The After Party

When I die, I do not want a funeral. I want a party. A very big party.

Funerals suck, everybody knows it. And yet, the best part of being forced to attend a funeral and acknowledge someone’s passing is spending time with all of the people you rarely get to see.

For me, we’re skipping the suck and going straight to the best.

No service, no burial, no body. Donated to science, left at the bottom of the canyon, whatever, wherever, you won’t need it for closure, trust me. It was just a body.

Need to say goodbye? Come to the party, I’ll be there– in spirit, mind and memory.

My mother died at the age of 26. I believe that my every year since 26 has been a gift. Whenever I go, I’ll be proud of the life I have lived. Not to rush anything, I’m in no hurry, but 26 keeps things in perspective, you know? And besides, I have this great fete to organize.

I’ve been planning my After Party for years. Decades even. The guest list evolves, the play list expands and the venue is always TBD.

There will be decorations, food, music, booze and a lot of people you’ll look forward to seeing.

The decorations will be my stuff. Things I have made, things I collect, things I enjoy surrounding myself with. Please take these things home with you—consider them my parting gifts. There probably won’t be a lot of pictures of me to display, I’m usually on the other side of the camera, and I don’t like to have my picture taken. But of the photos available, well, suffice it to say my great-grandchildren may believe me to be the coolest great-grandma ever by my liberal use of the middle finger.

An extensive nacho bar will be provided. And pretty much anything you can make in a crock pot. Unless it’s summer, then there will be a nacho bar and salads. And desserts, oh my god, lots of desserts. Because, if there’s anything you can take from this party, it’s that life is too short, eat dessert first.

You would not believe the bands that have topped my After Party playlist. I seem to be musically fickle. I went through a Sam & Dave phase. Then there was Thin Lizzy. (I know?!) Billy Squier is always a worthy default. Journey was considered, but removed. Too sappy. If it comes up soon, you’ll be listening to Kasabian. And everyone gets a Mary Song sampler to take home. Another of my parting gifts.

An open bar is absolutely essential. I’m in the process of getting McDonald’s to provide the soda fountain. What better tribute to honor me than a McD’s large Diet Coke? Cheers. There will be plenty of varieties of beer; I’m fickle in that way, too. Some of the wines and whiskeys I’ve been collecting for the After Party may have aged nicely by then. If not, mix it with club soda and lemonade.

There will be bouncers. And a “guest list.” Since everyone I have ever met is invited (I’ve even toyed with the idea of proper invitations—the designer and mail enthusiast in me), the “guest list” will actually include people who are not allowed to attend. I’m hoping it’s very short, but you never know… It will contain the names of people who, for whatever reason, did not like me. If you can’t appreciate me in life, you will not be allowed to appreciate me in death. If you need some sort of last minute epiphany, you better get to it. (Not that those people are reading my blog, right?)

There is to be minimal weeping. C’mon, this is a celebration of life! A celebration of all the things I accomplished, all the ridiculous things I did, whether intentional or not, and especially, all of the people I’ve known—laughed, loved, worked, played with. Basically this party is for you.

I want you to eat too much, drink too much, dance too much and laugh too much. The next day when you complain about your achy sides and someone asks you what was so funny, I want you to tell them, “Mary died.”




About Mary Fran Says

I am an artist, crafter, designer and writer. I enjoy working with mixed media-- applying visual and tactile manipulations to telling a story. Not a lot of market for that, though, :), so I'm focusing on short story submissions and novel completions. Yes, plural. Lots of beginnings, too many ideas, not enough focus.
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6 Responses to The After Party

  1. Mary, I love this! I feel the same way. I’ve told my kids that I want my funeral to be a party. That’s the way one should go out, with a bang!

  2. ina says:

    Mary — I love this too and my sentiments are very similar to yours. Having just been to a funeral a couple weeks ago for someone who died way too young and having three friends who’s fathers have died this year alone already, your words were quite comforting. Life is a celebration. Every Day.

  3. Kristin says:

    It’ll be an amazing party! Is it wrong of me to want to out live you so that I can attend?

  4. Rebecca says:

    This was my mother’s philosophy. She wanted Kermit singing “The Rainbow Connection” (the elementary school teacher in her), and a party, and balloons released. She got it all. We even found a picture of her with a glass of champagne toasting something in some foreign country; so we put it there. It was that same picture that occupied a chair at my son’s wedding that she had so wanted to attend.

  5. Pingback: MaryFranniversary! | Mary Lamphere

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