Sunday, November 16, 2008

What If They Gave You A Funeral And No One Came?

"Is it so wrong to want a great turnout at your final bon voyage?"

I'm wondering about this while sitting on the sand at Venice Beach, California this morning. Mark and I had taken a nice Sunday morning stroll down the beach from where we live and happened upon a large seated crowd right on the sand. There was maybe two hundred people or so, mostly dressed in white, everyone had flowers in their hands and gorgeous flute music was being played as we approached.

So thinking that this was some kind of groovy spiritual happening (they occur all the time around here) we plopped ourselves right on down. It was a mellow group and there seemed to be a lovely vibe in the air. I was really letting myself get into it- not really knowing what it was exactly. Then I saw that someone had a program. Good, I thought to myself, as I asked the guy if I could look at it. Now I can find out who this gangs guru is and get a handle on what's happening.

Well it turns out that we had just crashed some wonderful (well she sure sounded wonderful) woman named Rosie's memorial service. This gal had passed away from some awful disease way before her time at age 44.

Now, as the waves crashed and the flute played and people weeped and others looked at me and smiled that kind of "wasn't she wonderful smile?" to which I beamed back-- "Oh God yes, what a woman that Rosie", a bombardment of thoughts began to take over...

Should we stay? What exactly is the protocol after you realize that you have crashed a funeral? Should we remain out of respect- or is more proper to pick up and high tail it out of there? And If we did choose this option, just how do we do it gracefully without drawing attention to ourselves? I mean who up and leaves a perfectly nice funeral just as it has begun?

(and now this next go round of thoughts really gave me pause) would I get a nice sized crowd at my funeral? Who would come exactly, how many, what would they say? Could I get a nice beach scene and flute player too? Who would organize the whole thing? Certainly not Mark, ( who, bless him, is just sooo not a detail oriented guy!)

The questions kept on rolling in as I looked around the grieving crowd. I mean jeez, two hundred close friends and family all dressed in white at the beach. Now this was one impressive turnout indeed. Not only that but they genuinely all seemed to just love this Rosie.

Then the eulogies began--

Now I know that at memorial services even the nastiest people ( while alive) seem to gain a saint-like stature. The biggest creeps seem to get glowing references when dead.

But Rosie, wow they really seemed to all love her so deeply and they spoke with such seemingly heartfelt earnestness, that the next go- round of thoughts began.

(Meanwhile, Mark had somehow figured out what was going on and escaped un-noticed from the crowd. I had no idea where he now was. ) So I stayed for a bit, as I was quite fascinated watching person after person awaiting their turn to sing Rosie's praises.

Now, not only was I spinning out on who would get me a happening funeral and run it properly. (I like the beach, flute, all dressed in white theme...)
but I was actually also:
A) bothered that I never met Rosie- seemed like a hell of a gal. What a bummer to discover someone terrific when it's too late.
B) (and this is really indicitive of my mental health- or lack thereof) I found myself actually getting jealous of Rosie's service!

I mean who does that? Who but me could actualy get jealous of a deceased woman???

It was obviously time for me to go- and so, as inconspicuously as I could, ( luckily we were sitting towards the back) I slinked quietly away.

Mark did promise me (after much discussion) that my funeral would be terrific too- assuming I go first and that he would definately get someone to handle the details. And I told him that it better be good because I would without a doubt be watching from the wings( who knows, maybe I'd even have some!) and if it wasn't up to par, he could expect a good haunting for a long time to come!

I guess the moral of this story for me is that - if you really want a rocking funeral with everyone simply raving about your live self- you best go about earning it while still living. I don't want no posers at my service.

And to Rosie who I never met but really wish I had: Well done girl! I hope that you got the chance to see how very loved you were and still are! I pray you are playing happily in the waves at heavens #1 beach spot. May I touch as many souls as you obviously did in your way too short sojourn here on Earth. And lastly, I ask your forgiveness for coveting your funeral-It sure was a great one though.

Whoa, what a day...

Till next time my beautiful blogger/blogees,

just love,



roar rah said...

You know. I've secretly wanted a banging funeral as well. Not one that was weepy and melancholy, but full of joy and laughter. Here here! To our funerals, may they be wonderful and rejoiced!

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Michael said...

Dear Patrice,

That was an awesome story. By looking at the title, I thought at first that you would be talking about your own funeral at great lengths, but I was pleasantly mistaken. Not that you, yourself, are unpleasant, but the tale of Rosie's funeral you've eloquently written is simple, but touching.

I've thought about who would be there on my wedding day, in the hospital to welcome my future children to the world, and mourning me at my funeral. I always cry when I think about what my friends and family will say after I've passed away and even though I personally do not believe in ghosts/spirits, I would really appreciate the opportunity to attend my funeral, haunt my close ones and listen to their words of love that celebrate my character.

Hope you and Mark are doing well, Patrice!


Small Footprints said...

Wow ... what an experience. Imagine ... Rosie not only touched those 200 people ... she touched you and everyone who reads your blog, as well.

Great post. I hope you don't mind but I'm going to follow you and add you to my blog roll.

Take Care!

Small Footprints

billybblogger said...

Dear Patrice
I am new at Blogging so for what it is worth I really enjoy your blog.
As far as funerals and death go if we could only learn to live for today that day will take care of itself.

Julieanne Paige said...

Hi Patrice

I had to giggle when I read that as my Mum said the same thing after returning from a funeral that had so many people at and so many nice things to say about him. She was a little envious herself which sounds a little strange but it did cause her to think about who might be at her funeral and what they might say.

There are a lot of people that say writing your own obituary is a very healing thing to do. I haven't been there yet but I do hope that I touch as many lives as Rosie seems to have done.

Speak soon!