Funeral for a friend (me)

Last week was a week of funerals – celebrity, political and personal. On Saturday, we attended the burial of a close friend of my wife’s family, gathering at the Reedsville Cemetery surrounded by the lush green hills of Hatley Township, a reminder that, among all the uncertainties of life, you can always count on graveyards to have the very best real estate.

Prior to the service, I looked around the cemetery at the markers spaced in orderly rows. Quite near me was a stone engraved “MURRAY.” Behind it and one over was a monument that read “ROSS.” If I stood just so and squatted down, I could align the two of them to read “ROSS MURRAY.”

“Well,” I thought, “that’s not good.”

I had to remind myself, though, that this wasn’t about me but about saying goodbye to a family friend. I turned back and focused on the service, which was lovely and sad and touching all at once.

But it’s days later, and now it is all about me.

Namely, this particular funeral and the high-profile ones for John McCain and Aretha Franklin last week got me wondering about how I would like to go when I no longer go anywhere.

First of all, the location. I feel the service should be held somewhere that was important to me, some place where I spent considerable time, a place truly dear to my heart. I’m thinking the ice cream aisle of the local grocery store. Bonus: it’s right by the beer fridge.

Seating might be difficult, but not to worry, I have ample stacks of unsold books that can be configured throughout the frozen foods to support mournful bums.

In terms of guests, I would like at least one celebrity. I don’t really know any, so I’ll leave it to your discretion. I once sat behind Donald Sutherland at a municipal council meeting addressing the matter of raw sewer leaching onto his property, so maybe he’d do. He wouldn’t have to speak. Just him lurking around the toilet paper aisle I feel would be a superb tribute.

All I ask of my children is that they rise as one and acknowledge that I do not stand around with my tongue sticking out and vacantly rubbing my tummy as they claim I do in hurtful and completely inaccurate impersonations.

Loud weeping will be acceptable. Loud weeping subsequent to inhaling vast amounts of helium will be encouraged.

Instead of a formal service, I would like people to share their memories — and not just the nice things. Not as funny in person as in print? True. Not really that funny in print either? Fair enough. Narcissistic? Me? Just kind of shuffled that bake sale sign-up sheet but didn’t actually sign up to bake anything? Can’t deny it… because I’m in an urn.

Seriously, if I have made Sarah Palin-calibre misjudgements in my life that ultimately led to the political climate we suffer today, don’t pretend it never happened. It’s who I was. By all means don’t feel you have to protect my feelings. Because, again, I’m in an urn.

However, as a writer, I feel it would be fitting to have people recite some of my most familiar material. For example: “Those dishes aren’t going to wash themselves!” and “Oh, right. I meant to, but I forgot,” and “I thought it was candy.”

Music was important to my life (sorry, getting ahead of myself: “is”), so at this point I would request “Feeling Yourself Disintegrate” by The Flaming Lips, not only because it’s message-appropriate but also because it’s over 5 minutes long, and I’m kind of tickled by the thought of people pretending to be solemn while resisting the urge to look at their watch.

After this, we will motorcade to the burial plot, which, if my wife follows through on her comments over the years, will be in our back yard with the hamsters and one dead cat.
Here, people will gather under the cool shade of the maples and the burgeoning growth of our beloved vegetable garden. So if everyone wouldn’t mind pulling a few weeds, that would be great.

Finally, I would like my urn lowered into the ground and then have the hole filled to the brim with gelatin. Everyone will stand in silence while the gelatin begins to set until, at a fitting moment that I will leave to the bereaved to determine, someone will whisper: “The plot thickens.”

A reception will follow with little sandwiches. And, of course, ice cream.

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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32 Responses to Funeral for a friend (me)

  1. pinklightsabre says:

    The plot thickens. That’s the icing on the cake. Of Ross.

  2. I thought maybe you’d photoshopped that tombstone shot, that’s amazing, it would send a chill up anyone’s spine, even before getting to the ice cream aisle.
    Definitely a great exit line, best pun so far this year, a parting jello shot. I’m seeing funerals from a whole new aspic. As your funeral plans begin to gel…south of Boston they have these weird boulders, called “pudding stones,” for the marker.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Parting Jello shot! Ha! My middle name is Grant, also a first/last name. So, conceivably, an infinite number of monkeys carving an infinite number of tombstones…

      • Challenging, I’ll grant you, but not impossible. has quite a few Ross Grants, Grant Murrays, etc. so it’s just a matter of doing a Venn diagram, to locate the burial places with all three names, then digging up camera angles via Google Earth, to see if you can get them in the same shot.
        Yes, I have officially spent too much time thinking about this. How about, if you really dislike the next-of-kin, using tapioca instead, and the line “Pearls before swine”

  3. Susan C. Mastine says:

    Dearest Ross, I hate thinking of your future demise, but it’s better than thinking of my own… not to mention the fact that I will have neither say nor hand in the final production.

  4. In my life, it’s usually that the plot thins.

  5. markbialczak says:

    May it all unfold to your liking many decades in the future, Ross. And please let there still be supermarkets for folks to still go visit you in.

  6. ksbeth says:

    what about the free samples at costco, though? would cut back on the upfront costs? everyone could shuffle from stand to stand, jump the lines, and disguise themselves for a 2nd trip the same stand. might liven things up a bit, like a road rally or scavenger hunt of sorts –

  7. Will it be an open casket? If so, that cool refrigerated air might come in handy.

  8. byebyebeer says:

    Excellent aisle and song choice.

  9. kirizar says:

    Oh my gawd. The plot thickens! Just that. I will now be trying not to think that at the next funeral I attend. I hope you’re happy implanting that particular brain worm. If I start giggling hysterically, I’m blaming you!

  10. Elyse says:

    It’s never too early to plan that jell-o mold, but I hope cat hair doesn’t end up in the mix.

    And I am thinking that the possibilities of something going terribly wrong are less in your plan than in other possible scenarios. Take, for instance, my recently departed brother Bob, who wanted to be scattered into the Gulf Of Mexico. Have you read about the red tide in Florida? We managed to find a bridge over a coastal current right at the shore. The tide was going out, and we’re really hoping it carried poor Bob far out into the gulf. Otherwise, he will have Ben scooped up and placed, with dead sea critters, and placed in a Florida landfill. Unfortunately, that didn’t occur to me until just now 😳

  11. Pingback: Funeral for a friend (me) — Drinking Tips for Teens – Jimmyjames' Life and Travels in Locombia

  12. Long road to the punchline. Worth the trip. I think the confluence of headstones is fantastic. I would accuse you of photoshop trickery if I didn’t know you better. This, not long after spotting the corner of Murray and Broadway in Manhattan. These are mighty powerful metaphors for a Monday morning.

  13. cat9984 says:

    I do hope someone will commemorate your love of terrible puns.

  14. Bev Mullins says:

    Funny! Enjoyed reading it -great ending!

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