I have written about brushes with death, I have written in memoriam of a good friend, I have even tackled the horrifying event that is the death of a beloved celebrity and yet I have never addressed death head on.
Let us, on this beautiful today, discuss the end of life. There are as many rituals with handling death as there ways of dying, and I will not be addressing any of them. I want to focus on the personal, internal nonsense that coincides with someone else’s passing, because I am here for you.
Most of the time death makes people sad (if it doesn’t, you don’t need a life coach, you need a bottle of champagne or a therapist with letters behind their name) and sadness is a bummer. Below are a few ideas for helping lift your spirits in this time of mourning.
Dress them up
If the deceased (or their next o’ kin) is all about the open casket, take some initiative, help everyone out, offer to pick the eternal outfit of which your friend will wear. You could go with her favorite dress or his most worn jersey (or vice versa), but what fun is that?
Go for a character, maybe an eternal Peter Pan, Tammy Faye Baker, or lady of the evening. Your character should reflect the spirit of the person since gone, you don’t want to have to explain your choice, but you do want to incite amusement and/or outrage.
If the funeral home isn’t on board with your plan, break in the night before the funeral and do the job yourself. This is about the friends and family of the dearly departed – not about “propriety” or “decency”.
Celebrate their life
With booze. A funeral after party should be something like the best birthday party this here dead person has ever had, it’s a shame that they’re missing it but you know, it happens. Get the bar stocked and have at it. Get wild.
If the cops don’t come then you aren’t celebrating hard enough.
Make sure that you have the appropriate number of days off from work to nurse your hangover (bereavement time and whatnot).
Think of your inheritance
The passing of a person means the divvying up of all of their cash and possessions. If you are lucky they have cool kitchen gadgets, decent art, or tens of dollars to pass your way.
If not, fuck it, take the spoons. You could always use more spoons.
Create new life
When you look at death up close you are reminded of your own mortality. Find someone who makes you feel alive and work out your thanatophobia with them, hell, make the most of your bereavement time (if your job isn’t offering this, tell them to get with it), don’t put your pants back on while you mourn.
If you are feeling your mortal coiling unwinding at a pace that leaves you panicked, take that person who makes you feel alive and try some genetic recombination. See if that does’t fix the problem for a moment or two.
Who shared a hairstyle with Ralph Stanley and would flip me off for saying so.