"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Saturday, January 03, 2009

WHAT WILL BE IN YOUR COFFIN?

Our special friend, John F., died earlier this week. He was 67.

John lived at the local nursing home for the past 15 years, so that means he was roughly my age -- a mere 52 -- when he went to the nursing home to live.

And to the extent someone can "live" at a nursing home, John certainly made the most of it. He had, you might say, the gift for gab. He was a member of our local United Methodist church, the United Methodist Men, and enjoyed attending adult Sunday School. He was the first "Resident of the Month" at the nursing home. John loved birds, braunschweiger (which was not on his restricted diet, but we helped him sneak it in on occasion), peanut butter, and ketchup. 

How fitting, then, that he was buried with a bottle of ketchup at his left hand, a jar of peanut butter nestled against his right arm. Anyone who knew John had to smile knowingly -- perhaps even chuckle -  when they paid their final respects. Oh, and John -- a fanatic about time -- was, appropriately, still wearing his watch...the timepiece still tick,tick, ticking away ...such a stark, bittersweet contrast with the once talkative and gregarious John now so still and silent.

The whole scenario was certainly a stinging reminder that time stops for no one, so better make the most of the life you have, of the time you have left,  whatever hand life has dealt you. 

And I pondered awhile after the visitation just what symbolic treasures my husband and son  might think to bury along with me when I go. My bottle of Prozac? My bulging makeup bag?(I'm a Walgreens health-and-beauty aids addict.) My refrigerator magnets that proclaim "The Queen Doesn't Cook",  "Martha Stewart Doesn't Live Here",  and  "I'm Out Of Estrogen  And I Have A Gun"? A copy of "Dieting For Dummies"?

I'd like to think my  lifelong friends who have known me since back in the day might try to sneak an old high school yearbook,  a bottle of  pre-mixed Margaritas or a Love Shack CD under my pillow. 

I don't expect anyone, however, to slide a Bible, a cookbook or knitting needles into the coffin before they slam 'er shut. Well, maybe my "Bad Girls Of The Bible" study guide and a tube of Liquid Cement (which is what I used to hem my skirts in high school)...

Of course, if I end up choosing cremation (certainly the more economical route) PLEASE, SOMEBODY gather up all my old diaries and journals and toss them atop the funeral pyre 'cuz, Lord knows I ought to be takin' most of the stuff stashed in those books to the grave.

But I digress.

Anyway, just some food for thought this Saturday a.m.  Life is just so short...we must make the most of it while we are here...

Hence, having said that...Must run. Day 2 of my "Look Like Jen By June" wedding makeover.

The light soy milk, she's a callin'...

Stay tuned, and hey....

I hope you dance...

3 comments:

Mike said...

Annie,

I took your advice and started my own blog. Check out "Another Day in Paradise." Then, give me your honest journaistic impression. I could never keep up with you, but feel free to give me a few pointers!

Love ya. Mike

Billy Brandt said...

Blogger chick:

The timing of your blog regarding death and coffins was fortuitous (sp?). I was recently at a funeral where the family/friends of the decesased were planning ahead and placed a pack of Winston cigarettes and a cell phone in the coffin. Just preparing for what might be needed on "the other side" I guess. After reading your blog, I was thinking that all the deceased needed was car keys and a 40 ouncer and he'd be ready for anything.

"To open or not to open" that is the casket question. Is it about me or those left behind? I'm not so sure but there's something not right about the old-word style of visitation where loved ones approach the casket and admire the handiwork of the beautician and staff in preparing the body. You've given us all something to think about in this new year.

BTW - Hope your fitness regimen is going well. Keep up the good work. Love to read your blog!

Annie said...

Billy:

Enjoying your comments!

Yeah, the whole open/close issue is a sticky wicket...my greatest fear with "open" is that even in death, despite all attempts to make sure I look "natural", I will be having a bad hair day...

"Close" is what my dear, departed mother insisted upon nearly 40 years ago...and I understand it a lot better now. And yet, for those left behind...it can be comforting to see their loved one at peace, as it were, especially if the last time they saw you alive you were writhing in pain in a hospital bed or something worse.

As for my exercise regimen...I only walked two miles on Sunday, was running late Monday morning, and this morning I could not figure out how to get the darn dvd to work...electronics escape me. I slept for about four hours after work tonight, and am just now catching my second wind. However, i have been minding my Ps and Qs where it comes to food...save for the pumpkin bar I just sloshed down with a bottle of lemon-flavored water at about 10:30 p.m.

Last I checked I was down about a pound and a half -- only 48.5 to go...LOL

So tell us more about yourself, Mr.Brandt...loved the "car keys and 40 ouncer and he'd be ready for anything" line. LOL

And, as always, thanks for reading The Home Stretch!