Back to the death thing, I’m going to repeat myself in case my mention of puppies distracted you, YOU WILL DIE SOMEDAY. It may not be today, although it could be, it may not be tomorrow, although it could be, but you will die. Are you ready for that? I don’t mean in the spiritual, emotional, or religious sense. I mean, are you financially ready for that? Do you know what you want to be done with your remains? Does your family? Your best friend? Your partner? Do you have a Power of Attorney? What about an Executor? Did you know there are Death Doulas now who can help assist you or someone you love with their final plans?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions, you are amazing. If you answered ‘no’, that’s OK too. You’re in luck, you can literally make a death plan right now. For starters, by choosing a prepaid funeral plan to make sure your family does not have to pay for any of the funeral expenses. You can even choose packages based on the service you wish to be provided at your funeral. (Be sure to check what your Country/State/Province needs in order to make any such death plans legal. Because I’m not an expert, I don’t even pretend to be one on the internet.)
Death isn’t a fun subject. When I sat down and really thought about this article, I thought for sure my idea would be hated. Happily, Team Normal supported my morbid article with a ton of encouragement and love (naturally, because Team Normal is the best).
So here’s the deal, simply telling someone what you want for your remains and estate isn’t enough. My best friend in the entire world wants a Viking funeral. She wants the boat, the flaming arrow, all of it. I know this. We’ve spoken at length about what we want when we die (we’re both morbid control freaks) but me knowing what she wants and that actually happening are two totally different things.
Also, I can’t actually put her body on a boat and light it on fire (I know because I looked it up), so we compromised, and her cremains will be set aflame left to drift until she sinks. But, that’s an important thing, KNOWING the legality of someone’s last wishes and making sure they’re OK with any substitutions while they’re still living.
(Was there a better gif I could have used here? Sure. But none of them had Tobias in it and as you know, we’re a little Tobiased around here.)
So, how does one go about making a death plan? I recommend starting off with a big glass of something boozy and sitting down alone to think it out and write it out. Start by identifying your legal next of kin. For me, that would be my husband. If he and I go together than my parents would be the next up. My BFF would also be a part of making sure my death plan is followed. Send them all an email or a letter with everyone’s contact information and be sure to include your death plan and where they can find all your important documents as well (birth certificate, marriage certificate, social security card, deed to your house, secret porn collection, etc.). Include your Power of Attorney, your Executor, and your lawyer (if you have any of those). Clearly, you want the people you choose to be a part of your death plan to be trustworthy people.
Next, you’ll want to really think about what you want as far as a funeral service, wake, viewing, or memorial. For myself, I know I do not want a traditional church funeral. I don’t really care so much about the location, it could be at my local American Legion for all I care, I just don’t want it at a church. I want a memorial party. I want my favorite music played, my favorite foods served, and lots of drinks. Nothing sad and depressing, there will be time for mourning later, I want my life celebrated. I absolutely DO NOT want my body on display.
Which brings us to the next bit of business, your corpse. What do you want done with your body? This is where you’ll probably start feeling super uncomfortable. No one wants to think about the best way to dispose of their body. But, like all organic living things, we don’t just disappear in a cloudy poof of fairy dust when we die. I encourage everyone to research all the different options available to your corpse for disposal.
Did you know, you can donate your body to science? But you need to look into your state laws and where you want your body donated to. Also, come up with a plan B because depending on what killed you, the lab may not want your corpse. You can opt for a direct cremation with no embalming and no casket. You can be buried in a natural cemetery where your unembalmed body can decay naturally within the ground. You can opt to be cryogenically frozen (but that’s SUPER expensive). If you want to be cremated, what do you want done with your cremains? Viking funeral? Put in a firework and exploded in the sky? Put in jewelry for your loved ones to wear? There are so many options these days, so once again, DO YOUR RESEARCH!
Everyone in my family knows I want a direct cremation with my ashes put into a cement ball and then planted in the coral reef so that I get to spend eternity with the sharks and that if they get me embalmed I will Poltergiest them and their loved ones for eternity.
No one likes to sit around talking about their death or their loved ones dying. It’s perfectly normal to feel squeamish and want to avoid it. But let me tell you all something that is worse than feeling squeamish, feeling as though you have let your loved one down because they didn’t get what they wanted. That feeling will hang over you and haunt every memory you have with of your loved one. Trust me on this, sadly I have first-hand experience on this one.
And with that last line being the heaviest part out of an entire article on developing your death plan, I will leave you to do some important thinking/soul searching.