Saturday, April 9, 2011

Last Rights: My Funeral Demands

A friend was telling me about a memorial service she went to recently, for a man she had worked with who had been like a mentor to her. At the service, she ran into a mutual acquaintance, before then they had never realized they both knew the deceased. It brought home to her the beauty of all these people from disparate parts of the man’s life, coming together to honor him and pay tribute to a life well lived. And what could have been a sad and terrible situation took on a tone of affirmation and a celebration of his life.

At the risk of being morbid (and selfish), it made me think of what I would want my memorial service to be like. Here are my rules - if you don’t follow them, I promise not to haunt you but maybe a little.

Rules and requests for my funeral/memorial service:

Wear red. And big hats.

Tell outrageous stories about me, even if you have to make some parts up.


Play music. Wild Horses and You Can’t Always Get What You Want* by the Rolling Stones are nice, and as a special request on the part of the deceased, please play B. Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young.” I figure it works both ways.

Have fun.

Drink whiskey (the good stuff).

Remember me as the person I hoped I would be. (and your mental image of me should be on a good hair day)

Eat food that’s really bad for you. Maybe In n Out Burger could cater.

Write such a glowing eulogy/obituary about me that the Vatican will consider me for sainthood.

Bring your pets.

Do a reading of anything written by David Sedaris.

Run with scissors (optional).

And by god, there will be dancing. I may even insist on a drag show, and a DJ. The dress code would be high camp. Or, we could just make it a costume party .. .stay tuned.

Maybe funerals wouldn’t get such a bad rap if they had an event planner involved. I am taking suggestions for what to call this event, such as The Memorial Hoopla Extravaganza Celebration of Life-apalooza or something nice and simple like that. Feel free to post your suggestions.

* Some of you will recognize the Big Chill funeral scene reference. That scene featuring of course Kevin Costner’s wrists. I think his career is dead, despite supposedly being cast in the next Batman movie, but that’s a post for another day.

PS - if you'd like to read a statement about the man I referenced in the first paragraph, his name was Richard Pierre Claude and he worked for the organization Physicians for Human Rights, which does important work around the world. We should all have something this nice written about us when we pass, and have left as much of a mark on the world -


  1. Correction - Costner was cast in the new Superman, not Batman. As Pa Kent.

  2. I think you should demand that David Sedaris attend, with The Rooster. You still have time to amend this document - Jackie Childs hasn't notarized it yet, has he?

  3. good idea on Sedaris - do you think it would be legally binding that he attend? Jackie Childs would make it so. I was disappointed that at the recent reading, no one asked about the Rooster!

  4. I'll have to pass on the whiskey since I almost killed myself drinking it one night at the age of 19.