Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Oh, What to Wear, What to Wear...

My Readers: So, Bou, what did you do today?

Bou: Well, today I sat in my car running carpools, thinking about what I want to wear to MY funeral.

Yes, it is true. See, J. was a mother of boys and a very casual person like me. Where I spend most of my time in shorts and a t-shirt, she spent all her time in stretch pants and big t-shirts. She never looked slovenly, but very casual. Unlike me, however, she was never required to go places nice, nor did she want to. In essence, the old adage, “Oh! But I have nothing to wear” directly applies here. My friends have been going through her closet trying to find something appropriate and have found nothing… so one of them went out and bought her something last night. She went to the mall and purchased J. an outfit to wear to her funeral.

As my Mother said, “How sad that she finally got something new, but has to wear it at her funeral.” Yeah, that about sums it up.

So today my mind has been wandering… do I want to be cremated? If I die young, where do I want my body or ashes? Do I want them sent to The Great Omnipotent One’s family’s plot or here? If they keep my carcass here, nobody will visit as my husband’s family cemetery is way out in the sticks. We’ve been to his Mother’s grave twice in five years. The third will be Saturday as it’s the same cemetery as J. is being buried.

If I were to die young, my husband would remarry. He may think he would not, but he would. You have to meet my husband to understand why. (Think Al Pacino from Godfather Part I. Think Andy Garcia with a very slight dash of George Clooney.) Every woman who is single in Palm Beach County, and maybe some married ones too, would be beating down his door before I was even cold, to get their hands on him. Eventually he would succumb to some woman’s wily ways and then he’d be stuck with this double plot with my body or ashes in it. Then of course his new wife sure as hell wouldn’t want him buried with his old wife, so… that has been my train of thought.

If I die young, I think I need to go to Birmingham. Ashes or body. I can’t decide. But as of now, I am leaning towards ashes.

Can you imagine being an alien from outer space and saying to a human, “So, what do you do with your dead?” and the answer is, “Oh… well… we preserve our dead bodies then we stick them in the ground or in a vault. Forever.” Truly, what an incredibly bizarre ritual we have established. This preserving and keeping of something that is no longer useful.

What I really really want is a big frickin’ floating funeral pyre. Put my body on a big wooden raft, shove it out to sea and light it. A good old fashioned Viking funeral. But I think the EPA would have issues with that, as well as every other governmental group that has an ‘A’ at the end of it.

Eh, so I’m back to square one. I do know that either way, I do not want my girlfriends or mother or sister rummaging through my clothes thinking “Holy crap, lion tours, this girl has NOTHING to wear!” I’ve thought about my Karate gi, but I think my husband would not be happy.

I’m thinking, I’m thinking. I know, it sounds twisted, but I think it is part of my grieving process. Putting me in her shoes and making sure I tie up these loose ends.

Right now I’m leaning towards either my red suit (I look good in red) or my royal blue dress. But I think the royal blue dress may be too clingy. I love black… but that’s what everyone else would be wearing and I don’t want to look like everyone else.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

LW Here. Like the Viking concept, and even promised my undergraduate roomate I would do it for him if he kicked (or was kicked, as a journalist he and his original roomate made some enemies) in college. Boat, wood, fire, typewriter on his chest. Never hurts to plan, and I've had mine made and modified since I was 15, along with a will. I want to be sent into space, but that is not likely right now, so have a plot in Georgia. Glad you are doing this, it is good and makes a good distraction.

8:20 PM  
Blogger VW said...

Bou you would NOT look like anyone else in Black. You would look GREAT. Though I tend to agree you look better in Red or Blue. I still am thinking a western shirt (cut for a woman) and blue jeans for me. Somehow I think trying to get jeans on a dead body would be too difficult, which is why they prefer dresses. See, we all have odd thoughts about death and what if it happens to us.

Ok, off to try and get some sleep... what a day.

9:14 PM  
Blogger Harvey said...

For me, I'm inclined toward ashes. I think I'd have Beloved Wife scatter me at Aztalan State Park (I'll let you Google that yourself :-). We did a lot of wooing there. Lot of memories.

11:56 PM  
Blogger VW said...

Hello Harvey, I, too, want to be cremated. But Bou reminded me that most families want a 'viewing' first. Which means you have to wear something. I am afraid if they put me in the dress, the conversation will tend to be - Does she have an interview? I think in 5 years at my last job, I wore a dress 7 times. Just a jeans / slacks kind of woman.

5:52 AM  
Blogger Contagion said...

My funeral is all planned out, did it for my wife. I want a traditional Scottish Wake... a party with a lot of drinking. I don't want sad people mourning my life. I want the people that actually cared to celebrate the influence I had on them. I want to be cremated and in an ancient Norse/Celt tradition I want my ashes mixed with Mead and served at the wake. So that all my friends and loved ones can partake of me and share inturn gain my strengths. (So the belief was) So far everyone I've told this to however said they wont be drinking from anything that is provided at my wake. The bastards.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Quality Weenie said...

I made my sister swear on the bible that only she would chose what I would wear to my funeral if I died young. Anyone else in the family has horrible, horrible taste and I told her I would come back to haunt her if she allowed them to choose what I wore.

