Oct 06, 2023, 06:27AM

In the Event of My Untimely Death

Here’s how it’s gonna go.

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I finally got Covid and find myself wishing for death. Not trying to be dramatic, just jotting down a few notes because no one should have to be bothered with this bullshit when I die. None of us knows when we’re going to kick. I’ve always imagined or hoped that it’d be a quick heart attack or stroke, a one-and-done deal since our family has a history of those and no cancer or other long-suffering diseases through our lines of mostly impoverished Irish and Polish ancestors. You have to figure it’s an issue of economics; dying fast is simply cheaper.

Speaking of money, none will be spent on me. My anti-social nature means I don’t really have friends who need to swarm about at some funeral—any friends who put up with me are aware that I’m a recovering Catholic and for countless reasons shouldn’t be let into one of their guilt-filled, judgy buildings again. I did my time in Catholic school and although I do love a good Ave Maria for the namesake, I hate that gloom and doom organ music and never learned all the new mass responses.

Cremate me and throw my ashes illegally into the Chesapeake Bay off my home island; the pollution of my charred remains is the least that struggling rising-level body of water has to worry about.

My kids might have some very small memorial with 12 people, just an expansion of the Sunday dinners that were traditional during their childhoods: no phones at the table, we said grace once a week, it was a family meeting of sorts, the only time we knew the six of us would be together. So in lieu of a funeral they can have an expanded Sunday night dinner with maybe a handful of extra guests. I’ll probably put together a Spotify playlist but I already have one called “Gemini” that’s all my favorite songs, I just need to add Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman” which is the song I always told them to play at my funeral.

Anyone who wants to remember me can read my work from this website where I’ve been writing for 13 years. One of these days, if I survive Covid, I’m going to collect my favorite articles from my old print Quite Contrary newspaper column and at Splice into a book of that name. I think the thing my publisher has liked about me best over the years besides perhaps modest consistency is my willingness to admit that I might not be the shittiest writer alive but I’m definitely not the best, hence protecting me from perhaps that most horrifically annoying quality possessed by too many writers: the unearned over-inflated ego.

Anyway, back to my rambling obituary. I wasn’t the best or worst mom either: the kids could’ve done better or worse. My husband definitely could’ve landed a better wife; his turned out to not even be straight, but I loved him and our kids the best way I knew how. I think everyone in my life knew that I was the kind of person who’d kill or die for you. I think it’s what disappointed me about a lot of people I encountered: that they weren’t also that kind of person. I had to learn not to take that personally; a tough lesson.

If you look at your life through a Clarence lens, did you make a difference? That is to say, in my favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, the angel Clarence lets Jimmy Stewart’s character George Bailey see what the world would’ve been like had he never been born. What would change in the world if I’d never been born? Definitely the four incredible humans I’ve raised. I think we’re all cogs in a larger wheel. Anyway, be sure to have cheesesteaks on Amoroso rolls, Jack and Diet, and some Red Velvet Smith Island cake at my little Sunday night non-funeral. As you probably know, I’m planning to haunt the hell out of everyone, but I’ll be a pretty amicable poltergeist.


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