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delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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In case of death, please consult a mortician
I sometimes wish that I could die without having the inconvenient "being dead" part that inevitably seems to come after. Or to be more accurate, I wish that I could be around to witness the effects caused by my death.

For starters, I'd like to see how different people would grieve for me and mourn my loss. Would any people who I am very close to just shrug and move on as if nothing has happened? Would any people who I haven't spoken to in three years be completely devastated and struck down with regret at not keeping in touch with me better?

One thing I've thought about is what I'd like to happen to my LJ when I die. I think what I want is for this journal to have the "dead person" flag set, which I believe means that no furhter entries or comments can be made, and it's flagged to never be deeted. I would then like for someone who I trust (which could be any one from a possible many) to create a memorial comm, where people could leave comments in rememberance. I'd love to be able to read those comments. I'd love to be able to see what people would say about me when I wasn't there any more, and to see which memories they have of me that really stick out in their minds.

I want to be able to attend my own funeral, for much the same reason. Who would turn up? Who wouldn't turn up? What would people say when eulogising me? Who would be the ones in tears, and who would be the ones trying to console them? Would any people I know from different parts of my life meet at my funeral and form lasting friendships? Relationships? I think I'd like a non-traditional funeral. Strictly no black clothing allowed; it's just too cliche. For music, I think I'd like REM's Shiny Happy People and Monty Python's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. I wonder which people at my funeral would just be more upset by that choice of music, and which would understand the choice, trying to see the event as a celebration rather than a time of grief.

I think that if I know I'm going to die a reasonable length of time before I actually do die, I'm going to write a bunch of personal notes to all sorts of different people, with things that I don't think I could tell them in life for whatever reason.

Even after everything that happened, I still love you.
It's OK. I forgive you.
I mistreated you. I'm sorry.

Only in more detail than that, obviously. I'd love to see how people would react to that sort of note.

I'd also want to try to give people advice, of the sort that I wouldn't normally give because I'd feel like I was butting in:

Try to forgive her and make your peace
Go for it; you'll regret it if you don't
You two would make the perfect couple and everyone realises it but you. Get together already

Would people pay any attention to me, if I did? If I tried giving that sort of advice in life, probably the best I could hope for is to have eyes rolled at me. Would it be different if I was dead? Would people think differently of it if it was somethig I'd thought important enough to mention among my dying words? If it came across as from all my experiences in life, here is the one most important bit of advice I could offer you"? Maybe. I suspect that I would if it happened to me in reverse. I'd like to be able to see that. If I am to die, I would like to think that I could do some good in the process.

Then there are the totally random requests that I'd like to make of people:

Cut your hair short!
Go skydiving to raise money for charity!

(And you two can probably figure out who you are, but shh)

Just totally random things that for no discernible reason I want people who I know to do. If I randomly suggested to you that you dye your hair bright pink, you'd probably give me a funny look and tell me to sod off (with the exception of the few of you who are prone to do things like that anyway without my intervention). If I was dead, and told you that my last wish was for you to dye your hair bright pink, I wonder if you'd be more inclined to do it?

I wonder how far I could go with the random. How much currency would "I'm dead and this was my last wish" give me? I was thinking that I could make some totally random wishes for how my funeral should be. Possibly something along the lines of requiring that all males to attend must come in drag, and all females to attend must have shaved heads. Or possibly I should just require that all people come with shaved heads ad wearing a dress, to be more egalitarian. I do wonder if people would go along with it.

On the one hand, I'd look at it and say "Someone I was close to died. That's far worse than being bald for a little while and waiting a couple of years for my hair to grow back." but on the other hand, I'd say "Well sure, but they're still gone regardless of what I do with my hair, so I'll keep it as is, thank you."

I'd certainly like to be able to see how people reacted to it if it was an actual situation rather tha a hypothetical one. It would be interesting to know what the effects of making it compulsory would be as opposed to making it optional but encouraged. Would there be people who wouldn't show up if it was compusory, but who would show up and go along with it if it was only encouraged? Or maybe if it was only encouraged nobody at al would go along with it.

I'm very curious as to what it is about death which would potentially give someone's requests more weight. I'm fairly sure that for most of my friends, if they died and left as a last wish that I do something, I would try to honour the request, almost no matter what it was. But at the same time, I know that if they requested random stuff of me whe they were still alive, I'd be much less likely to go along with it. Why is this? It doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. Wouldn't it be more sensible to carry out the random whims of friends when they were still alive so that they could fully appreciate them?

I don't know. This probably requires more thought, but I've been writing this for a while and my brain is starting to switch off, so I thin I'm just going to post.

