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[cancer] Funerals are real fun - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2013-11-22 06:07
Subject: [cancer] Funerals are real fun
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, child, death, family, friends, health, personal, radiantlisa
The topic de la semaine hereabouts has been my funeral planning. Contemplating one's own final arrangements is a subject sure to brighten any day.

Dad has been investigating funeral homes and memorial marker. [info]kenscholes in his capacity as a former pastor has been giving me advice and talking points about memorial services. Mother of the Child has been giving me her thoughts and feelings about the process.

I get hung up on a couple of points as I walk through all this. One, the whole discussion just makes me want to cry. Two, what is the proper balance between my desires and the needs and desires of those closest to me?

The first I just deal with. So much of my life is devastating these days, what's one more incitement to grief?

The second I think I have a solution for, at least in my context. We're probably going to have a small, private set of observances at my time of death and shortly thereafter, probably to be led by Mother of the Child's Buddhist pastor.

Sometime a bit later on, a larger, public memorial service for my extended family, friends, fans and whoever wants to show up, will likely be led by Ken. That will be the last JayCon and/or the second JayWake, depending on how one wishes to look at it.

For the most part, my own desires are nebulous. In simplest terms, I won't be here to care. But I am very mindful of how the rituals of my death affect the grieving processes of [info]the_child, her mother, Lisa Costello, and the rest of my family and friends. At the same time, it would be the height of hypocrisy for my cooling corpse (well, cooling ashes really) to be sanctified in a religious framework. Can I be a hypocrite when I'm dead?

There's all kinds of details: Scattering the ashes? Memorial diamonds? What plaque and where? Much of this will be handled in a series of meetings next Monday.

I do know what I want for the epitaph on my marker. It comes down to a choice between two different things I wrote in Kalimpura.
"What are years to me? Like pain, they pass unnoticed."

"In end, so is the beginning. In the beginning, so is the end."

The first is more obscure but pointed. The second is more universal but borders on the cliched. Neither can sum up my life, any more than any epitaph ever can for anyone. The dying process itself sums up one's life.

So it goes.

Post A Comment | 12 Comments | | Link

User: jimvanpelt
Date: 2013-11-22 14:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Good choices, Jay. I liked this epitaph I saw on a gravestone in an abandonded cemetery above Central City, an old Colorado mining town:

Remember me as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now, so you will be,
Prepare for death and follow me.

For myself, I like the beginning of a poem I wrote when I was doing a lot of poetry:

I consider myself as prey,
Which is inevitable,
Having eaten
To be eaten at last.
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e_bourne: pic#117119242
User: e_bourne
Date: 2013-11-22 15:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
In investigating what to do with Mark's ashes (still resting gently in a friend's cabinet) the plethora of options both amazed, amused, and appalled me. One of my favorites being to "shoot" the ashes with a giant flamethrower-like device one could rent or purchase, because there are all those times you want to spray ashes up into the sky, yes? But for you, my dear, I think you should see about having your ashes molded into attractive, useable sex toys so that you can continue to enjoy in the after times those things you enjoyed in life. After all, since ashes can be incorporated into "memorial object" why not go for one that's useful, fun, and joy to have around?

Much love, my dear. I know this is difficult.

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T Enigma
User: enigmaa_t
Date: 2013-11-22 16:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So cadaver donation to science is now off the table?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-11-22 16:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I am too large. They only want lean cadavers.
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T Enigma
User: enigmaa_t
Date: 2013-11-25 01:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Are you serious??
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-11-25 02:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yup. Apparently heavy cadavers make it harder for students to access and examine the internal organs. I don't think this is a fat acceptance issue, in that I take their point.
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User: yourbob
Date: 2013-11-22 16:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I could see your epitaph as "no context for you".

Whether having a religious observation is hypocritical is irrelevant. If its done as a public/revealed event there are those who will look down on those who organize it. Unless its sanctioned by you, at least to the point of your saying it is okay if it helps grieving. Though being emphatic in your "lay off my friends" would be good.</p>

Perhaps too, think about sanctioning "Jay-gras", New Orleans-style wakes, at a couple of larger conventions. I'm sure someone(s) who wants to throw room parties in your memory could be found. "Jay-reoke"? "Pin the ponytail on the Jay? Naked twister?

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Debbie N.
User: wild_irises
Date: 2013-11-22 16:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My sister-in-law is about to start an argument with the very conservative Jewish cemetery where my brother is buried, because she really wants to put "People are dying to get in here" on his tombstone.

There could be no more fitting memorial to who he was.

I like both of yours, too, for who (I think) you are.
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User: arielstarshadow
Date: 2013-11-22 17:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I confess, I kinda like the "become a tree" option that I'm seeing now for those that have passed. It's the closest thing to "please let my body go into the soil to nurture the next Cycle of life" as I think we're allowed to get these days.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Jay Lake: cancer-hereafter_is_closed
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-11-22 18:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

I'm thinking more of the Nick Cave song, "Lay Me Low".


They will interview my teachers (Lay me low)
Who'll say I was one of God's sorrier creatures
There'll print informative six-page features
When I go

They'll bang a big old gong (Lay me low)
The motorcade will be ten miles long
The world will join together for a farewell song
When they put me down below
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User: kshandra
Date: 2013-11-22 20:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
With the bulk of my erstwhile family in residence at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, this is a thing of beauty to me. (Though I think I'm glad I didn't know the song before the rest of the family plot was filled...)
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Jo Rhett
User: jorhett
Date: 2013-11-26 06:19 (UTC)
Subject: you are both, so do it all.
Given the dual (or poly) nature in which you express things, I see no reason for you to choose between them and all the reason in the world for you to embrace both of them. They together seem to be more you than either alone.
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