I also made her swear she would do most of the funeral planning since my family are cheap ba$tards and I would get a wooden box and a self dug hole in the ground if the planning was left to them.

I basically have my funeral planned out in my head, I think everyone does that after a close family member/friend dies because it makes you realize it's going to happen no matter what you do and it could happen at any moment. Better to be prepared and organized.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

The funeral pyre would certainly go with the Boudicca alter-ego, wouldn't it?

I've made no funeral planning other than to make sure I have enough insurance to pay for one. Once I'm dead, they can grind me up for fertilizer, burn me, whatever. The shell doesn't matter once I'm not in it any more. No dependents, so no one to worry about taking care of, other than my cat, and I have people who have promised to take him if I kick the bucket.

I guess I should figure out who to give my book collection to, since I have probably over 1000 books. Hmmmm... now I need to think.

12:10 PM  
Blogger _Jon said...

Well, seeing as I just went through this, I'll tell ya what it's like.

I chose a simple, v-neck top that My Love was comfortable in when she was alive and a flowing skirt. Both were dark in color. The top was a like a velour (sp?) in dark blue. I had to adjust it because it was wide enough at the top that the scar from the medical-port for injections was showing. (It was above her heart.)

Because My Love had been in the hospital when she died, she had no jewlery on. And I didn't bring any to the funeral home. At first I thought that was a mistake, as some people had commented that she wasn't wearing any. And she always wore 6 or more rings. Mostly hand-made silver in curly patterns. (They would always get hooked under the quilted blanket on the couch when we cuddled. :) One morning I ruined a ring by straightening it because I couldn't get it unraveled from the blanket and we needed to get up - nature call, don't 'cha know.) I did bring a wooden-beaded braclet she always wore (which I had repaired) and slipped it on her. But ultimately, the jewelry went to My Love's daughter, and that is better. The Girl treasures those rings and such. (Except the earrings. I kept those. They were quite special. I wouldn't bear to see them on The Girl.)

But My Love had done quite a bit of clothes shopping (via Internet and Catalogs) during her treatment. It helped her attitude. Quite a few of the things were never worn. At least 4 pairs of shoes/boots. She did wear the custom made moccossins a few times. She didn't want them with soles. So when we were at the Rennasaince (sp?) Festival, we convinced a vendor to make a pair without soles and ship them to us. My Love was so poor before we met that she hadn't bought any shoes for over 3 years. She bought more shoes in her last 6 months than she had in the previous 10+ years. Some of them were really cool. Her daughter wears them now, and I'm quite happy about that.

My Love's family has a series of plots in a cemetary, so she is next to her grandfathers. Her son insisted on having the plot next to her. So that is pre-purchased now.

(Aaack. I'm still at work. That wasn't a good line to write from here. :grin: )

As for me, heck, I'm an ugly dude. Most people think I look like death warmed over now. e-gadds. In a box I'll probably look ... like a corpse. LOL But my choice is to take out the usable parts and burn the rest.

An odd side-note on the "take out the usable parts". At the hospital, in Intensive Care, one of the doctors (whom we had never met) pulled My Love's mom and I aside and asked us to allow them to remove organs for donation. I don't have a problem with the idea, but as I had to explain to him; "I don't think it is a wise move to transfer a possible cancer-laden organ to another person." Really. I had to say that a few times. He was pushy. Even with the eyes. I finally said; "I would not want to be responsible for someone else getting cancer because they received an organ like this." Then he gave up. Like I said. Odd.

As for my wake, my hope is that each person there would introduce themself to someone they don't know. That's what I do in my life. That's what I would want my friends to do in memory of me.

Oh, and Contagion - I'd have a drink.
And I don't drink.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

I'm really confused as to what to do. I'm pretty much leaning towards take out the usable parts and burn the rest, I have organ donor on my driver's license, but I keep trying to figure ou what my family needs for closure. What a waste of money to have them preserve me only to burn me. But if they can handle no viewing, I don't have to worry about the clothes. They can see me at the morgue then someone can burn me and I'll have my ashes taken up to Birmingham.

No jewelry at the funeral home when I die. If they lay me out, no jewelry. All my rings stay home. I need to decide who gets what. I am simple, I only wear simple gold posts, I never change them, so those can stay in if my husband wants them to.

My husband is aghast at this planning I'm doing. I told him to feel fortunate as another Mom friend of J.'s and mine has already picked out a new wife for her husband if she dies young.

I don't think I could drink at Contagion's wake. Blech. Wouldn't it be disrespectful for one to drink and then vomit the deceased?

2:31 PM  
Blogger Tammi said...

I put a lot of thought into this. I've lost so many that I love, and watched what happens when things are left up to those left behind.

I want to be cremated. My family hates this idea but I don't care. And I want my ashes scattered in the Gulf of Mexico somewhere between Bradenton and Sarasota.

I don't want a viewing. I want a wake. I want people to listen to my favorite music (it is all about me) and remember laughs and share stories. That simple. I lived life. I love to laugh and I adore stories - that is how I want to be remembered.

I've never seen anyone look "good" at a viewing and I will not put my family and friends through that.

Yeah - I've put a lot of thought into this. My family claims what I want is robbing them of the right to say good bye. I don't see it that way - no good bye. Just see ya later.

1:15 PM  

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