Grave Expectations – Meredith Vieira’s Comments on a Today Show Interview…

April 15, 2009

Funny what one little book can do to change a life.  Sue Bailey and Carmen Flowers, with their new book: GRAVE EXPECTATIONS are doing just that.  grave-expectations-bookTheir website states:

It was on the drive home from a deadly funeral that we began to toy with the idea of writing this book. Once we got home, and drank enough champagne, we made the commitment to write it.

Life is such a rich, complicated, joyous, mysterious wild ride. Everyone has stories to tell and lessons to pass on, and what better way to do that than when you’re alive? It was your life; your funeral is the one time you can do and say absolutely whatever you want.

As of this writing, there is no alternative to dying. (You can be cryogenically frozen, but we wouldn’t call that life.) Since there’s no getting out of it, why not go ahead and plan your fantasy going “away” party? Is it just us or have you been seeing too many, “She’s not dead… she’s just away” bereavement cards? Of course you can’t really be too upset since according to the card she’s coming back.

We were destined to write a book about planning one’s own funeral. Between us, we have personally experienced three weddings, two divorces (all Carmen) and five suicides of close family members. We’ve nursed four relatives and friends through deaths due to cancer. We’ve survived cancer (Sue) and meningitis (Carmen) and if all that is not enough, we are both orphans. In spite of these experiences, or because of them, we do not fear death at all . . . we appreciate life that much more.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR FUNERAL (or whatever you wish to call it)?

As the population ages and the Baby Boomers come to realize that they have fewer Christmases ahead than they’ve had behind, we all begin to think (from time to time) about our mortality and how we might be remembered by those who are left behind.  Considering the publicity that this book has received, it seems clear that this is on the mind of many, and those who do the interviews are not immune.

Meredith Vieira had these questions on her mind as well.  Here are her comments from her blog:

This morning we did a segment on planning your own funeral, which was inspired by a new book “Grave Expectations.” It was written by two ladies who, after attending one too many funerals that lacked any personal warmth, decided (over one too many glasses of champagne) that people need to change the way they feel about death.

Who better to handle funeral arrangements than the dearly departed…before they go? I know this sounds morbid, but I’ve decided it makes a lot of sense. And it takes the burden off loved ones left behind, allowing them the chance to grieve and celebrate the person who has died without worrying about the funeral arrangements.

In preparing for the segment, I’ve done a lot of thinking about my own farewell. I know I would prefer a party atmosphere with 60’s music (heavy on the Beatles) and lots of Toasted Head Chardonnay. I would want my family and friends to share funny stories along with some sentimental ones. For example, it’s fine to bring up the time I walked half a block with my skirt tucked inside my panty hose after using a public bathroom…but counter it with the time I saved a man who was choking on a chicken bone (ok…maybe that didn’t really happen, but it’s my funeral so I’m allowed to take a few liberties).

I also like the idea of a “green funeral.” even though the thought of a cardboard casket would take some getting used to. Actually, I haven’t decided what to do with my body and it’s become a bone of contention with my husband, Richard, since he thinks I’m going first (romantic, huh?). I’m claustrophobic, so the idea of being in a box, even one that disintegrates, makes me sweat.
And the whole notion of being cremated leaves me cold. My husband keeps saying, “You won’t feel anything,” but how does he know? And according to his game plan, I’m the one who will find out first!

I have considered giving my body to a medical school, but Richard says the students will prop me up, put a party hat on me, and take a lot of goofy pictures. I like a good party as much as the next gal, but his warning has given me pause. Just the same, I know I have to deal with the inevitable. And I hope you start to ponder your hereafter, too. If nothing else, it will remind you how precious life is.  Just drink a few too many glasses of champagne first.  So long, for now…

To Sue and Carmen – CONGRATULATIONS on your new book.  For those who are interested click here to purchase your copy.

To our readers – feel free to comment on just how you would like to be remembered.  YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!

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