Since July, I had three out of four grandparents die.
I’m sorry. How you doing? People ask me.
I’m very lucky to have known them for twenty-five years.
I’m grateful that they lived long, full, successful, and happy lives.
I’m fortunate to work a flexible job, living only a few hours away from them, so I got to spend time with them before they passed, and I get to support my family as they grieve.
Heck, I’m lucky that I still have one grandma left—who’s so adaptable and intelligent that she Facebooks (when did that become a verb?) me on her iPhone!
What else can I say? I’m sad they’re gone, but more than anything I celebrate their lives. I celebrate the times we spent together, and the things they taught me—both personally and through my parents. Patience, hard work, innovation, laughter, integrity, strong relationships, and community engagement were important to all three. Family was important, as was independent thinking. They taught me the value of safety balanced with calculated risk, both financially and socially (two helped get Ron Paul elected for the first time). I can’t think of a single negative memory of any of my grandparents. They certainly weren’t perfect to everyone else, but they were to me.
I’m proud of the way my family was able to grieve their loss while celebrating their lives.
Still, I want to go on record here saying that my funeral should be an all out rave. I want it to be a Porange Funeral—I don’t want you to wear black, I want you to wear Pink and Orange. I want you to talk about your beliefs about death, Heaven, reincarnation, and the purpose of life while drinking 512 Pecan Porter. Forget hymns—I want a band there to play “Bring it Home.” Pass out lyric sheets and get everyone to sing along. Actually someone have them play all the songs they can from all of my old bands, from Spinaker to Moxie to Achachay! Dance. Get Aaron to DJ, and have Zach play along with some Brazilian cowbells. Sweat out the grief of death, as I sweat in fully living life. And when you think about me, think fondly of the fun memories we made together. When you wonder what I might have thought about a certain situation, go read a Ken Wilber book or listen to an interview on Integral Life. When you want my advice, flip open a page of A Course in Miracles. For God’s sake, literally for God’s sake, start a meditation and journaling practice like I’ve been urging you to.
If you want a traditional funeral for your sake, and for the sake of people around you, that’s fine. I’m going to care even less about it after my death than I do now. But if you want to honor what’s true, celebrate life! Death and life are inseparable. Like north and south on a globe, they’re the same. This body has never been anything but a faint glimmer what I truly am, what you truly are, what is True and never ceases to exist anyway.