Earlier this week this one person came in to make pre-arrangements for themselves. Pre-arrangements are funeral arrangements that are made before the time of death. They serve a couple a purposes, the main being making sure that your wishes are carried out and also so your family doesn’t have any real financial responsibility when you pass away.
People do it all the time. What really got me was the reason this person came in. You see, after their last doctor appointment they were told that they didn’t have anymore than a few months left. What will eventually kill them is not able to be operated on and is basically a ticking time bomb.
What would you do with that information?
Like seriously, what would you do?
Our own mortality is a strange thing because it appears that everyone else will die except for ourselves. I don’t know about you, but so far I’m planning on living forever, or at least having my body frozen until they can figure out how to stop ageing. I might change my mind tomorrow, but so far to me not dying sounds pretty good. It’s funny, really. I personally have such a logical grasp on life and death. I realize that everyday is precious, however when I stop and tell myself, “Lauren, one day you WILL die” it just seems so unreal. How do you deal with that? Sometimes, when I’m all alone and it’s really quiet I close my eyes and try to imagine that moment of my last breath. Now before you get all morbid on me, remember something. I’m devoting my whole life to death. Now really think about that last sentence. I’ll say it again. I’m devoting my whole life to death. I basically am trying to help people with something that I have yet to experience. I mean sure, I’ve lost people in my life, but what do I tell the mom who lost her son in a car accident? How do I ensure her that he didn’t suffer when I have no idea what he went though. You look to professionals for answers. If your car is broke you take it to the mechanic, they tell you what’s wrong and fix it. People come to funeral directors and a lot of time they want more answers then you’re able to give. So what do I do? I try to imagine dying. It never works. After that failed attempt, I try to remember a time when I wasn’t born, like the seventies. That doesn’t work either because I have knowledge of the seventies. Just because I wasn’t born doesn’t mean I can’t look at pictures and read books. So again, I’m back to square one.
Have I told you yet that I have a difficult job?
But I want to get back to our own mortality because I honestly feel it’s important. This particular person made a conscious decision to take the little time they had left and get everything in order for their family. That included their funeral arrangements. What a selfless act on their part. I mean, you hear it all the time. “What do you want to do before you die?” and “If you only had one day left to live what would you do?” A lot of time the answers to these questions are completely selfish. You’d most likely do things that would make you happy. Spend time with friends and family, or do something you’ve always wanted to do. And that’s okay, but that’s also selfish. And please don’t think I’m trying to portray “selfish” in a negative light in these cases, because I’m not. It’s your last days and you should do what you want. But you’re not thinking past your last days, and that’s the problem. After you die, your friends and family go on, without you. They have to pick up where you left off. This means going through your bills, bank statements and all that not so fun stuff. Did you even think of that? Well, you should have. And this person did. They took their precious time, sat down with a funeral director, and decided that when they die, they will have these services and the funeral will be paid this way. Their family doesn’t have to make any huge decisions or write any large checks. Instead, they can have the peace of mind knowing all is taken care of, and can grieve the way they need to grieve. That’s one awesome last gift if you ask me.
It’s never too early to start thinking about pre-arrangements. I’m twenty-two years old and everyday I think of another thing to add to my funeral. So far I have the pink casket, pink flowers and music picked out. And I’ll say it one more time. I’m not morbid. Because whether I die tomorrow or in eighty years whoever is in my life will go to my funeral and smile because the services will be exactly what I want and they’ll know that. Every aspect will remind them of the kind of person I was. I just hope I can have a pink hearse lined up for when the time comes. Then it’d be perfect.