Saturday, October 25, 2008


1. Which is the best funeral you ever visited?

I have yet to attend a funeral that I ever thought was good. I don’t like death. I don’t like any part of it. We can pretend it is a celebration. A party. A going away event. But to me – funerals are not about the dead. They are gone. Funerals are for the living. For me, if I love someone, I am going to be sad.

But I have not been to a funeral since 1999. And it was not a natural death.

I love life so much. I would be one of those people that if asked to make three wishes – first on my list would be to live forever. Second would be to be in good mental and physical health during that never ending life. Therefore, a funeral to me means an end – no more – everything that is wonderful is taken away.

Not believing in a fabulous afterlife also stops me from believing it is a celebration of the passing from one world to the other.

2. Which is the worst funeral you ever visited?

All funerals are sad to me. In 1989, one of my best friends died early in an accidental death. He was robbed of the rest of his glorious days. And we were robbed of him. We did our best to celebrate the good things that happened in his life. But I hated it. I felt so sad. It was one of the times that in public, I was doing the “gasping sobbing” – where you my face ached and I could not catch my breath because of the pain. I tried to tell stories about him. But it only reminded me of what I was not going to have going forward.

And worse was watching his wife. It hurt so much.

And no matter how much I tried to convince myself that it was a part of some plan or it was “mean to be” or he was going to be in a “better place” – it didn’t matter. He was gone. I was sad. And Angry.

Fortunately, I have not had a family member die in over twenty years. That will also be heard when it happens one day.

3. Did you make any plans for your own funeral?

No. I am trying to avoid the idea. Perhaps part of it is that belief that if I think about my own death, I might be speeding up the process.

I am not a big public celebration guy. The idea of having all of my friends come together to “celebrate” my life seems crazy. What’s the point? I am dead. But I am reminded again that funerals are not for the dead – they are for the living. I hope to outlive most of my friends and family – and so hopefully – not many will be around to remember who I was or all of my crazy adventures in life.

If I did start to think about my funeral – perhaps I will have to rethink how we actually do this. Perhaps I will create an ONLINE module for everyone to go through when I die. It might be an adventure game to walk through – both to recap my life, but in true Rick style, to also ask questions – and get people to think.

I WOULD RATHER HAVE A ANNUAL FUNERAL. I am always concerned when people die – people go to funerals to “say goodbye” – and then in many ways – almost forget them. I like to look at it differently. I try not to forget them. On their birthdays, I take personal moments to sit down and spend an hour or so thinking about the dead person. I think about their life – my moments with them, what I learned from them and how to keep their memory alive. I would hope that people would do this for me one day.

4. What are your thoughts on burial in the soil versus cremation? Which is better? Which is better for you? (And did you hear about the Swedish method, not yet sanctioned, where the body and the casket is frozen very very cold, and then vibrated into a powder...? Apparently very friendly for the environment.)

I have not decided on my own final outcome yet. Frankly, I am hoping that cryonics will continue to develop as a potential. If so, I will consider this potential.

The central premise of cryonics is that memory, personality, and identity are stored in cellular structures and chemistry, principally in the brain. While this view is widely accepted in medicine, and brain activity is known to stop and later resume under certain conditions, it is not generally accepted that current methods preserve the brain well enough to permit revival in the future. Cryonics advocates point to studies showing that high concentrations of cryoprotectant circulated through the brain before cooling can prevent structural damage from ice, preserving the fine cell structures of the brain in which memory and identity presumably reside.

If I could find a way to come back to life – and have a chance to live another 100 years – I would. And perhaps I will!

But if not - then cremation seems a more economical and practical way of begin buried. (But I will still preserve some DNA - just in case one day - the world wants another me!)

5. And finally: Isn't it just odd that the word funeral starts with fun...? What are your thoughts on the very word? And what is the word for funeral in your language, if your first language isn't English?

I really didn’t have many thoughts about this. If what Jennifer says is true – then I like the “circle of life” theory. I still cry at the opening and closing of The Lion King which celebrates this idea.

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