10 Rules Upon My Death

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10 rules upon my death?!

For the reals?

Think of this as a not-to-be-taken-completely-seriously guide to final wishes, or a fun-time death note.

10 rules upon my death text graphic

I met a fellow writer for coffee and the talk turned to how I handled my diagnosis with humor.

I laughed because it’s pretty much how I handle everything; it’s in my DNA, y’all.

As we yapped about all things breast cancer, the discussion turned to preparing for death (listen, when you face a serious medical crisis, you’re gonna talk about dying. a. lot.).

The more I shared, a tongue-in-cheek list of my death plan, the more she laughed. 

“You really need to write a post about your rules for your funeral.”

Instead of rules for my funeral, I tweaked the idea:

10 Rules Upon My Death

10 Rules Upon My Death

(buckle in, y’all!)

#10: Do not have a funeral.

That’s right, no funeral.

No church full of uncomfortable folks, thinking about their own mortality.

No somber hugs. No eulogy.

No mass of depressing funeral clothing.

No general awkwardness.


#9: Only family and close friends (framily) at the interment.

A small grouping is good. Intimate. Understanding.

Comforting to those left behind.

#8: Get me in the ground FAST.

No embalming, cause it creeps me out. (< reason for no funeral and the modest posse at burial.)

It’s an inconvenience to ask anyone but f(r)amily to drop what they’re doing in three days time and get to seeing you off.

#7: When I say burial, I mean put me above ground in a climate-controlled mausoleum, so you can be comfortable in your overwhelming grief.

A bench nearby with some foam bats to work out your heartbreak would be a nice touch.

You gots to get that emotion out – don’t hold it in, baby!

#6: Make sure you clean out the fridge and under the stove and all the closets before you let one grieving soul into my house.

Don’t forget to scrub the toilets, vacuum the blind slats, and sweep out last year’s leaves from under the patio table.

Burn my journals, erase my computer history, and clean out my underwear drawer.

I’m Southern to my dying breath and these thangs matter.

Ain’t no one needs a back-handed “bless her heart” post-death.

#5: I’d like a few specific treasures to go to a few specific treasured people.

This, of course, sets-up a graceless situation, as some might think they’re on the short list for special items, but are mistaken, so I propose a solution: Give the actual treasures to individuals on a one-by-one basis. The rest of the folks can come by on an appointed day to go through a room set up with “my treasures” without knowing the old switchero has happened. (I see some of you thinking my trickery has been blown by posting the info here.


Most folks who know me in real life, don’t bother to read anything I write.

They have tried to understand what it is I do, but simply think of me as the eccentric in the group to be side-eyed.

If you really want to make me happy, give them a set amount of time in which to choose, a starting line and use a blow-horn to start and stop the timer.

Let the games begin!

#4: A wake.

Have a blow-your-pants-off wake instead of a funeral.

If your pants are actually blown off during the merriment, y’all did it right!

Short list of must-haves: booze, cake (my Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake would be perfect and easy to make!), rock from the 70s, carbs (so many carbs!), an adult bouncy house (this is where your pants might blow off), dancing, and copious reminiscing of the good times we had and laughing.

If you’re not laughing, you’re doing it wrong.

Also, since I was never granted my 40th birthday wish of chasing, then tackling, a variety of team mascots while running bases, I would very much like for this to happen on my behalf.

Don’t act like that doesn’t sound like fun!

Ready? Set. RUN, mascot bitches!

#3: Before my casket is closed, I’d like my fully charged cell phone placed with me.

Then, on the day I’m slipped into the mausoleum, just as a small crowd quiets for a short prayer before the wake, with heads bowed…a phone rings.

Folks are giving each other the stink eye.

Whose phone is that?! Turn it off! How rude!

Takes a minute, but soon the realization dawns; the call is coming from within.

As Boy put it: corpse crank call! Yep, that apple fell right next to the tree!

#2: Make sure Sweet E reads my open letters to him.

These will balance the off-color raucous stories that folks will certainly share as he gets older.

Choochie wasn’t just a goof, baby. No way. Sometimes she had important things to impart.

Uh-Huh! DID SO!

#1: This one is important: I’d like a grieving inconsolable relative to throw themselves upon my casket at the interment and WAIL so shrill and with such a deafening volume that the angels in Heaven will cover their ears in pain.

You know, just in case there is any mix-up or question about my entrance into the Pearly Gates.

