Warning: Brutally frank words. If you’ve recently suffered from tragic loss, you may prefer to read something else.
I consider myself very lucky; I think that’s largely because I’m young, and because I’m alive.
Those two things are a pretty winning combination in themselves – generally people who are alive, have some time to enjoy life before they die, and generally, people who are young, still have a good deal of it to enjoy.
But neither of these should be taken for granted. I made it through infancy – that early stage of my life was made easier because of first world, nationalised healthcare and vaccination programs. Having made it to ‘adulthood’, I’ve somehow skirted childhood leukemia, teenage cancer and lots of other fatal incidents. But it could happen tomorrow. Or it could arrive 5 years down the road.
Shit happens, and however lucky you feel, at some point, shit will happen.
The thing is, there’s such a taboo about death, that it’s quite unusual for people to talk it, especially when they’re young and I think this is disingenuous.
The future is vague
The future is always a vague and uncertain thing, but everyone agrees that at some point one will have to say goodbye to a number of people close to them, and that one will, at some point have to leave this life behind.
The fun thing about death is that can happen at any time. “Fun you say, what the fuck is fun about dying?” you ask.
Well, obviously, it’s no fun at all, but just imagine if you knew the exact date you were going to die with 100% certainty.
Do you remember at school/work when you were given something to do and the deadline was several weeks away and so you didn’t do anything until right before it was due. Do you remember how you probably wished you’d been done it at the time it was given to you rather than waiting until then?
Imagine if life was like that. You’d spend decades bumming around knowing that, whatever happened, you weren’t going to die. You’d probably spend several decades telling people what you were going to do one day but you’d procrastinate it so long you’d be trying to travel the world, have a family and start a small business all in the last two weeks of your life…
So actually, the uncertainty is quite helpful – you know that sometime in the vague future – things won’t be quite so good, so take advantage of what you can, when you can.
In many ways, death is a very democratic, participatory and inclusive activity – everyone gets a free trial, but no one cancels.
If I was to die tomorrow, my friends and family would be justifiably saddened, but they’d have no idea how I’d prefer to be remembered. They’d make their best effort to guess, and I’m sure they’d do an admirable job, but I doubt it’d be what I’d want.
I could codify it all up in a legally watertight will, but in today’s Web 5.0 infojism-superhighway, I doubt that’d have the effect I’d be looking for – news of my death would likely bounce around social networks much faster than any legal process occurring in it’s aftermath.
Whilst the allocation of my assets probably isn’t a massive concern, online memories and discussion, would probably initiate instantly – my conclusion is, therefore, that it makes sense for various “in the event of my death” information, to be published as widely as possible. Someone, probably would then be aware of it’s existence, and even if it was wildly out of date, and make it well known.
I’d much prefer people did something to celebrate my life rather than got hung up on how I died. It makes very little difference to me whether I die intentionally or unintentionally, because of my own or someone else’s actions. Ultimately, the end result is the same – I’m dead and at that point, frankly, the details don’t matter.
Launching a misery-driven vendetta on some poor guy who made a mistake in his life, isn’t what I’d like anyone to remember me by. I don’t care about the greatest case of negligence or tragic drink driving – if I’m dead – how I went is not really a concern of yours anymore. There’s no need to seek ‘justice’ or ‘punishment’ for people who made mistakes; if you can see a way to remember me by helping them become better, happier people, then that’s wonderful, but if not, I’d prefer people simply focused on remembering me.
Equally supporting health and safety campaigns that I wouldn’t have done? Don’t do that. There are too many moronic campaigns that cater to the worried, when really, some days you’ll be lucky, some days you won’t. In all likelihood, the lucky days will probably be quite fun. (Example of what not to do). Erasing all risky activities from the world would annoy me quite a lot. Please don’t attempt that on my behalf! I’d actually quite like adventurous activities to continue for a good long time, without having to employ lawyers and risk assessors full time, to risk assess the red tape.
If anyone describes me as “bubbly” after death, and doesn’t mean that I was effervescent in a liquid form, I will personally return to slap them round the face with a wet fish. “Bubbly” is a particularly vacuous adjective – I’d prefer you described what you meant with other words.
How would I prefer to be celebrated? Well I’d prefer that any event(s) weren’t held at a place of worship, or prepended with with a faith – it’s not a “humanist/atheist/agnostic/christian/$religion funeral” because it doesn’t matter – it’s an event for everyone, and I certainly hope there’s more to define me, than any beliefs I may or may not have.
Now personally, I’d be definitely up for being celebrated by a electro-ceilidh with glowsticks, smoke machines and lasers, however, I’ve a feeling that in six months time I may have completed that ambition, and so the idea may have sounded completely dull to me by the time I die.
Instead, I’d simply suggest something fun, crazy-unusual and a bit weird – maybe taking inspiration from some aspect of my life? If retro-lanpartying is what you think would work, go with that, if you’d prefer to rap a tribute with a banging funk-metal beat, or something so awesome (and at the same time a bit weird) I can’t even imagine it – please do that.
It occurs to me that, this blog post could be something you read at a very emotional time, probably after I’ve had a spate of bad luck, so I just want to tell you a little story my mum once said when I was young:
When an old king was getting towards the end of his life, he was asked if he wished he could live longer.
He said, “No. When you get to the end of a great banquet you don’t ask for more, you say ‘thank you’.”
Legal note: I’d like to clarify that that I’m certainly not intending to die anytime soon – I hoping to die of old age, in my sleep – as far as I know, I don’t suffer from depression, and that whilst this blog post is intended to be an interesting insight into my thoughts at the moment, it’s not intended to be legally binding in any way, or override any past, existing or future wills of mine.