Advance Care Directive & After Death Care Instructions:
i would prefer to die (and be cared for prior to death) at home, however if this is too much drain on everyone, it’s ok to have me in care. Ideally if i die in winter, i’d be next to the biggest plate-glass window you can find, and i’d have the heating turned up full bore (but silent), and some small window (elsewhere – maybe not direct drafts on me) open for fresh air simultaneously. Not very environmentally friendly i know, but that’s how i like it 😉 – and no, i can’t bring myself to do this now in winter while i’m alive, too much waste of precious resources, but when i’m dying, let’s make me happy :). If i die in summer, i’d like to die on a shady bit of a beach or on a verandah. i’d be happy to die any time of year in my parents’ sunroom.
i really hate hospital smells (they make me anxious, and trigger memories of being a small child walking away from my baby sister in hospital, and not wanting to go, being confused about why we were leaving her, sad, anxious etc). So please do whatever you can to avoid / eliminate / reduce any hospital smells for me (bunch/s flowers, air-purifying plants, essential oil burner, open window/s etc). Including keeping me out of hospital or hospice if possible.
Brazilian rosewood oil is my favourite, for before or after death use.
After death, I want Jen O’Bryan and Cath Schylder to be in charge of helping friends and family to wash and anoint my body, according to anthroposophical / buddhist / quaker practice / whatever feels right to everyone.
If i die somewhere other than home, i want to be brought home – for the above after-death care in my own home. Doesn’t need to be in my own bed unless C&R want me there – C&R will probably need to sleep there in between helping care for me, and while i’d love them to sleep with me after i’m dead for a day or two, they might not be into that / want to remember my dead body every time they go to bed. Although given how much R and i love sleeping together, he might well be happy to sleep with my spirit when i’m dead as well as when i’m alive. i could be laid out on a long table in our living room, much like when we had my 40th long table all weekend food fest.
I want people to hold vigil with my dead body for at least 1-2 days, but as long as they’d like. Please don’t bury or cremate me until my spirit has fully departed (typically 2-3 days after death – you will all know when i’ve finally gone / am ready to let go of my body). Buddhist practices around transitioning from this world to the next have always rung true to me – there is a buddhist monk attached to the Whittle ward who can assist with this. Sit ‘shiva’ for me: a Jewish tradition where friends and family gather each evening for a week or so after death, for prayers, tea and cake, and to swap memories. The Kaddish could be sung, and some requiem mass Gregorian chant. Or both. Also the Shostakovich (Tatiana Nikolayevna) piano preludes and fugues. Or Bach (Glen Gould) preludes and fugues. i do love the Mozart Req, but it may be over the top to play this unless someone is feeling particularly like doing so. There is good evidence that sitting through the length and symbolic stages of a requiem mass (in my case, the musical settings of, not an actual catholic requiem mass) help mourners transition / reflect. Maybe people might prefer to listen to the Mozart Req as a private memorial ceremony to me. Probably the only time in my life i’ll ever suggest Mozart! (he wrote relatively boring cello parts).
i want a quaker funeral, ideally with my shrouded body (or coffin’d if absolutely necessary) on a (shade available / early morning / late afternoon) beach, for everyone to ponder and contribute as they see fit. Maybe Sandrock with my (preferably unshrouded, unconfined / uncoffined) body ferried in and out by Poppy Olive?!
My body (not on the Poppy Olive, maybe a raft or something) could then be set fire to, a la Viking – or burned outdoors. Possibly difficult to do legally in Tas. Shrouded cremation will do as a substitute.