Mom was telling me about someone she knows who just revealed they have pancreatic cancer, stage IV. Realistically looking at their odds, he has already started planning for his departure from this world. An Irishman, he wants his life to be celebrated via an Irish wake versus the sad mourning of a traditional funeral.
Dad had no ceremony when he left this earth. It was impossible to know if that’s how he would have wanted it, because he had a fear of death and would not discuss the particulars when he still had his mind. Dad’s family is in Ireland and Australia, so there’s no way they would have come to New Mexico for a funeral. And while Dad was liked by the locals, he didn’t have any close friends, so the invitation list would have been small. Then there was that winter storm, combined with the Christmas holiday that delayed Dad’s physical departure from this earth. (His cremation was delayed until a doctor was available to sign the death certificate. He died five days before Christmas, but was kept in the morgue of a funeral home for several days until the paperwork was completed.)
I do like the idea of a wake, where one’s memory is celebrated. Mourning certainly has its time and place, but I prefer to do that privately. And the sadness, the grief comes because of what the deceased person meant to others. I think Dad would have approved pint glasses of Guinness raised high in his honor and memory.