“Boy, when you’re dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.“ -J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1945
I’ll admit that I am terrified of death. The idea of ceasing to exist totally freaks me out.
I am also terrified of loved ones dying.
With all of that said, however, I just don’t understand funerals.
Jeremy’s great aunt died over the weekend. She lived to 91! She had also been living with Alzheimer’s for the last 15 years.
Tonight was the viewing. Jeremy wasn’t particularly close to his aunt and I had never met her. I think Jeremy’s parents’ had accepted that she was going to pass soon and while they seemed a bit sad – I think they agreed she’s “in a better place”. However, we spent the evening chatting in the funeral home by a dead body.
The idea of a viewing is so strange to me. People passing in and out of a room to stare at a dead body. It just doesn’t make sense.
And then I learned you have to pick all this crap out for yourself! You pick your coffin, what you’ll be wearing, weird knick-knacks to be displayed… and for what? I can’t imagine that my loved ones want to hold on to a guestbook from my funeral.
More than ever, I am completely sure that I just want Jeremy to throw my body in the woods. He keeps insisting that he will not do anything illegal (this whole law school thing has turned him into such a lame-o) – so I want him to build me a cheap pine box (or find a good large canvas bag) and throw me into the woods. Just kick me down a hill. I don’t want a funeral. I don’t want to pick out my cemetary plot. I don’t want to think about what I’ll be wearing when I’m thrown into the ground.
I realize that funerals are more for the living than they are for the dead but it all just seems so strange to me.