There are 40 names on my list now. 40 people who should play an instrumental role in my funeral. Most I’ve assigned parts to – Janice, obviously, will sing during the opening, while I want little Ray Ray to do the closing. His mother is a passive-aggressive shrew who will claim that it’s morbid to have a 5-year-old perform at a funeral, but I included a special clause in my will eliminating all his Harvard funds unless she agrees. I’ve been sick a long time and there’s been many nights hooked up to the oxygen tank to consider the loopholes I need to close on certain family members. Tobias should do the first reading – he’s one of the few I trust to show class and decency, so I haven’t forced a passage upon him. I know he’ll come up with exactly the right thing in the moment, a skill I always envied in him. The second reading goes to Carla, a lovely passage from Ecclesiastes that will sound perfect in her little-girl bell voice. That should start to elicit tears. Then I hit them with the one-two eulogy punch, delivered by my sister Anna and daughter Zoe, each covering different aspects of my loving and generous personality. I know exactly the effect the eulogies will have – I’ve edited and rewritten them over 100 times over the past few treatment cycles.
I had more time than I expected, certainly, but also more than I needed. There aren’t as many details involved in your final ceremony as there are in life – no need to allot time for dressing myself, driving others, feeding everyone. I expected to die three years ago when I first had every aspect of the day covered to my satisfaction. But that year passed, then another, and as I finished a 7th round of revisions I thought, now, now I’m ready to go, this is exactly what I want. But it doesn’t work that way – I thought the completion of this final act of planning would release me, but I seem to be hanging about, fretting about this and that, but no longer obsessed with the details. I wonder at nights if there’s something else I should be doing, some other item that needs to redone before I can go. But I can’t think of anything else left to do.