I am always ready to die.
My mom died when I was thirteen years old and so I KNOW PEOPLE CAN DIE. They are here and they they are not. Each time I got pregnant, even the miscarriage, I gave that tiny, tiny life right back to God in prayers, thanking Him for the gift of this life. I think that might be my most used prayer for my girls, for John, for my friends and family; “Thank You”, second only to “Please keep them safe”. I know the small daily joys of my life could be fleeting.
My husband chuckles often, embarrassed at how much I say to him about my love for him. I think he likes hearing my appreciation of him, the value, strength, wisdom and love I see in him, but it also makes him feel...something else.
In the event of my death I want to be certain John knows my heart for him absolutely. So I keep telling him. I do the same for the girls. I tell them I love them, I am lucky to be their Mama. I tell them God loves them. I tell them they are beautiful and smart and kind and brave. I speak into their little lives everything I can when I am not yelling at them, ignoring them, absorbed in my own silly, shallow wants and needs.
The drudge of laundry and dishes and the mundane details of caring for tiny children were disrupted the other day. A simple text from my Dad, letting me know one of my many ‘Mothers,’ Sandra Winicur, had passed away. The service, he texted, was that same day. I took the news in stride, then fell apart in tears. I have great friends who took my children in. I dressed beautifully and went to a Jewish temple. I hugged old friends, cried. At the graveside service, Jewish tradition invites the mourners to shovel up dirt and pile it into the grave. The Rabbi said it is the one service a person cannot repay. I didn’t shovel, but I watched, prayed and mourned.
My friend’s daughter, Paula stood watching too. Her husband held her and they looked so beautiful I took a picture, déclassé of me as it may have been. It was so bittersweet I needed to keep that memory and later offer it to Paula. If you have someone to hold you in your grief and your joy, you are beyond blessed. God holds you, whether you believe in Him or not. He believes in you, holds you, loves you. Sometimes by using just people.
Then the Horrible happened. The Sandy Hook Elementary shooting the same week. My heart was broken each time I stumbled across memorials here in Valparaiso Indiana, specifically for the children killed. I cannot understand it and my little brain won’t let me think on it much. I already know all life is fleeting. My heart is already broken.
These sad days made me think about my own death. I wanted you to know some things, in the event of my untimely death. I needed to write them down and tell you the following:
1) I want to be cremated, then scattered near our cabin in Estes Park, maybe in Europe where I may never visit and Lake Michigan. Plus if there is someone who is a jerk to you and would be freaked out about it, feel free to toss a tablespoon their way, aiming for the face. My ashes will NOT be sacred, trust me! A gravestone somewhere would be great, so family would have a place to go if they wanted. I’m grateful for my Mom’s cemetery spot in Sterling, Colorado.
2) There had better be rocking music and or course some wake-worthy booze. I have brought many a bottle to funerals to help out my friends. I would say cheap champagne at least, apricot brandy (Jean!) and of course my Dad’s flask. (Yes Jen & Jean, I will expect you to shmoke a square for me.) (No that isn’t lingo for drugs, just the good old fashioned tobacco we’ve all matured enough to give up but still somedays miss.)
3) If there are not A LOT of folks there at my services and really upset, I will come back and haunt you people. I have worked hard to be awesome since seventh grade. I expect results.
4) I’d like crazy fabulousness in attire. Feather boas, glitter, lots of red instead of traditional black. I felt trollopy at Sandra’s graveside, there is me, in a sea of somber winter coats in my lipstick-red-full-length-down-parka with a fur trimmed hood. Ummmm embarrassing but still, so very moi. So please wear red like normal folks wear black. (OR that marvelous Turquoise I love. My Ya Ya Jenny sure wears both together well!) Wear that Wonderful Thing you cannot seem to wear anywhere else...full length or flannel just tell them you are wearing it for Heather. Yep. That would be AWESOME.
5) If you prefer, donate moolah to any charity you love. Or do something pampering for yourself like a pedicure instead of buying flowers or donating if you need to. Most of you NEED to! Of course I’d like wildflowers or houseplants, and the excess after a
Most importantly, know that I lived WELL. Sure I make mistakes and have some small regrets. But overall, to this day, I live life as if it is fleeting, I love folks to the best of my ability and I cherish my days more often than not. I am so grateful to God for grabbing me by the heart and opening my eyes to living for him. Many of you know becoming a Christ Follower was a big jump for me. I have never preached at you about Heaven or Hell, I respect differences in belief and I know God can find you and your heart anywhere.
In the event of my death, or right this very minute, I DARE YOU to find a bible, even online. Maybe read something from Ephesians, my favorite book and where I started reading. I challenge you to challenge God to show up in your life. Dare Him. I did. I said to him "I do not have faith but I would like to. If you are real, I would like to believe in you." I felt Him show up. You might not. But I dare you to start the conversation. Call him 'Phil’ like writer Anne Lamott does. Call him 'Ol Padnah' like I do, from Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood. Find your own name or just call her God. Read The Shack for my picture of God. Forget the ugliness you see in some Christian people. All of you, all of us, are ugly too. Forget the judgment and religion, just have an honest chat with God...He loves you and thinks YOU are awesome. And so do I.
Maybe I will live to 86 years old, maybe I will die sweetly in my sleep. Maybe I’ll die in a car accident tomorrow. Regardless of when, "In the Event of My Death", I will have lived well. I will have known Joy and been loved by God through many, many friends, family and strangers. Thank you, each of you. And Live Well. TODAY. God bless you.
What one thing do you want people to know about you, in the event of your death? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this weighty tome of a blog post. Please. Don’t leave me all vulnerable and hanging. I got tons of comments on my Fat Fanny, Skinny Jeans Post....please show this one some love!