Oh When I Die #TuesdayTidbit #Jottings #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.




My late husband Bill loved organizing things. He planned every little detail of our wedding, including who would bring us a plate of food at the reception. Naturally, a few years after he suffered two strokes that paralyzed his left side, he decided to plan and pay for his own funeral.

We visited one funeral home and weren’t impressed. A representative from another came to our home. Right away, we liked him and what he had to offer.

At the time, we were living in Sheridan, Wyoming, where I still reside today. Bill wanted to be buried with his family in Fowler, Colorado, about 500 miles away. We were assured that when the time came, that could be arranged.

It felt strange, planning a funeral for someone who was still alive. But when Bill’s time came, I was glad everything was arranged in advance. He wanted only a graveside service, which turned out to be lovely, despite the November wind. Many people attended, including my dad, two uncles, an aunt, and cousins. Several of Bill’s friends shared their memories of him. As he requested, I played my guitar and sang “Stormy Weather.” You can read more about this in My Ideal Partner.

I just turned sixty last summer. I should start thinking about planning my own funeral. It would make things easier for my family like Bill’s making and paying for his arrangements did for me. But I have so many questions.

My brother once told me that when people die, they simply cease to exist. So, what is it like not to exist? We talk about pets crossing a rainbow bridge when they die. Why can’t humans do the same thing like in this song by Abba?

Then again, what if, when you die, you’re still aware of what’s going on around you, even though you can’t move or talk. If this is the case, cremation is definitely out for me, since I’ve always been fearful, yet respectful of fire. Lying underground would be boring but not painful. Yet, burial is more expensive than cremation.

I know one thing for sure. I want to sing for my own funeral. When I’m ready to make arrangements, I’ll provide the funeral home with one or two recordings of me singing songs with piano or guitar accompaniment that can be played during the service. I know this sounds vain, but when I die, I want a celebration of life, where people can hear me sing one last time and share memories.

How about you? Have you thought about what you want done when your time comes? Thanks to Morpethroad for inspiring this post.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?



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At the Graveside

A cold, windy November morning,

the sun provides little warmth

as we sit in chairs under an awning.

In the casket, he lies,

not a wretch, but a man I love,

his passing my life’s eclipse.


This poem appears in That’s Life: New and Selected Poems. Click the link below to hear me read it and sing a song I sang at my late husband’s graveside almost three years ago.




Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author

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