Aloha and Mahalo

Hello Peeps!

Hawaii (2)

No, I didn’t forget to get a spray tan, it’s me, I’m dead. Let’s not get into the details, but I’m embracing the weightlessness of afterlife. I’m not usually one for surprises but get ready for the adventure of a — well your — lifetime.

Instead of gathering you all down the road at a church, park, or something totally average and un-me, I’m inviting my besties and a few people who owe me from my living days to my destination funeral in Tulum (please use #Tulumeral).

Hawaii Diamond Head

This isn’t your Grandma’s funeral. I flew around the world, took weekends off, and maybe went into credit card debt for your birthdays, bachelorettes, weddings, second weddings, children’s birthday parties, mixers, whatever, so I’ll be cashing in this last favor. Get your Pilates bodies and designer wallets ready to fiesta in the name of your girl.

As described in my will (written via Notes App), the schedule is STACKED. Please review the itinerary below and RSVP to my mom. See you on the beach.

DAY 1: Set Your Intention (To Party)

Hawaii Hanahuma Bay

Please coordinate to stay at the eco-lodge. It’s $400 (American) a night. A steal. While I won’t have to deal with the impending apocalypse, I took the liberty of ensuring we stay somewhere that is preserving your home, Earth. You’re welcome. A yoga class will be held on the roof while an art piece projecting collages of images of me mashed with audio from my voicemail greeting plays. If you have photos to contribute, please contact Jordan, that artsy guy I dated last summer.

DAY 2: Open Casket & Open Bar!

Hawaii Rest

I’ve arranged for a little bit of the funds from my Save The Goldendoodles Foundation to cover flying our fave hair and makeup girls from Glam Squad to do my open casket makeup1 and get you ready to mourn all morning and spend the night partying on behalf of the departed! The dress code is hot widow. There will be an open bar that my cashed out 401k is covering following the ceremony. A cash bar is getting very tacky post-30. Please take note of that for your future gatherings. Remember, now I’ll always be watching you.

Lauren, you are in charge of overseeing this to ensure my makeup is smoky, sultry, don’t you wish you had made a move while I was alive, etc.

DAY 3: A Weekend to Die For

Hawaii Sunset

Before you head back home, swing by the lobby to nurse your hangover and grab some brunch. The menu is limbo-themed, so enjoy eggs in purgatory and our signature cocktail, the Diablo Michelada. Vegan options will not be available. There’s nothing like creating an awkward vibe in the office when you’re asked about your weekend and extra day off and explain it was for a funeral. Revel in that. Use it to elicit empathy from your office crush, make an IG post dedicated to our times together using photos where you look hotter than me. Death has changed me. I’ll allow it.

See you there or see you in hell!

— Me

Source: 

Final Journey on Earth

She came to Canada by steamship as a young woman in 1958 with a four-day train ride from Halifax to Vancouver as her introduction to Canada.  Vancouver offered the beauty of the ocean, along with the comfort of the mountains that reminder her of her home in Italy.  She married, raised a family, and lived in Kitsilano where she was known for her garden and flowers, which she carefully tended until just weeks before her passing.

Gina Antonioni  July 26, 1936 to October 30, 2013

Gina Antonioni July 26, 1936 to October 30, 2013

She was a supporter, a volunteer, and active participant at the Italian Cultural Centre and Villa Carital until her illness would no longer allow her to help.  Through her work, at Arbutus Manor for many years, and involvement in various clubs and groups, including Catholic League of Women (CWL) and the Circolo Trentino, she had built a large and varied group of friends.

Catholic League of Women

Catholic League of Women

The Easter candle is lit at baptism and lighted again upon death. “In dying we are born to eternal life.”

Easter Candle

Easter Candle

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves.  If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.  For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. ~ Romans 14

Related Link:  Leave of Absence

Leave of Absence

Leaving work mid-morning, my commitment was at 11 a.m.  It’s close by to work, walking distance but I haven’t been to this place.  Plenty of time to walk the inside streets, enjoy the beauty of the autumn day and the rain stopped.

