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At My Funeral

Robin Rice

At my funeral, I have a few small requests. If you don’t mind, I’ll share them now.

I’d like you to bring food for the local food bank

And a piece of art, good art, art with soul, for the local shelter.

You brought gifts to me for so many birthdays

And Christmas days and Mother’s days

Why not on this day

Only this time for someone in need?

I’m downsizing anyway.

 

I’d like to you cry real tears of heartfelt sadness

Because it was good, and it is no more, at least not in that same way

And the goodness it was, the goodness shared between us 

deserves to be honored in all its depth.

None of this don't cry for me stuff

You go ahead, you cry. I will, too.

 

But I'd also like you to cry great tears of happiness

Because I’m sure as sure can be that I'm going to be right there

With you, proof positive life goes on, even if you can’t see me

Even if you don’t know the “for sure” part yet.

You can rest assured I'm resting, assured.

 

I'd like you to see my dead body with your own eyes, if you don't mind

Unless it's out of the question for reasons too morbid to consider.

It's a thing I have, about not seeing death

And how much harder it is to understand life.

It's good, too, because you'll see I'm not there

That this body-house was always only rented, never owned.

Finally, I ask this for very personal reasons

Because of all the nights I allowed myself to imagine my little brother Ricky

And how maybe he didn't really die, and how I wish I'd seen at least his feet

Touched, at least, his feet, so I would have known for sure.

 

Now, when you come to the after party

(And that is what I’d like you to call it)

I’d like you to bring a dish of organic food

That you cooked yourself, and even better, that you grew yourself, too

Like my beloved Brian does for me now.

I realize this may mean you have to come empty handed

And there may not be enough to go around

And yes, indeed, there may be hungry people

Sitting in their sadness

But that’s okay.

Consider it my last teaching.

 

When you lay me in the ground

(I’m all for burning first, that being both eco-friendly and cheaper

But my bones have missed the earth they came from

And I already know you won’t have honored my request

To be left whole-hog in the desert for the birds)

Be sure to notice the breeze

And raindrops, if there should be some

Or sunshine, or clouds

And remember when I said it’s all good

How I emphasized the ALL

As what made it good.

 

And when you return home

To your table and chairs, to your bed without me

And see those little details around you that hold my touch

(You know, the ones you never noticed much before)

When they grab you by the throat

And mallet-pound your heart

And buckle you at the knees

Let them do that, please.

Let them grab, let them pound, let them buckle.

Feel, my lovelies, FEEL

For that is me, taking up new residence

In the memory places of your body

That is me, shifting from who I was

To who I will forever be

That is me, lending strength to your voice.

That is me, bringing courage to your heart.

That is me, adding bend to your knees, and fortitude to your walk.

 

Okay, so these are probably

Not such small requests after all.

What can I say?

At least I've given notice.