For those of you that don’t know me on a personal level I am currently doing a lot of reading and research into grief and taking part in a course to become a bereavement support worker. This course is teaching me a lot and allowing me to reflect on many different things when it comes to bereavement and my own death being one of them.
Reflecting on this recently got me thinking should we think about our death more? Is it weird to make your own funeral plans known even if your perfectly healthy? Some may say yes but I think it’s healthy to be prepared as you really don’t know what is round the corner. My mum never let us know if she had anything, she would have liked at her funeral, she didn’t even have a will. So as a family we arranged a funeral that lived up to my mum’s personality, filled with family and friends but she may have imagined it completely different in her mind.
So, during the height of the first strict lockdown my anxiety went through the roof, I was the one that was so panicked and thought it was this deadly virus out there. Due to me having asthma and on the vulnerable list I did think if I got it there was a high potential I would die. Anyway, the thought of me dying worried me so I wrote a letter on paper even signed it don’t judge I can overreact haha, this letter included of all the things I would want to happen with all my finances and the sentimental things I own.
A key message I wrote in this letter ‘Whenever you’re on holiday or on a plane think of me as I will be there travelling with you’. I have always loved traveling and being by the beach and sea so before the pandemic I hadn’t really thought about anything to do with my death other than I would like my ashes to be sprinkled in the sea.
A lot of people are scared of dying and rightly so but its inventible, were all going to die one day so why live in fear? It’s time we talk about dying more openly and please use this blog as a direction to let someone know what you would want to happen after you die, weather that be a set funeral idea, who you would want to leave things to, even if you don’t own much it maybe a simple jumper or teddy that you would want someone to have. The only thing that does concern me is how my family would cope. I have thought about my own death a few times since losing my mum but this was more of a ‘how would my family cope’ rather than what I would actually want at my funeral etc.
So, I thought it was time to share a couple of things I would like at my funeral.
· I would like the service to be a celebration of life, I want people to smile and even laugh at stories being told. I would like a fun positive atmosphere, all family tensions put aside just a celebration.
· I would like people to wear something green! (My family would already know this as everything I own is green, even had a lime green bedroom wall most of my life).
· I would want everyone to be invited, everyone that may have impacted my life or me impact there’s, family, friends, school friends, Uni friends, old friends, basically an open invite to all.
· I would like a plain coffin with a pack of sharpies next to it – I would like everyone to write a message on the coffin. Kind of like a final goodbye maybe they feel they couldn’t say this to anyone else, maybe it’s something they have always wanted to tell me.
· I would like to be cremated and my ashes taken on holiday and sprinkled in the sea, because travelling is a passion and the beach is when I feel my happiest.
· I would like a speech/reading from my auntie, my sister and my best friend.
· For the music – I would like ‘rule the world by take that’ a song that has so much meaning to my family and was also played at my mum’s funeral. I would like my family to choose a song that reminds them of me. When discussing this with my auntie she said she would choose ‘I did it my way – frank Sinatra’ My family have always said I am very independent, talk my mind and always do things my way so I think the song is quite fitting.
Reflecting on my own death has really made me think about the idea of family and friends not knowing how much I apricate them in life, it has made me open conversations with family members and get them thinking about their own funeral wishes and that we should make these known.
Remember to tell your family and friends how much they mean to you, start talking about any wishes you would want at your funeral. You never know when it may be your last day, so live life to the fullest!