A tweet from Ireland’s most prolific journalist Eamonn Mallie set me thinking about death this week. “Roselawn: not my favorite departure lounge” he wrote, and I have to say I agree. The cemetery sits high above East Belfast and manages to combine the dull smugness of the suburbs it overlooks with its own depressing, chilly order. It is the last place I’d like to spend all eternity.
The sudden death of a friend’s husband this week has forced me to think more about my final resting place. David Stemper died last Saturday morning, playing basketball. This Saturday morning his teammates missed their weekly game and joined the congregation at David’s memorial service. He was 59.
David was fit and healthy, so his death is a terrible shock. If it were me, people would say ” Poor thing, she had it coming” and they’d be right. All of which reminds me that I really must update my will before Hansel turns 21 in November: he is a boy more suited to a trust than an inheritance.
When I lived in North London, I used to think it would be fun to be carted off to Highgate cemetery in a coach drawn by black-plumed horses. I could lie forever in the cool, damp soil by Dickens and Marx and take comfort in the fact that I had disrupted Saturday shoppers on their way to Waitrose, or fans who’d turned up early for the Arsenal match; it would have been nice to have tourists walk by.
Now I live in Itchy Ankle the horse and carraige would seem a little over the top, especially if, as seems likely, it is the summer heat that kills me. I’ll opt for the crem and and hope my neighbors can somehow bury my ashes in the garden. It’s bound to be against the rules as we’re so close to the Chesapeake Bay, but no doubt they’ll manage. Marilyn can use her post hole diggers. Among the day lilies would be nice, but a shaded spot by the shed will do just fine.