This is the west side of Vancouver, a beautiful neighbourhood that takes pride of their surroundings.  The environment is warm and welcoming.  Homes are old, mostly heritage, painted houses in living colours and well-kept.  Luscious garden, recycled items, ornamental trees and chair to sit around.

There’s nobody around and understandably so, it was work week and the children were at school.  I found myself alone in sweet serenity to commune with nature.

I reached my destination.

Heritage Building

St. Augustine Church.  This is the first time for me to visit the church.  As mentioned in my previous post, Candle in Spain,  I say the same prayer when I visit a church the first time hoping my wishes will be granted.  I did not because I was there for my friend to attend a Mass of Christian Burial of her mother.

Related Link: Candle in Spain

Tell me the truth

This year we gathered for baby James’s baptism and Sean’s first communion.  The baby is fast asleep and Sean is proud showing off his creative side.  Children when asked if they are telling the truth, the response is normally a resounding YES.  Of course.  they are telling the truth.  Look at these innocent faces. They are such angels in the making.

There are also confirmation, weddings, renewal of vows and funeral gatherings.  The centre of all of this is our Catholic faith.

What makes these events memorable is the sharing of stories, the one-up-man-ship and the race who can tell the best story.  We love stories.  One time, I managed to beat my brother-in-law in telling a story.  When it was his turn, his opening remark was “You stole my thunder.”

Back to tell me the truth, the event was at Mother’s funeral mass in April 2010.  When one is grieving, it’s so easy to be distracted.  I remember losing my keys in the church.  How or where I misplaced it was beyond me.  Going from pew to pew, retracing my steps, who I saw, asking the family and children if they have seen or found my keys.

The children said ” I dunno.”  Really, I thought.  I was a child before and something tells me that this is untrue.  No point on upsetting people in an upsetting gathering.

Eventually, it was found.  How it was found, I cannot remember.  One thing though the act, the thief and the liar is all recorded and I have proof.  The guilty person cannot argue with this picture as he was reaching for the keys behind me with his mischievous smile.

And I cannot help but smile, the children grow up and they love listening to this story.

“A family that prays together, stays together.”
“Create in me a pure heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” ~ Psalm 51:10
“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil” ~ Matthew 6:13

Related Links:

It’s a good day to die.

It was a sunny day yesterday and hot by the time it was 1o a.m.  I walked to church in this extreme weather and I thought it’s a good day to die. 
Walking to church takes me 30 minutes but with the heat, it took longer.  I felt so sluggish and the heat slows me down. 
I can’t remember the last time I was at this church.   As I recall, it was a funeral.  Here I am again, going to attend to another funeral. 
Sigh, another dearly departed.  
At my age, I am starting to resign, no, accept is a better word; accept the fact that one by one, in my inner circle, death is just around the corner. 
It’s a good day to die, I vocalized it this time with my family. My family is used to the morbid way I speak. 
Then I struck a conversation about being buried.  This is the first time I am going to an Italian and Filipino funeral.  So far so good, it’s very civilized. 
Niece #2 mentioned that she had been to a Portuguese funeral and there are so much drama. 
Well, there won’t be any drama in my funeral, for sure.  I want a party!  This body will be cremated.  Said I. 
Niece #1’s  face lit up and asked me: Can I keep some ashes and put you beside the astray while I smoke.   We are both smoker and we had so many good conversations over a cup of tea and a smoke. Or can I sprinkle your ashes in my garden since you love gardening, she added. 
Sure why not but you have to ask permission, I said. 
Her Mom interjected in our conversation that it is unacceptable in the Catholic tradition to keep some ashes for memorabilia or spread it around.  It must be buried in the cemetery.  
So much for that brilliant idea. 
In the cemetery, our dearly departed was buried in a Mausoleum.  Her site is on the fourth level. 
When the service was finished, I roamed around checking out the rows and high-rise cemetery to get an idea how the cremated ones are kept. 
This is what I found and how I want it to be when they bury me. 
Of course, the writings will be in English with a couple of additions:  a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.