My death is inevitable, and there is a reasonable chance that someone I know will outlive me and have some interest in my passing. As such, these are my wishes for the treatment of my remains and memory upon my death and for a short time thereafter.
First and most importantly, I won’t be there, so it really doesn’t matter what I want. Take my corpse to Nags Head and parade me around like Terry Kiser, and I won’t know any different. But if you care what I wanted, here you go.
- No viewing. Don’t bother putting my dead body on display. I wasn’t all that great to look at when I was alive, and I seriously doubt I got better looking afterward. Personally, I think putting dead bodies on display is grotesque.
- No prayers, no platitudes, no religious balderdash. I’m not in a better place. My death wasn’t part of some divine plan. That’s all bullshit. As far as the universe is concerned, my death matters as much as a light bulb burning out. I was alive. Now I’m not.
- No obituaries. Don’t waste money announcing my death in the newspaper or anywhere else. Anyone who cares if I’m dead already knows.
- Keep things cheap. My remains don’t need a fancy headstone, casket, funeral service, or anything else. Dispose of them in the cheapest, simplest way possible. Use my bones, skin, corneas, and various organs if you can, and toss the rest in a landfill, for all I care. Cremation and resomation (alkaline hydrolysis) are probably the most cost-effective means of disposal. And for pete’s sake, don’t keep the leftovers. Throw them away.
- Throw a party, preferably somewhere you don’t have to clean up afterward. Have an open bar, and invite the handful of people who actually care that I’m dead. I doubt it would be more than a dozen people, plus my family.
- No eulogy. I’m gone, and any chance for my life to have mattered has come and gone. If you feel an uncontrollable desire to hear yourselves talk, here’s an activity for you: each person raises a toast to my memory, says one good thing about me, and one bad thing about me, and then everyone drinks. Both the good thing and the bad thing have to be sincere, and they have to be something no one else has said yet. If the person whose turn it is can’t think of one good thing and one bad thing, then they just say, “To Brandon!”, and everyone drinks.
- Try to find a place for my various pet projects before my web sites expire. I hereby declare everything I wrote during my life to be given to the public domain after my death, not that I think anyone actually cares about a word of it.
- If Susan’s dead, find a loving home for our cat. Use as much money as needed.