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The Bliss Mistress Guide: Final Wishes

by Edie Weinstein


Back in August, I was at a ‘speed networking event’ that included all sorts of businesses from my area. Think speed dating on steroids, as we had a few minutes at a table with another entrepreneur to offer our ‘elevator speech’ and let each other know what we did, pass out business cards and then move on the next round. There were realtors, interior designers, artists, musicians, bankers, fitness consultants, coaches, me (who wears a gazillion hats) and then there was Kyle Tevlin. I had met her before at an interfaith community that we are both part of, called Circle of Miracles. Hers was the most unique offering there. It is called I Want A Fun Funeral, with the tagline: Putting A Little Life Into Your Last Wishes. Such a great idea, since more often, families and friends of those who have died are opting for making the service more of a celebration of the life of their loved one. I have attended and officiated at several that would fall into that category. One in particular stands out as the most unique. It was for a man who had end stage cancer and knew that his time in this incarnation was coming to a close. His wife called me and asked if I would meet with him to discuss his wishes for his service. I gladly said yes. I walked into his room and he was lying in bed, watching one of my all-time favorite shows M*A*S*H. I could tell you within the first minute or so what the story line is for an episode. My father and I used to watch it together and I cried at the airing of the Big Event Final Episode, knowing that it was the end of an era. He decided that he wanted a M*A*S*H. focused funeral and asked to be wheeled in to the theme song. I asked incredulously: “Do you mean the lyric “Suicide is painless”? “No, he shook his head and said that he just wanted the music, sans lyrics. I was inspired to begin the service with this classic line ? Attention All Personnel, The first number on tonight's schedule is, uh, Father Mulcahy's solo "I'm Confessin’ That I Love You” This brought a smile to tear strewn faces. Throughout the ceremony, he was honored, praised, lauded, and remembered with fondness by those whose presence there was indeed a confession of love. One of the things that he and his wife enjoyed was karaoke. Some of their crew came to the service and if memory serves, one man with a deep gospel sounding voice sang to him.

Before my own mother’s death in 2010, we sat and talked about her wishes for her service. I was planning on officiating as I had for my father’s funeral in 2008, since I didn’t want a rabbi who didn’t know them well, to deliver the eulogy. After all, who would know them better than the one they raised to be, as my mother laughingly shared when introducing me to a friend as her “Reverend Daughter”? Big stretch for her since I’m sure she would much rather that that I had become a rabbi. The only definitive instruction she had was that I play “that song.” “Which song, Mom?” “You know the one you played for Uncle Jimmy’s and Daddy’s funerals.” I knew which one she meant and I smiled. It was Keep Me In Your Heart For Awhile by Warren Zevon. She had never heard his classic Werewolves of London, Poor, Poor Pitiful Me or Lawyers, Guns and Money, but she resonated with ‘that song’, so play it, we did. I had to add one of her favorites that I had been raised on. With trembling voice, I managed to sing the Nat King Cole version of Nature Boy with the lyrics that spelled out our relationship “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Recently, in conversation with my friend Greg, the subject came up about what I want my funeral to look like. Of course, there has to be dancing, music, chocolate and a Cuddle Party. This is a workshop I offer as a certified facilitator that involves nurturing, non-sexual touch that adults attend in their p.j.’s. Hugs, snuggles, cuddles and massage abound. How cool would that be, to have celebrants instead of mourners, garbed in colorful flannel, sharing what I love best: each other and the relationships that we created. That is a fitting tribute for any life well lived.

Edie Weinstein is a colorfully creative journalist, inspiring transformational speaker, interfaith minister, social worker, radio host (It’s All About Relationships on Vivid Life Radio www.vividlife.me) and the author of The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming The Ordinary Into The Extraordinary. www.liveinjoy.org


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