in my parent’s laundry room sits a grey metal filing cabinet. i’m quite sure it’s the only “michaela possession” still taking up space in this house and i’m quite proud that with all my hording ways, my stuff isn’t the bane of my parent’s existence. yet, i’ve known for a while that all the paper in that metal probably isn’t worth keeping. so last night, i began the sorting/shredding process. it was therapeutic to watch and hear paper ground into smithereens and to come across words i’d long forgotten. like my last will and testament.
not sure what got into me on august 6, 2001. it was a monday and i decided to print out a list of how i wanted my belongings distributed and funeral organized. my mum witnessed my signature and i sealed and signed the letter-sized envelope. below my signature are the words “to be opened immediately after death.” granted, it would have taken my family a while to even find this so it probably wouldn’t have been immediate….
with nothing much to my name in 2001, there is only 1 double-spaced page listing what to give to whom. the next 1.5 pages are much more interesting. i sort of want to scan and post them on fb. but then again, if i found out that a friend wanted me to sing or read a poem at her funeral, i’d probably feel a bit weird, a weird that would trump the feeling of honor.
i must say, however, that i was quite humorous 8 years ago. several of the funeral instructions have an asterisk by them which means that these lines are to be read at some point during the funeral “to lighten the atmosphere a bit”. for example:
*The service should just flow from one thing to the next–no dead time (no pun intended).
*The program should have a poem by me on the front and a picture on the back. My words come first, not my face.
*Dress me in something happy and flattering
*If I look very bad, PLEASE CLOSE THE CASKET.
after reading through all of this and the more serious stuff, i got quite emotional for a bit…not to the point of tears but to the point of one serious question: if i don’t wake up tomorrow, how should i have spent my time today? it felt like a near-death experience, one that thankfully didn’t include guns, broken limbs or emergency room runs but still forced me to stop and think hard about what really matters…really.
and it’s easy to say, well, i should make the most of the time i have with family and witness to everyone i meet. but in the midst of that “good” verbiage, i still question the SHOULD.
my window is open. the smell of the morning breeze enters my room, taking me back 10 years to 6 weeks spent in trois pistoles for a french immersion program. every morning was cool and unlucky me had left my fleece in one of via rail’s train cars, never to be seen again. the only warm clothing i had was a hoodie. i was cold and shy. welcome to quebec! when i finally began dreaming in french, conversing in class, and hanging out with other students, it was week 5. instead of questioning my arrival, i wanted to start again, make friends quicker, delve into the culture sooner. life was good; i wanted to keep it that way. it wasn’t filled with hugs and bible studies but with jokes, frappes and poetry readings. the cool morning air was now bearable and french was a great language.
the last two weeks were the best.
…pls don’t put that on my gravestone…