Have you ever given any thought to that big day when you meet the man upstairs who gets to sit with you to go over your whole life? Can you imagine getting to see and hang out with people who are no longer living on earth but are partying in the great beyond?

The one thing that IS inevitable. You are going to die. I mean, one day, we’ll ALL die. And what happens to the people who are left here on earth?

Usually, there is complete shock at the whole thing. Either your death will be slow, or it’ll be quick with no warning. Heck, I think God every day that I could have met my maker last week when I stepped in front of a bus’s path without knowing. I could have been HISTORY that day. But I guess it wasn’t my time yet… Thank heavens! I still have a lot of living to do.

What got me thinking was me meeting two individuals on my trip who are in the funeral business. One of them sells vaults for funeral homes, and the other is a funeral director. So, it was one conversation that I’d never entered into before, but it made me think a lot.

What kind of funeral do I want? Who is going to show up? How are they all going to hear about it? Where will it be? Will I be buried in a casket or will I be cremated? Where do I want a tombstone to mark my grave? What do I want written on the tombstone?

I’d like to think that I’m going to have a massive party. I know that my life has touched others in a deep and positive way along the road, but I don’t want people to grieve over my passing when it happens. No, I want them to party, just like I want them to do when I’m around. I want them to laugh, have fun, and celebrate my life in style.

Think about it. If you write all of this down in advance, the people who are left behind who are grieving won’t have to think about the details. How are they going to know that you want the BEACH BOYS music playing or Earth Wind and Fire so that people will be in a GOOD mood at the funeral instead of the usual somber mood that usually takes precedence?

What poems will be read? What about what you want to give to whom? Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry you want to pass on or even a pet to give to someone in your family? You wouldn’t want your pets to end up in the pound would you?

These are the types of questions that the living has to answer when the dead depart us. It’s a lot of thinking that goes in, and so it just makes sense to answer these questions before you go on to meet your maker.

Bill, the General Manager of the Resthaven Park Cemetery in Glendale, AZ, who I met in an airport on my travels, was kind enough to send me the Personal Planning Guide by Dignity Memorial (www.dignitymemorial.com) This is a beautifully laid out workbook that organizes all of your personal documents such as your will, your banking, credit cards, bills and other financial or estate matters. Then it has detailed pages for your medical history, social security information and who to contact in the event of your death. It’s got space to fill out about your own funeral such as if you want to have an open casket or be cremated. You get to chose where to spread your assets or rather to keep the remains in a keepsake memorial.

Seriously… have you ever given this any thought whatsoever?

You get to choose which jewelry you’ll be buried with and even what you want to wear. (Gosh, what WILL I wear???) Then you get to pick your Pallbearers and Honorary Pallbearers.

It is a complete view of your whole life so this workbook can be passed on through the generations as a library on your life. It covers all of the basis and no stone is left unturned.

With all of the stress that we have in our lives these days, why force others to do the seemingly unthinkable planning for us? Why not face the inevitable and acknowledge that our lives on this earth will one day end and start with the end in mind. That way it’ll be easy to do the “Rocking Chair” test on yourself.

When you are 99 years old, and sitting on your rocking chair on your front porch, what do you want to say that your life was about? What were you committed to? Who were you committed to? Did you love fully? Did you give of yourself to others? Did you waste time? What other things would you have wanted to accomplish in your life?

If you can do this test and you haven’t accomplished all that you set out to do, then what is holding you back?

It’ll be helpful for you to take some time to write all of these things down on paper. Statistics show that by writing your goals down on paper you are more likely to achieve them. Perhaps you can then start checking your lifetime goals off one by one!

This is a great way to keep you invested and growing in your life. And there is absolutely NOTHING to get you more motivated then actually planning your own funeral!!

Mary – glad to hear you are OK!!

And, just to be provocative…

Is life about accomplishing things in life…is it about doing…or being? I’m finding out that it’s more important who I’m being, than what I’m doing.

Love you, Leslie (NY)

Funeral? I’m going with Rodney Dangerfield: “Give my body to science, or science, fiction, whoever will have me!” (Brendan, NJ)

I already planned mine—just dig a hole and throw me in—don’t spend a lot of cash—then go have a beer—no need to be sad, I had fun while I was here. Give my stuff (surfboard, bike, etc) to someone who will use it.

(S.R- Charlotte)