We wake up each day and go about our business and chores without giving a thought about how it will end one day. In reality, I don't even know if I will be alive before I finish this entry. It seems as though at least a few times a week I read about a celebrity or famous person who dies unexpectedly.
My Uncle was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. When it became obvious that the disease would take his life, he began planning his funeral. He had plenty of time to decide what he wanted to be included in his funeral and who he wanted to talk. We spent many hours going over music that he would want at his funeral. We would listen to different artists singing their versions of the same song and he would decide which version he wanted at his memorial service. He was able to talk about is life and his beliefs, his philosophy and desires before he got to the point where he would not be able to. It turned out to be a good memorial service because all of us were not sitting around wondering what he would have wanted. We knew exactly what he wanted and that was what he got.
With the knowledge that I could leave this earth at any moment, I decided to at least make an outline of what I would like for my funeral to be like. This way no one will have to worry about things. I already have everything else prepared for my death. I have a plot bought, a grave marker, a casket, virtually everything is set except for the service. I don't imagine many people will come to it, but for those who do come, they will receive a service in which I had input and was what I would want.
The first thing I would want would be no pictures of me lying around or being displayed on a screen. People who come probably know what I look like. I think most of the pictures of me have fake smiles on my face anyway and do not really represent who I am on the inside. If any pictures are to be anywhere, I would want the pictures of people who influenced me in life in my little program that they give out at the door as people arrive. They don't have to be large pictures but just a little nod to the people who I think formed my life as I worked through it all. I would like a picture of my father Belden H. Clark, my grandparents Oscar L. Hill and Verna Hill, my grandmother Jean Clark, Dr. Loren S. Goings, Dr. Melvin M. Hill, Buster Hill, Jack Hill, Danial Hill, Duane Knierim, Jay Allard, and Noel Shepard. Okay, that may be a lot of pictures, so just have a list of these people who shaped my life.
As people arrive I would like to have Bach's Brandenburg Concerto's playing, particularly Concerto Number 3. I love that work of music. It can either be someone playing it or a recording. If it is a recording I would prefer Wendy Carlos' recording of the concertos. (If you have trouble finding a copy, you might look under the name Walter Carlos, which she was known as before her sex change operation). It is stunningly beautiful and is played on electronic keyboards which I have had a fascination with since I was young.
Not a lot of people know me very well, as matter of fact very few people really know me enough to speak about me at the service. If I am survived by them, I would like I think for Gregg Carder to say a few words. After Gregg speaks, I would like to have a recording of "My Way" by Frank Sinatra played.
Then I would think that Ronald Mullins or Dennis Purduski would have a few good memories to share and they would be good at it. Ronnie and I spent a lot of time together growing up. Dennis and I worked together and traveled together a lot. Following Dennis or Ronnie's remembrances I think that I would like a member of the family to sing the old hymn "It Is Well". That has always been a great song to me. A song that I would get lost in every time I heard it.
Finally, my cousin Pete would be the right person to give the eulogy. If Pete is not available, then Keith Gibson should give it. I have known Keith since he was a little boy and I have great respect for him to be able to do a very good job. I would like them to open with a Scripture reading before going into the eulogy.
Romans 6:3 though 9
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through
baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by
the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. For if we
have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also
be united with him in the resurrection. We know that our old self was
crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with,
that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. For a dead person has been
absolved from sin. If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that
we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead,
dies no more; death no longer has power over him.
After Pete or Keith has finished the eulogy a recording of Warren Zevon's "Keep Me In Your Heart" will be played as people sit and listen. I think the words to this song should be printed in the little program as well.
When all is done, when Zevon finishes his song, the people will be dismissed and as they are leaving, "Amazing Grace" should be playing softly.
And that is it. People can leave and go about their lives. I will be done with and I can slide into people's memories and then begin to fade away from those memories. Before long, I will be forgotten and it will be as though I never existed, which in a way I haven't really.
Of course, I won't be here to make sure it is done as I have requested and that's okay. As my Uncle Dan use to say. "Funerals and stones are for the living, not the dead" so if the people who are planning my funeral do not like what I have laid out here, fine, change it. Really won't bother me any. I won't know the difference.
Well that about covers everything now I guess. Everything is paid for and ready for me to leave this life. Things should go pretty smooth for whoever is left to dispose of my body.