Now, you may think I'm picking this because of it being the 10th anniversary of 9/11. You'd be wrong if that's what you're thinking.
First off, I saw enough TV footage of 9/11 when it happened. I don't need to see anymore. Second, 9/11 has gone from a day of mourning to a public spectacle and scheme to manipulate the public to sacrifice more & more of their civil liberties.
The terrorists have already won this fight so stop deluding yourself by thinking invasive searches at airports are keeping you safe; they aren't. Not to mention, you have zero credibility with me in security discussions if you are pro-illegal immigration and don't support sealing the borders. I'm shocked that I'm the only person who's made this link or that it's not occurred to anyone else that harboring illegals from other nations isn't smart. If you support measures to "keep us safe," you should also support border sealing & evicting illegals (particularly those who commit crimes like identity theft or failure to carry insurance as well as murder, sexual assault, or other "more serious" crimes) considering you're a prisoner in your own country unless you're rich.
Third, if you lost family or friends on that day, I think you should get to mourn in private instead of having the media/society at large hijack & exploit the day. I don't need a public spectacle to mourn my loved ones or show I cared, thanks. Plus, public spectacles don't bring people back & people have different ways of grieving. There's no one right or wrong involved in it.
So, while I didn't pick this topic with 9/11 in mind it did remind me of particular issues that bother me when it comes to death:
Right near my house, there's a cemetery at the side of a busy, well traveled road. For some mysterious reason, the city decided to put speed bumps in the middle of the street near this cemetery to cut down on speeding. I think it's terribly asinine.
Why on Earth do you think dead people give a damn about people speeding along on the road? First off, the people buried aren't your loved ones. Their spirits are long gone. Second, if I'm dead I wouldn't give a shit if you sped past my final resting place. I'd want you to speed in fact. Finally, if you're not using my remains for cleaning or fornicating with them any "respect" argument is a wash in my book. I'm GONE, damn it! I DON'T CARE!!!!! Get that through your head.
I've personally experienced death far more than your average person my age. I've lost an infant niece, a 21 year old brother in law, numerous aunts and uncles, a grandmother, my mom's co-workers & school classmates. The deaths that really hit home were my brother in law & niece since they were part of my immediate family, which had largely been untouched by death despite the loss of aunts, uncles & my grandmother through my childhood & even today. I've been to a number of funerals and wakes so I certainly have more backing on this than most people.
Did you know that it costs a LOT of money to bury someone? My brother in law's funeral in total was about $10,000. Did you also know that many graveyards are segregated? I learned that in NC, there are "black cemeteries" vs. "white cemeteries." Apparently, this is some type of norm in places though I don't know about other regions.
These two issues are a major bother for me. I want someone to spend money on me when I'm alive vs. when I'm dead. In fact, I would be pissed at people spending a bunch of money on me when I'm dead. The money you spend on flowers, headstones, paying morticians, etc. would be better off going to some charity I cared about or to anyone left behind. I'd even prefer you spend that money on something fun for yourself since you only get one life & you'd better live each day to the fullest.
I also like the idea of funeral as celebration. Most of the funerals I went to were sad, crying, tragic scenes. There was only one I went to that wasn't this & it was for a black co-worker of my mother's who'd been diagnosed with cancer and ended up going pretty quickly after that. White people are way too big on the tragedy aspect. I'd rather people told happier stories about me: at my late brother in law's funeral, I remembered an inside joke we had when we'd traveled to NY while I was considering law schools. I also felt good that he'd gotten to go to NY and travel because of me. My sister was stuck to this man like glue at the time and I didn't want to go on the trip with just me and my mother since I felt we'd end up fighting way too much. His father had objected to him going but I told my sister that I'd personally go accuse the man of trying to ruin my future if he didn't let his son go since that's precisely what I felt he'd be trying to do since if his son didn't go, my sister wouldn't go. Plus, my mother said she felt better having "a man" along on the 10-12 hour road trip.
I also insist on being cremated for as cheaply as possible. Even if it has to be done at home since I refuse to have someone pay $10,000 for my body disposal. Waste of money, considering I hear cremation is just as much as burial. Plus, considering I'm not a racist I hate the idea of being placed in a segregated graveyard since that would be contrary to how I lived my life and treated others. I'm also an organ donor so I don't care about pretty little cosmetic garbage that some people do. No religious person I know has ever believed that you must be buried with all your organs intact or you'll go to Hell. You'd be seen as a wacko at best & unchristian at worst.
My family members have been warned that they'll be haunted for eternity if they violate my wishes & especially if they ever left me on life support for a bunch of years.
I'm not as concerned with eulogies but I'd rather it was people who knew me telling their own stories and sharing happy memories. I don't want someone who could care less about me or who didn't know a thing about me giving a eulogy. I want specification. One thing I wish had been mentioned at my brother in law's funeral but wasn't was the fact that he never used his heart condition to elicit pity or get special privileges. You'd never even know he had it unless he told you.
I can't stand people who use physical handicaps to beg for money on subways & it really pisses me off considering you never saw my late brother in law doing that. You'd never see my current brother in law doing that either! That's a whole other soapbox that I think I've discussed before but I think there's a strength of character in someone who doesn't have an entitlement complex because of physical or mental maladies.
You are more than welcome to have sex if bereaved by my death; I encourage it, in fact. Don't feel guilty! You can also take drugs as long as you don't use my ashes to get high. When I experienced these close losses, I went out the night of the news since I couldn't stay at home. With my late brother in law, I went to karaoke so I'd be around friends (or I'd have been all alone) & with my niece, my husband & I went to a comedy club we go to on occasion but did so discreetly. Get drunk (unless you're an alcoholic or tend to inflict pain on others when drunk), do what you have to in order to process it. Again, no right or wrong way to deal with grief.
Finally, I want no religious aspects to my funeral. Don't make people pray or feel uncomfortable by being in a church. Someplace that welcomes all people is the way to go in dealing with a venue for when I'm dead & gone. Even better if it's just gathering at someone's house to talk about me. Doing less is tacky and lame to people who cared & don't fit some societal conceit of "normal" or a "perfect" person.
I strongly agree with that notion that funerals aren't for the dead, they are for the living. The best way to honor me would be to stand up for yourself, take control of your own life and doing what will make you happy vs. settling for things that don't. I'd feel truly honored if someone did something difficult or took a risk because of something I did and my being who I am vs. building a shrine or putting in speed bumps right next to my final resting place. Graves end up eventually getting ignored & neglected anyway so I don't see a point to having one myself when I'm dead. Appease the living? I haven't worried about anyone else's opinions on what I do thus far so why should I care when I'm dead?