I believe in being prepared, and well, there is that matter of my extremely short lifeline. This is the final preparation. You laugh, but if you’re named the executor to my estate, you’ll be thanking me. This information is not a desperate attempt to be in control even after I’m dead, though that thought does appeal to me. It’s a gift to those left in charge.
I have these documents on hand. Do you?
My Prepaid Cremation Plan (Cremation Society of the Carolinas)
My Durable General Power of Attorney
My Durable Health Care Power of Attorney and Declaration of a Desire For Natural Death (a.k.a. “a Living Will”)
My Last Wishes (Memorial Service, Obituary)
My Identity Inventory (Social security number, driver’s license number, passport number, bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investment accounts, retirement accounts, e-mail accounts, utilities accounts, and frequent flyer accounts.)
If it were up to me, this is how I would like the memorial service to take place:
It is my wish that any or all organs be donated.
It is my wish to not have a viewing at a funeral home.
It is my wish to be cremated. I have a pre-paid cremation plan with the Cremation Society of the Carolinas.
It is my wish that the least expensive container for cremating be used, if it’s necessary to use one. I don’t care if it looks cheap.
I have no particular wish for anything to be done with my ashes; however, it is my wish to not have them kept anywhere where it will be necessary to pay someone for perpetual care. If they are not needed for the memorial gathering described herein, and no one wants them for anything, just leave them in the incinerator. Believe me, it will not hurt my feelings.
It is my wish to provide an opportunity for my immediate family to “see the body” if they need to. However, I don’t want this set up as a separate “public viewing.” As long as they can “take a last look” some time before the cremation, that would be fine.
It is my wish to have a two-hour time set aside at the Cremation Society for a memorial gathering, where my body, closed up in the cheap cremation container—draped in purple if possible.
I would like to have the following pieces of music played during this time: Allegri Miserere, The Tallis Scholars directed by Peter Phillips, Gimell, CDGIM 339, and Verdi Requiem & Operatic Choruses, Robert Shaw conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus (I have both of these CDs.)
I would prefer that no clergy be present in an official capacity. It would be fine for any friends to speak during this time either to the group or amongst themselves. This should be “just if it happens,” though; I don’t want an “agenda” arranged, or a eulogy planned.
If my death is one such that it’s not possible to have the body available during the memorial service, then I’d like this same type of memorial service to take place when possible with either the ashes in an urn or container (if anyone bothered to keep them), or with just a picture of me.
It is my wish to not have flowers as part of my memorial service. Instead, please recommend a donation in my name to Buddies for Life, Inc., P.O. Box 536393, Orlando, FL 32853 or to WCPE, The Classical Station Box 828, Wake Forest, NC 27588.
Late Fragment by Raymond Carver
And did you get what you wanted from this life even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.
John Martin, [insert age here], will be burnt to a crisp on [insert date here]. John died as a result of [insert here what the people came to find out]. Arrangements are being handled by the Cremation Society of the Carolinas. John had a keen sense of humor, a quick wit, and lived a full, and fulfilled, life. Being an avid obituary reader, he authored his own.
John earned an undergraduate degree in Math & Computer Science and a graduate degree in Technical Communication. For most of his professional career, he was a technical writer and editor, including 20+ years at IBM and his most recent years at Red Hat. At age 57, he retired for a little over a year, but returned to work as circumstances in his life warranted it.
Writing was his passion, and he was a published author as well as a committed blogger. His writings, including his blog, can be found at nematome.info. He once took a year off work to write a novel, which lead to his living the life he was put here to live. He said shortly after coming out, “How profoundly sad it would have been to have lived my entire life not being who I really was.”
He is survived by his husband, Robert Anthony McVeigh; his sister, Vivian Covington, and her husband, Jeff; and a host of beloved people in his life.
John expressed in his last wishes that in the place of flowers a donation be made in his name to to Buddies for Life, Inc., P.O. Box 536393, Orlando, FL 32853 or to WCPE, The Classical Station Box 828, Wake Forest, NC 27588. A memorial service will be held at the Cremation Society of the Carolinas, 2205 East Millbrook Road, at [insert time and date here].