This week my dear friend Mary Elizabeth (names have been changed to protect the guilty) had a fairly serious surgery. I won’t go into the details because it is her story to tell. I will just say that it struck fear in my heart. I’m not ready to lose another old friend (not that we are old mind – I am referencing the length of the friendship). She was in my prayers several times a day for the past few weeks. My mind wandered to her and her family more times than I care to admit.
The good news, she made it through the surgery with flying colors. Mary Katherine and I stalked her husband for two days for even the smallest of details. Finally on Wednesday she popped up in our always open private chat box with a smart-assed comment about something another person we all know had shared and we knew that our beautiful Mary Elizabeth was going to be just fine.
I am not a crier by nature but tears filled my eyes. She was back and sassier than ever. Filling us in on the details I think Mary Katherine and I realized how close we came to losing her. It was humbling, frightening and so many other adjectives I can’t possibly think of at the moment.
As typical with Mary Elizabeth she downplayed the seriousness of the actual event and played up the yumminess of the popsicle she’d just eaten (I believe foodgasm might have been used). Two days post surgery she was already talking about going home. She had all of her family whipping the house into shape in preparation for her return. All Mary Katherine and I could do was smile. We had our friend back. The funeral pact could be put to rest (hopefully for a long time).
Now you might think it odd we have such a thing (odd, morbid, tomato tomahto…). However, we each have definite ideas on how we want to leave this world. And while we love our families and significant others to bits, we’re not really sure that we trust them to honor our wishes. Thus, the funeral pact…
Mary Elizabeth, our quintessential southern belle, wants a big splashy funeral. She wants, and I quote, “to look just like a drag queen.” She wants her boobs high and on display. This day is about her and damn well she is going to look fantastic. I envision something like the “Sweet Potato Queens” gowns. Big hair, big boobs, lots of makeup. (If you haven’t read those books do yourself a favor they are spectacular – and I don’t just say that because the author is a friend. Mary Elizabeth is a benevolent queen so she will (most likely) let us pick our own colors (for our gowns) but hers will have to be the nicest. That’s what Mary Katherine and I have solemnly promised. To make sure whoever does her makeup and hair knows that MORE is MORE and it is good.
Mary Katherine has been the quietest about her funeral. She does want her boobs high on display. But more importantly, she wants to make sure her hair looks good. She is (I say blessed she says cursed) with gorgeous curly hair. I have promised to find whatever product Alex Kingston uses and use it on her hair so that it looks that good at her funeral. Beyond that, good booze, good food and good friends. Luckily Mary Elizabeth and I are excellent cooks so if we cater we can promise that. We also promise to keep all “Shit” cakes away (that’s an inside joke that I likely won’t ever explain but they get it.)
My funeral won’t be a funeral. I DO NOT WANT ONE. Not because I think I will live forever I simply don’t want one. I don’t want any maudlin music or even a church service (yes I am Catholic and quite devout), I just don’t care for funerals. I want a wake but a small one. I plan on being cremated. I want a few of my closest friends (Mary Elizabeth & Mary Katherine know who) to fly off to some fantastic location (Beach preferable – the Napali Coast comes to mind) and as the sun sets they are to crack the seal on a brand new bottle of Jameson’s, take a shot and scatter me to the four winds. Music is optional but it better be something upbeat (Baby Got Back or Anaconda comes to mind).
These are the promises we’ve made to one another. Perhaps we are morbid for having these conversations. I think it is more about old friends that have no boundaries. A bonus for being in on the funeral pact, if I go first whoever gets to my house and wipes my browser history clean gets my Coach purse collection. I hope they don’t kill me…