So it is only when you really get old that you should consider that you are mortal and plan your funeral, right? Wrong: because you never know what’s going to happen. Here’s a good example….
Dave Freeman wrote 100 Things to do before you die. It became an international best-seller and with the proceeds he moved into a lovely home in California. At the age of 47, and probably still unused to the layout of his new mansion, he fell down some stairs and died of his injuries.
With unknowing prescience he wrote in the introduction: “This life is a short journey. How will you fill it with the most fun, and visit all the coolest places on earth, before you pack those bags for the very last time?” Mr Freeman’s family said he had only managed to visit half the places he recommended in his book.
So rather than letting your age determine when you plan your ending, here are 20 lifestyle choices which mean you should plan your funeral now:
1 Playing dangerous or extreme sports
Lots of sports are dangerous, including climbing, mountain biking, rugby, gravity and balance sports (such as skateboarding, surfing, streetlugge), hang gliding, bull running, scuba diving, pot holing, motor sports…
2 Taking recreational drugs
How often do we read of people dieing because they overdose on ecstacy; or cocaine; or crack; or heroin; or amphetamines; or ketamine. Dope clouds your judgement and messes up you lungs. Acid can fool you into thinking you are indestructible. Of course, it won’t happen to you, but just in case, write down your funeral wishes now before the next session…
3 Riding a bike
Due often to their own stupidity, but usually more so that of car and lorry drivers, cyclists are the roads’ most vulnerable users.
4 Riding a motor bike;
Same as 3 above, though slightly less vulnerable and in my experience a great deal more road savvy…but how often is it the motorist’s fault: ‘I just never saw him!’
5 Part of the armed forces;
Whether victims of improvised bombs or rocket attacks in countries we have no business fighting in; or peacekeeping where there is just about a moral argument for our troops to be involved; or training accidents, being a member of Her Majesty’s armed forces means you have a much higher chance of being killed than the rest of us.
6 Member of the police force
All too often victims of armed robbers.
7 Armed robbers
Often the victims of armed police (so don’t be an armed robber).
8 Very rich owner of a house that is tempting to armed robbers
Thieves are becoming more dangerous, and the numbers of burglaries involving armed robbers is growing. Confront them, and it may well end in tragedy.
9 Screwing someone else’s partner
The whole sexual infidelity thing can end in more than tears. When jealous rage takes over, judgement goes out the window and revenge takes hold. So whichever corner of the triangle you occupy, be careful…it’s a dangerous place once you are found out, or once you find out! In future one of those cosy conversations could concentrate on the kind of funeral you want should ‘you know who’ finds out…
10 Drinking heavily
Long term health hazard. More likely to fall over, to get into fights, to have domestic accidents, and absolutely lethal to yourself and to others when driving or riding, or indeed walking…make that stumbling. If you persist in drinking heavily, in your more sober moments think about planning your funeral while still capable of rational decision making.
11 Dangerous jobs
Despite the best endeavours of the Health and Safety industry, some jobs are dangerous. These include scaffolder, window cleaner, race track steward, spy, magician’s assistant, lollipop man or woman on busy road, lion trainer, prostitute, terrorist, bull fighter, bouncer, human cannonball, roofer, deep sea fisherman, lifeboat crew…If you have one of these jobs, best to plan for the funeral you want now – who knows what tomorrow will bring?
12 Dangerous locations
Some places are more dangerous than others. A house on a busy road is more likely to be hit by a lorry than one in the middle of a field. Getting to your house on a busy road will be more dangerous than if you live in a quiet village. Be aware of sea views…one day that cliff could erode and hey presto, you are on the beach with your house on top of you! Also consider the neighbours…can you be sure the people next door aren’t making home made bombs? If they are, can you be sure they know what they are doing?
13 Owning a dangerous pet (or visiting someone who owns one)
The docile rottweiler may lose its temper; the python might crush you; the leopard is no longer willing to be a playful kitten; the crocodile’s jaws can cut you in half…do you know of other dangerous pets that people have? If so, don’t visit them as dangerous animals are more likely to harm strangers.
14 About to have a baby
Research into maternal death found that the death rate had risen from almost ten per 100,000 women in 1987 to almost 14 per 100,000 in 2005. Actually, it was not that many – 295. The rise was put down to increased obesity in young women leading to heart disease. So if you are pregnant and overweight, you might want to add a death plan to the birth plan.
15 Selling a kidney or having other unwise medical interventions
Messing with the body, particularly when done by untrained or illegally practicing surgeons can easily lead to death. So if you are embarking on such foolish paths, finalise your funeral plans before the surgery.
16 Considering suicide
Despite the utter stupidity and selfishness of people who consider suicide, a small proportion attempt it and a fair amount have a successful conclusion. They die. Dead people have funerals. So, should you be so utterly stupid and selfish that you are considering suicide, it’s a good idea to play your funeral now.
17 If you walk under places where suicidal people might jump from – bridges, tall buildings, cliffs
One of the most common ways suicidal people commit suicide is jumping from bridges, tall buildings and cliffs. So, take a risk assessment of where you regularly walk or worse still, stand for fairly long periods. Being hit by a person falling from a decent height will almost certainly kill you, so it’s best to have planned the funeral you want before the idiotic and selfish suicide lands on you.
18 About to enter hospital
More people die in hospital than anywhere else. So if you are about to enter hospital, plan for the worst.
19 Jehovah’s Witness
If you are a Jehovah’s Witness you will know you are not allowed blood transfusions that might save your life. A life not saved is a life lost…funeral time. Planned yours yet?
20 Young gang members
If you are a member of a teenage gang, think ahead! Especially if you are involved in gangs where knives and guns are used in fights over drug dealing; girls; lack of respect; revenge; and to show courage and strength. Knives and guns lead to death. Death requires funerals. So, if you are a young guy in a gang and armed with a knife or a gun, plan your funeral now!
So if you fall into one of these 20 categories, don’t put your funeral planning off until it is too late.
Instead, ensure you go out in the style you want, with the music you want playing and the tribute you want written, and the people you want to attend being there.
And if you are planning your funeral, you should also write your will.
If you don’t do it, your funeral and financial affairs will be organised by your family or the state, and neither are likely to do it well.