Even if the Tannenbaum is made into a coffin let me live in ignorance until January18 VIPs have spoken »
Just yesterday, amid the usual mail of bills and Christmas cards, I received a letter from a local funeral home. I’m quite sure this would have made C&C Music Factory go hmmm.
It began with a one sentence paragraph: We need your help.
I’ll admit that’s intriguing. A funeral home needs my help. I know the economy is going down the drain but how am I supposed to help a funeral home?
Well I’m glad you asked. They are conducting a survey in an effort to find out the real thoughts and feelings of individuals just like me. And when I return the survey I will receive, as a token of their appreciation, a booklet entitled “My Final Wishes Organizer.” For free!
The questions are skewed toward pre-planning and inquire whether:
1. you have life insurance that is allocated for funeral arrangements,
2. you have a will and (most importantly, I think),
3. is the current beneficiary on your policy alive?
Translation: Did you plan ahead to pay for the funeral? If so, is it documented and is the person carrying out the plans still alive and able to sign the check to the funeral home?
There were two questions that made me pause. The first one perplexed me and the second one has always freaked me out.
The first: Do you maintain up-to-date biographical information and accurate family records to assist you or a loved one with funeral planning?
Why do they need biographical information? I’m a 40-year-old married mother of three. I like exercising, chocolate and Converse low tops. My pet peeves are cold coffee, rude people and slow drivers.
Are they going to showcase an 8-foot by 10-foot trade show graphic of Converse low tops and an elliptical machine based on my biographical information? Will that cost be covered by my life insurance policy? And lastly, if graphics will indeed be used, this is what I will be requesting:
I find it upbeat and not maudlin at all. The sentiment is accurate — if I’m at my own funeral, my mood is dead. I like the idea of Little Red Riding Hood venturing off into the forest. Although I’m hoping I don’t run into the Big Bad Wolf on my eternal journey.
As to accurate family records, are they going to send out invitations to all of my extended family members?
Okay, the second question: If you have given thought to this subject, which of the following would you choose for yourself?
Let me start by saying I know I am putting the wrong spin on things when I consider my answer. When I think about it, I imagine experiencing it while alive. I know. But somehow I have never been able to wrap my head around being dead and the necessary disposal of my remains. Gone from my body.
Maybe I should think about it like it’s a candy wrapper. Just the paper covering of a tasty chocolate Hershey’s bar. Minus nuts. Oh hell, I am sort of nuts based on my history. Throw the nuts in. It’s a Milk Chocolate with Almonds Hershey’s bar.
Do you want to throw the candy wrapper in a landfill or do you want to burn the candy wrapper? Burning it is more economical, I think. But a landfill seems to be more socially accepted and expected. Then my kids could visit my Hershey’s bar wrapper. But really the chocolate isn’t inside the wrapper, why do they need to travel anywhere to see the wrapper?
They could imagine the wrapper and look at pictures of the wrapper. That’s more tangible than looking at grass and a stone.
I don’t know. I do not know the answer. I am finally speechless — literally and metaphorically speaking.
And I guess in this case no answer is truly not an answer. It leaves the answer up to someone else. I cannot deal with this question right now. It’s Christmas, dammit. The season of new life and hope. Why are you sending a survey about funerals two weeks before Christmas?!
Oh yeah. On the very bottom of the survey, in small print and just above the bold directions to return the survey in the postage paid envelope, there is a quiet disclaimer.
This survey is part of a general distribution. If this letter reaches you at a time of illness or loss, please accept our sincerest apologies.
I think I need a Hershey’s bar right now. And I’m going to leave the wrapper on the dining room table.