I had to update my will today. It isn’t something I like to think about because it makes me sad to think that one day someone is going to have to clean out my stuff. It isn’t that I have a lot of stuff, but in the course of grieving, someone is going to go through my clothes, my old letters, my pictures, knickknacks, and my books and have to box it all up and send it to a thrift store, throw out, or pass on. It’s those types of items that usually only the owner has true appreciation for. Except the letters and pictures, that is. Hopefully the letters and pictures will remain with the family. Those are the items that can keep memories alive.
There is a point in this canned will I’m updating where I can add whatever provisions I want to be followed in the event of my death. I dared to add that I do not wish to be embalmed and do not wish for anyone to see my body at a funeral home viewing.
What I want instead is to be remembered as I was when I was alive. Laughing, talking, moving about. I don’t want to be in a box the last time someone sees me, with a white face caked with too much make up and a hairdo that I probably wouldn’t approve of.
I want pictures of me around the room where the memorial service is to be held. Pictures of me riding a camel in Egypt, standing in front of the Eifel Tower with my parents, holding my sons on the days of their birth. Pictures of me and my husband hiking the rain forest El Yunque, on the beach in Cancun, and the selfie we took in the hot springs with the volcano Arenal in the background when we honeymooned in Costa Rica.
Add pictures of beautiful views from hikes, sunsets, and splashing waves. Include pictures of family and friends I spent time with, and get these pictures from those that I took because what will be seen will have been from my eyes. See my world the way I saw it and rejoice that I dared to see it well.
I don’t want the last memory of me to be how I looked in a box. That is not who I am.
Funerals are for the living to grieve the dead, so I may not get a choice because I won’t be here to argue with anyone who is making the decisions. They may feel the need to do whatever comforts them at that time.
But from my own experiences visiting funeral homes for loved ones who passed on, I can’t shake the image I saw when I greeted their casket. The lifeless mannequin with no resemblance to the wonderful person I knew. I don’t want that to be how I remember them, I want to remember them by seeing pictures, hearing stories, and reflecting on the time I got to spend with them. I want to remember their laugh. I want to remember how they answered the phone when I called. I want to remember the joy we experienced whenever we were together. But I don’t want to remember what they looked like when they died.
I hope my family will respect my wishes, I’d hate to have to come back to haunt them. 🙂