Dying and Funeral

This is for my children, Micah and Elijah.

First, and you both know this, if any of my organs are usable, have them take my organs.

Second, if they can’t take my organs, see if you can donate my body. Science Care will/may take my body. If they do, they will provide the cremation for free. (They may not. Body condition/illnesses must match current research.)

Only if this mortal coil I’ve shuffled out of cannot be donated should you simply cremate me.

What I want when I am dying:
I would like y’all to be there, but you don’t have to stay 24/7. If it is too stressful, feel free to leave. I love you and always will. I have spent a lot of my life without you and I will be okay without you at the end, if I need to be. Please know, though, that if I had the choice, I would have you with me because I love you.

If anyone wants to come see me, let them. Let them come. Let them talk. Let them stay. Even if they yell at me, let them. If someone is making you upset, though, you can ask them to let me rest. It’s not worth your pain to let someone else do that.

I would say you could go through my phone and text all the people on it. What would be a sample text you could just copy and paste?
My mother, S… H… D…, is dying. You are in her phone list. If you would like to see her, she is at XXX. You may come XXX. If you cannot come or do not desire to, please remember us in your prayers during this difficult time.

When I am dying, don’t just stare at me. Feel free to talk to me. That doesn’t mean you have to talk to me the whole time, but the watching television instead of the family talking–I don’t want that. The long hours of someone staring without saying anything, nah, I’ll pass. Music is okay if you don’t have anything to say. Reggae or your dad’s country and Christian playlists. Maybe his happy playlist, if you can stand that.

You can have conversations with others while I am there. I’d even like it if you had good things to say about me, but the topic of conversation does not have to be me.

Please don’t talk about my care without talking to me–even if I can’t answer you. I probably want to know what you are thinking and doing.

For my funeral or memorial service:
I expect to be cremated, but that is not a requirement. Do whatever you need to do.

Mom (Gram) had Grama Bunny embalmed, pre-cremation, and you boys, me, Mom, and Oma White went to the funeral home and had a service. We sang songs from church and other songs you wanted to sing. Elijah said it wasn’t a very good statue of Grama Bunny because it wasn’t missing a toe. Gram slipped Grama’s shoe off and showed y’all that it was missing. Elijah did not like that. I think he did know it was Grama Bunny and she was dead and thinking of her as a statue had been easier–but that is just what I think because he never said. Songs I think we sang included Jesus Loves Me and the Barney song–“I love you. You love me. We’re a happy family, with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you. Won’t you say you love me too?”

If you want to have me embalmed, fine.

Otherwise skip it. It costs more money. (Well, if I am going to be cremated. If you decide to bury me, don’t skip it. If you do, the body will stink soon.)

From my own experience, I believe a funeral or a memorial would be easier than not having one. If you have one, folks can write down what they want said and have someone who doesn’t know me read it. I’m okay with that. I just don’t want an impersonal funeral/memorial. But I also don’t want anyone trying to talk who can’t or doesn’t want to.

I don’t want all white flowers, if you have any flowers at all. I like bright colors–yellow roses, orange day lilies (or anything else), hot pink and purple are good too. If they have delphinium (the blue flowers I gave Dad and Mom for their funeral) that would be fine. Or lilies of the valley, if they are in season. Do NOT order flowers that are out of season for my funeral. Too much money. You don’t have to have flowers. Just that folks send them, so you might.

Your Dad wanted Billy Sprague’s What a Way To Go and that’s a good song. I would not mind it.

My favorite song recently has been How Great Thou Art.
I also always liked “I Come to the Garden Alone.”

While Dad (Grampa) was dying, “I Can Only Imagine” came on the radio. That made sense to me and I’ve been singing it a lot since then. I’m okay with a song on the phone (or whatever tech we have then), as long as it’s a fairly standard rendition. Make sure people can recognize the songs.

While Grampa was dying, “It’s Just My Temporary Home” came on. That is somewhat apropos, but so sad. That’s not what I want.

My favorite song of that topic is, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.” I learned in in West Virginia at a youth meeting when my family lived in North Carolina, maybe 1975.

Chris’ favorite song used to be “Low in the Grave He Lay.”
Grama Haston (Pa’s mom) used to sing “I’ll Fly Away” when she was sweeping.
Grama Jenn, my mom, liked “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” for funerals.
Grampa liked the song “Just a Few More Days.”
I would love to have a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Uncle Chris played one right after Grama died.

I like singing, though. Many of my favorite memories of growing up and churches involve singing. I’ve thought about trying to put a timeline of my life together via song, and I think I could do it, but I also think it would take more effort than I have the energy for right now. (I can’t sleep and it is 3 am less than 10 days after Grama and Grampa’s funeral. Really I should be grading, since I’m up anyway, but I don’t want to do that.)

Favorite verses?
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen. You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with your whole heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

I John 4:7-21
I used that, along with some verses from John, in a Bible reading I did in a contest at Bandina Christian Camp when I was 10 or 11 and we lived in Corpus Christi. I won the contest. But I’ve always loved John’s writings.

Favorite memories:
Too many to list.

When Micah was a little baby, people would hold him and pat him on the back. So he learned to pat us on the back. We’d pick him up and put him against our shoulder and his little hand would come out and pat our back. Such a sweet baby (and boy and man).

When Elijah was about two, I was really upset about something–I have no idea what–and I was crying, but trying not to upset the boys. Elijah came up and asked me what was wrong. “Mommy’s just sad,” I said. He climbed up into my lap. “Mommy, don’t be sad. I’s a good boy,” Elijah told me. He patted my cheek.

I guess I liked the boys patting me!

I will try to come back to these some time, but if I don’t manage it, know that I have many memories I am so grateful for having held on to and probably many more that were wonderful that I don’t remember.

You were loved and you loved me.