(Oh, and just in case anyone is wondering: no, I haven't been diagnosed with any fatal disease, and no I'm not planning on committing suicide. I'm just a morbid little sod.)

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For music, I think I'd like REM's Shiny Happy People and Monty Python's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.

I was watching a random episode of Vee TV recently, the general subject being all things music[1]. A random on-screen statistic gave ALOTBSOL as one of the n most currently popular pieces of music for funerals in the UK, for alarmingly small (like, <5) values of n.

Google confirms (for BBC news value of comfirms) it: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4335857.stm

So yes, I get to call you cliched and generally uncool, but think of it as pre-emptive revenge for inflicting Shiny Happy People on us :>

[1] which was of course both admirable and cringeworthy, in equal doses, for the obvious reasons.

I have some private posts containing info about people very close to me. And I intend when I die for my journal's password to be given to motyl, whom I trust to either share or not share that info with the parties as she things would be most helpful. My password is obtainable by my lothario, as he hosts the server my email is on, but I trust him not to access my account while I am alive.

I do not want the memorial setting, because then no one can log into the account. But I do want my account left up.

I will not shave my hair for you. Whenever my hair is short, I look wrong to myself. It makes me highly uncomfortable to look in mirrors when I have short hair. I don't think you really want me feeling uncomfortable with my own body for a year or so just because you died. But please don't die.

Or to be more accurate, I wish that I could be around to witness the effects caused by my death.

Oh, good, I'm not the only one.

You and my maternal grandmother would get along well. She keeps sending me letters talking about her funeral and stuff.

I sometimes wonder if anyone would miss me.. or notice I was gone. But these are dismal, melancholy thoughts and I try not to have them too often.

Still, it would be nice to have a case of 'death' without the dying, just to see how the world might change, or not, with your passing. Maybe with a trial run, we'd know how to make the right changes before we die, to make sure we left more of a mark of people's lives - if not to make them miss us (selfish creatures that we are), but at least to know that after we're gone, we at least did something worth remembering.

A legacy, I suppose. I really need to get started on mine, beyond the initial 'what should it be?'

Now and then I'll fritter away some time by thinking about who I'd haunt after I was gone, if such a thing were possible. And about whether they'd like it. It would be quite friendly haunting, but I imagine some people would be very disconcerted by that sort of thing. Even if I found their lost earrings and ghosted them back into the drawer and whatnot.

I don't think this is morbid, I think it's a really interesting speculation. Because thinking about how people would remember you after your death impacts on how you want to live your life, how you want to be perceived. And I think it's a really good idea to consider what you would say to people if you knew you only had one more chance; maybe some of those things you should say anyway.

I think last requests have more weight precisely because they're final. Someone who knows they are going to die soon is probably going to concentrate on saying the important things, things they really care about, because they know they're not going to get any more opportunities. Also I guess the not having to face the consequences of giving unpopular advice.

However, I think if someone did decide to make really frivolous last wishes just to screw with people, people would notice that and would be a lot less inclined to carry out the wishes. I wouldn't shave my head for you. Firstly because I am ridiculously emotionally attached to my long hair (it would probably take more like 5 years to grow back than 2, in my case). I would miss your funeral rather than be unhappy with my self-image for several years, sorry. But also I wouldn't do it because it's expressly prohibited in Judaism to cut one's hair in memory of a dead person, because this is reminiscent of pagan sacrificial practices.

I read an article about a guy who found out he was dying and spent his last six months contacting everyone he'd ever interacted with, telling them how much they meant to him and anything else he needed to say, and saying goodbye. He started by writing over a thousand emails saying things like, I really enjoyed the presentation you gave when my company was negotiating with yours (he was some kind of big-shot CEO). And a few hundred paper letters to people he'd enjoyed spending time with on a more personal level but wasn't close to. And last telephone calls to everyone he wanted to say goodbye to. Last meals or weekends together with his good friends. A final family reunion with his kids and grandkids. Then he was left to spend his last few weeks saying goodbye to his wife, knowing he'd said everything he needed to say. I thought that was really admirable; if I got a few months' notice I'd try to do something like that.

I wish that I could be around to witness the effects caused by my death.

Same here.

As far as doing as requested by a dying wish, I think I'd probably be unlikely do do anything I wouldn't normally do. Turning up a funeral in drag isn't really me. I might shave my head though.

I wonder how news of my death would get out. There is no overlap between my family and local-friends and my mainly online and distant friends. Would someone notice I'd not been on IRC for a while and wasn't answering the 'phone?

It's an interesting line of thought. Of course, there's a very mischevious part of me that says "Say all that stuff while you're still alive." I think that would be my wish, "Talk to each other, and really really listen to each other."

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