworkers when we became friends, and yet it would take years before we were in each others arms for good. (He may not be there... he is convinced that he will go first. Something about not wanting to live without me. How precious is that. )

I would like to see lots of flowers... Wild flowers, tame flowers, different colors, different kinds.
There would be enough flowers at the memorial so that everyone could take one or two home. I would like the flowers to come from the wild or from someone's garden. (That would mean my memorial service would have to be during flower blooming season.) Maybe people could come that day with flowers to share with someone else. Flowers are meant to be enjoyed and shared.

Pictures. I love taking pictures. I wonder if I should put aside a collage of my favourite pictures and maybe someone can print them to share with the people. My favourite pictures are of scenery, sunsets, sunrises, flowers, animals and of my loved ones.

I have put in my will that I want to have my ashes spread, not buried. I think the most appropriate place to spread them would be in a river. I have no preferences. I love rivers. Rivers signify life for me. I spent may hours of my time at the dairy farm in Calgary, swimming with my dogs in the Elbow River. I remember building a monument of rocks in the Ghost River by King's Fold Retreat center. There are other rivers that have some significance to me. At home in the Fort St. John area, we had the Beaton River and the Peace River. When I went to New Orleans, I was able to cruise over the Mississippi River. That is the most famous river I have been on. I remember sailing with my Dad on the Red Deer river. We capsized the boat and had to swim it back to shore.

I have one more request. Don't donate any money to any illness foundations on my behalf. I am not a big supporter of those organizations. There are cures out there that will never be discovered as long as our country makes more money off of the disease.

So let me ask again... Will anyone dance at my funeral?
I hope so.

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