It’s no surprise that as we get older the topic of death rents a lot more real-estate in our head. We lose parents, friends, and sometimes even our children, with each of these deaths being held up like a mirror reflecting the inevitability of our own.
What we fear we give power.
Why not take it back?
Many of us talk about our “bucket list”. It’s the sexy portmanteau we stuff all the supposedly important things into on our journey to the end, generally cramming it chock full in our heads, but not always taking the time to get it down on paper and sorting it out to map the way. There are all kinds of fiddly bits hanging out: dreams of treks to exotic places, passionate love affairs rekindled with long lost souls, and maybe even writing the Great Canadian Novel. But it would likely be a cold day in hell before you heard the soundtrack from your own funeral trailing lovingly behind. Where on earth would be the fun in that?
While we’re blazing a trail to great adventures with ecclesiastical zeal, is it possible that in overlooking it — that celebration of the glorious end — we’re actually throwing away one of the most powerful tools of all? What if leaving a legacy started with knowing exactly what you hoped people would be saying about you in that colossal eulogy? What kind of person would you hope they’d say you’d been? What kinds of things would they celebrate your having done? And hell yes, while we’re at it, exactly what bloody music IS that playing while they’re all waxing poetic about the saga of your last (and ever so many more) days?
Do you honestly want to picture a bunch of people hunched together sobbing? Wouldn’t it be so much more epic to plan a wake to end all wakes, where people were laughing and spinning inspired tales about the awesomeness of what was gloriously -you- until the wee hours of the day? Hell yes, you would!
When you start at the end, you have to picture how it looks, and that tells you pretty much everything you need to know about what you have to do to get there.
And this is why it’s going on my bucket list, not last, but really very near the top. I will be planning my own funeral in a way that makes it a road map for exactly the kinds of adventures I need to be planning to fill the rest of my list with. Full stop.
It’s only morbid if we let it be, and far more powerful than you might ever imagine. (And wouldn’t it be so much more fun if the guy in the kilt was playing the theme song from “The Full Monty” on those bagpipes instead of another sorrowful round of “Amazing Grace”?)
Carpe diem, baby. You decide how it ends …
(Click here if you want to take a peek at my own “Wake Playlist” to get an idea about some of the tools you might use to discover and gather your music.)