You gotta figure if someone is carrying on in such an undone way that the deceased was one swell individual.



While the idea of planning for my death was serious business, it couldn’t be all heaviness of heart with us; we found a way to laugh, too.

As we get older and funerals are more common, I’ve had lots of time to think, sitting in the pews, celebrating the lives of others.

When someone dies, I always wonder: Is this what they wanted?

Maybe so; maybe no.

All I know is that I’ve had the opportunity to really think about what I would want – in regards to the life I’ve lived and those I’ve loved.

I want my exit to be filled with laughter, love, and the happiest of memories.


Because I wouldn’t wish anyone any undue pain or having the burden of actually following through on my silliness, I’m okay with whatever makes folks happy once I’m gone.

The truth of this matter is that I’ve told Garry to do what he’s comfortable with and whatever makes him happy, you know, should I go first.

Although, that wake sounds like a good time, right?

Do you have a rule or two upon your death?

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~ Originally posted October 9, 2015 – Updated post February 15, 2020 ~

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  1. Axiesdad aka Bob says

    I totally agree with your last paragraph; spouse, kids, whomever should do what makes them feel better. With one caveat: KEEP IT CHEAP! Grandma B has called me cheap for years, I sure don’t want her throwing a s__t load of money into a hole in the ground. 🙂

    • Once, Garry suggested we could just toss him in the woods, cause he loves the woods. I vetoed that one, but we had a lot of fun imagining the hows of getting that done. Lawsy!

  2. My family knows that there better NOT be a funeral for me. I HATE them! I always think of all the wasted resources; money, time ,and land upon which food could be grown. So my simple rule is wrap my dead self in a white sheet (because that’s the only kind I have and who has time for running colors), and toss onto the nearest pyre, (or the crematorium down the road because Texas has rules against burning bodies on pyres) , then have a gathering of family and cry if you want to, but laugh until the cows come home since that’s how we have always been with each other, and my death shouldn’t change that.

    • Lol! I think folks can feel obligated/pressured into showing their love through unnecessary funeral costs when a loved one dies. I like the simple, thoughtful, easy-on-the-heart/purse-strings alternatives. And the laughing…so much yes!

  3. Rocio Chavez says

    Lol, yes, yes and yes! Totally agree on a party vs. sob fest and love that cell phone prank – too good! Love how you take everything in stride and with a great sense of humor 😀

  4. Pure perfection Patti! #6 is SO ME! And #3 completely cracked me up!!! How fantastic would that be?? I know you’ve had these conversations. When I had my health blip in January, Greg and I had a serious conversation one night as I was laying in the hospital bed. Not fun to think about but I wanted it done right! I told him, if I die, NOT to marry my best friend! Oh the horror!

  5. This kind of sounds like my plans!

  6. Christine Ferguson says

    My husband and I had decided on that very kind of farewell. Immediately slip us into a green area (in a cemetery) then go have a good ole party with the friends and family. I didn’t realize there were others on the same page.

  7. LOL What fun! My best friend and I used to laugh about her mom’s “Do Not Invite to My Funeral” list. She’d pick fights with little old ladies and then call her daughter to add another name to the list. By the time she died, though, all the “Do Not Invites” were already dead themselves, so no one had to dishonor her wishes!
    I have a few rules for distribution of my 250+ cookbooks. After I’m buried, the girls stand in front of my bookcase, and, from oldest to youngest, make a choice until they’re gone. Then there’s my 6 cats. Everybody takes two each or no money! IF you cannot take two, another sister can buy you out for $10K per cat of your inheritance. Same bonus for whoever takes the dog!
    There you have it – the things that are most important to me – my cats and cookbooks – the rest of the junk can be garage-saled!

  8. Hahaha, great post. I love your sense of humour about it all. I’m with you on the no funeral bit.I hate the idea of family forking out huge sums of money for that stuff – best to spend it on the wake. I love that you thought of the fridge and the toilets.

  9. I love #6 because I can so relate to it! No big funeral for me either. My husband and I always say we want to be cremated and the kids can spread our ashes wherever they should choose.

  10. Great list. I especially love #1. LOL I’ve told family and friends that I would like to be put through a wood chipper and spread out in the woods. Not sure why I think that’s funny. But seriously, funerals are for the living not the dead. What will give my loved ones closure is the right way to see me off.

  11. Can we hang together before you die? You are so much fun!

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