After I wrote my directives, I thought I should share them this side of the grave.
Here they are.
While I've thought much about death, since the birth of Jack I've thought about something different - mortality. I hope to annoy, cajole and love you all for decades, but if you hear these words, I must have been summoned heavenward before I expected - hopefully not in a Wal-Mart bathroom, but none of us choose the day or the hour - or location.
I love life so much.
But I haven't stopped.
Where I am now, life is more Life-like, color more Color-y, music more than sound.
Read C.S. Lewis and you'll see what I mean.
If you pay attention to the cross you can't go wrong. Take communion regularly to remind yourself of this.
I want all of you to remind yourselves that I love to travel.
I've left behind some souvenirs for you all.
It's okay to cry - sometimes, or for a while. But I hope my passing brings some shouts of laughter, or you wouldn't really be remembering me, you'd feel artificially woeful.
Make my funeral a rowdy one, and I promise I'll see you again.
People think differently about saints. The possibility is open that maybe I'll be able to pray for you from this side of heaven's curtain. I hope so. You should know that I've prayed for people affected in the event of my death, so I've prayed for you, for this day.
Death is the last enemy. It's okay to hate it. Death is unnatural.
God is not the enemy. Don't hate God. Christ has tasted death for us.
Death is temporary.
See you at the Rebirth of Creation. I'll be the one wearing red.
John, or surrogate -
Please furnish me with a simple, classy coffin. Unless I've got some money now. Then I want it bright, shiny, lipstick red. I'm not joking. I'll haunt you if you fail me on this.
My coffin is my last accessory, after all.
Do not cremate me. It's violence to the body and fails to uphold the reverence of the body that early Christians showed.
Please request that Dr. Lester Ruth preach my funeral sermon; in his stead, there are enough pastors in our collective extended families to find someone.
Serve the Eucharist at my funeral. This isn't an option.
Play the first song from Over the Rhine's "Good Dog, Bad Dog" album at my funeral.
Hold a wake the night before. Not a viewing, a wake. Tell tales, share memories, be Irish.
I want a simple tombstone shaped like the classic rounded "RIP" ones with vintage-looking font and a willow tree etched onto it. Willow trees have resurrection significance in death iconography, I can't remember why.
Donate my major organs, with the exception of my eyes and skin. If you've already harvested them, that's okay. I'm just a little vain about exteriors, is all.
Bury me in something green. I don't want to look worse than I need to.
Please play African Christian hymns at the dinner afterwards with a celebratory spirit and strong rhythm.
Tell John how much I love him, and what a good husband he is.
Tell Jack I love him at his fussiest, poopiest moments, and that he is my delight, and that the saints are watching out for him.