How cruel it is
for a dying person
to tell loved ones –
those who have sat
night and day by the sick bed –
to do such-and-so after death.
it seems to me,
these dying requests place hardship
upon those who are left.
For some reason
dying requests are taken seriously
even if the living ones were not.
The terms of Wills are taken more seriously still
(probably because it cost so much money
to have those wishes codified).
What on earth are we, the living, afraid of?
Having left the pain and sorrow of life,
why would our dead person want to return?
Imagine your dead aunt/mother/father
coming back to see if you bought the mahogany casket
or the pine box! Kicking the tires, as it were;
checking the quality.
Or to see if you played Mozart instead of Whitesnake
at the funeral!
Do the dead have our petty concerns?
Or do their ghosts giggle
at our frantic efforts to obey their now-meaningless orders?
I once made a will;
I once wrote out my funeral instructions.
I see now how crazy it is to have done so,
to hold people to a dead woman’s desires.
Sure, I can’t find those dying wishes anyway
in the plethora of papers I’ve amassed.
But what if my loved ones do?