Definitely don’t leave me out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but the occasional funeral director and bird for company.
And please, don’t ever come visit me. You have a life to live. People to love. Desires to fulfill.
Don’t remember me by driving by my cemetery and guiltily thinking, “Oh, yeah. I haven’t taken flowers to Heather. I need to do that,” and then promptly forgetting as your brain fills with that day’s to do list.
What I don’t want you to do is contribute to a death industry that’s more retail than respect. Don’t waste money on a coffin that’s just going to dent in as soon as the first shovel-full of dirt is heaped on it. Don’t stare at an urn on a shelf that is never dusted because it creeps you out. Don’t stick a bunch of roses in the ground that will just wilt by day’s end. And definitely DO NOT waste good money on “perpetual care.”
Don’t you dare save my phone number in your contacts list. What’s the point? I’m not going to pick up when you call and eventually, the mailbox will just get full. Don’t text me, either. That’s just creepy as fuck.
Don’t keep me on your social media “friends” list. Really. Not like I’m going to be ranting about the latest political nonsense when I’m gone. I’ll have more important things to worry about. Like, galaxies, my next life, how to walk through walls. If you stay connected with me on social media, then you’ll feel obligated to post there on my birthday, deathday, and any time you see the color purple pop up in your life. That’s just too damned much commitment.
Here’s what you need to do, instead.
Go pour yourself a cup of dark roast coffee with lots of sweetener and half-and-half. And if you hate coffee, that’s fine. Just hold the mug and warm up your hands.
Turn on the television and watch a TV show about serial killers. Or, just have it turned on for background noise.
Plant some flowers in your front yard. I don’t care what color. Just water them when it’s hot and throw some MiracleGro on that shit every two weeks and it will look a. mazing.
Listen to some loud, alternative 80s music in your car. I don’t care if you like it or not. Just turn that shit up and let the Depeche Mode wash over you.
Read a ghost story or ten. And if that creeps you out, read it in broad daylight.
Kiss your child on the forehead and give them a hug. And while you do it, awkwardly sniff their head. Because it’s your job to embarrass them.
Wear something purple. And if you’re a guy worried about your masculinity, then make sure said purple is lavender.
Decorate your home with pictures of your loved ones. No, that doesn’t include George Clooney or Kim Kardashian. Yes, that includes Henry Cavill.
Embrace the awesomeness of Halloween. Eat a piece of candy or wear a Michael Myers mask or hang up a black and orange wreath. I don’t care. Just keep that spookiness in your heart year-round.
Eat a huge hunk of chocolate. Like the size of your head huge.
Donate to a homeless shelter. Or pass out underwear and socks to unsheltered homeless. Tell them that you care about them and that they matter.
Pay for a child’s school lunch. Because you know there are kids out there who are hungry and that shit isn’t right.
Cheer on a marching band at a football game. Because they go out there and give it their all with minimal recognition. It will make their day if you stand up and holler like a blithering idiot.
Give the gift of creativity to someone in your life who loves to draw/sew/paint/sculpt/play music. Seriously. Randomly show up at your friend’s house with a fistful of paint brushes. They will go ape shit.
Sit in a sunbeam. Take a nap while you do it. You’ll thank me for it.
Go love on your cat or dog. Tell them they’re a good boy/girl. Because they are.
Curl up under a blanket and re-read your favorite book for the 90th time. Books are our friends and it’s OK to revisit an old friend.
Sit on the beach and listen to the waves. Turn the radio off. Why on earth would you listen to music at the beach? The only music you need is the water. And have a beer while you’re doing it. Corona Light with a lime wedge. And bury your feet in the sand. And apply sunscreen early and often.
Watch the rain and listen to the thunder and wait patiently for the sun to return. Because you need the rainy days to appreciate the sunny ones.
Go running. The distance doesn’t matter. Three feet or three miles. Just get your heart rate up.
Do one or more of those things. THOSE are the moments when you will feel close to me again. Otherwise? You’re just wasting your time.
* No, I’m not dying. Well, not today anyway. I’m still alive and kicking and not sick. It’s just that this last year has me thinking rather morbidly and I just had to light a candle for an old friend who has been taken off life support thanks to COVID-19. I feel like I needed to get this out there. Thanks for reading.