“If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song.”
From when I was a little boy, I have always had the same aspiration in life: to have the best funeral ever. A funeral where I could finally say to myself: “Damn, you did well. You tried your best. It’s fine.”
I have never really feared death. In fact, I have always looked forward to it. These thoughts probably started after a particular incident in primary school.
When I was in primary school, we had assembly meetings every morning. All students had to stand with their classmates and class teacher in an orderly manner and listen to endless blabbers of notices and addresses which nobody could ever remember. One particular announcement left a permanent impact with me.
That particular morning was enveloped by a more somber tone, like a midnight drive on a foggy night. There was something haunting with the facial expressions of the teachers in the hall. As our headmistress walks up to the podium, she kept her formal and removed expressions and began to speak.
“Today, we are extremely disheartened to say that one of our graduates passed away on his way to his secondary school yesterday morning,” she said in her usual emotionless tone.
Right after expressing her condolences, she moved on to the usual mundane blabber as if nothing happened. The teachers, however, were extremely affected by the news. I still remembered the sadness in my class teacher’s eyes, and how envious I was at that moment.
The teachers were reluctant in telling us what happened to the boy, but I later found out that the graduate was impaled by a falling bamboo scaffolding on the truck in front of them. I was not at all disgusted by these gruesome details, but in fact, I admired him. I admired how he was able to last a strong impression on my teachers. How he was able to make a bunch of people mourn for him, just because he was dead. This prompted my intense yearning for my death since primary school.
“You know what, I might not even live through primary school,” I said when I was Primary Four.
“I’ll tell you this. I think I might get run over by a car when I graduate,” I boasted we were talking about of future beyond primary school.
“Tell me you’re gonna mourn for me in my funeral,” I told my roommate in secondary school one night after a fight.
“You know, it could happen any minute now, and I am absolutely ready and willing to leave this mess of a life,” I assured my friend in my neighborhood park a month before graduation.
My aspiration in life: to have a kick-ass funeral with people mourning for me, give tear-jerking speeches, sing all my favorite songs, and regret about all the things they did not do or say. But most importantly, I wanted my funeral to be a signal for the attendees to treasure their life and to not to have any more regrets. I wanted my funeral to leave an impact in their lives. I wanted my death to finally mean something. Something that my life failed to represent.
If only I could die young…