“Nora Ephron’s Last Love Story” in July 10’s New York Post about the writer’s star-studded July 9 memorial service reminded me I’d yet to write about this fabulous woman’s legacy and untimely “exit,” as she had labeled the file containing her meticulous instructions about how she wanted things at her death. Wry–and thoughtful–to the end.
The Huffington Post ran a story as well, with lots of celebrities’ pictures. Read Sara Wilson’s piece here in the HuffPo.
But what I want to talk about is that “Exit” file. We should all have one and we all know it. Not that I’m planning to go anytime soon; but as a cancer and malaria survivor (no, not at once, silly), I am convinced I will go eventually.
At the risk of bragging, I also recently survived five days at Rancho La Zaca with four teenaged boys.
I have a hearty constitution.
Atlanta friend and fellow journalist Susan Soper deals with issues of grief and condolence on her site LegacyConnect. She wrote a wonderful piece about Nora Ephron and cited the beautifully written obit in The New York Times as an example of the loving tribute an obituary can be when it truly captures the subject’s character. To that end, Susie has penned ObitKit – A Guide to Celebrating Life, which is essentially an Exit File in a book, covering–in an upbeat way–everything from details for your obituary, to your preferences for prayers and music, to who will speak at your service and for how long.
I could have killed my mother for being disorganized when she died, but of course it would have been redundant. That was supposed to be a joke but I realize it had a sting. For new readers I was crazy about my mama. (Link to her obit via Susie’s blog here.) The truth is many people are disorganized about their dying, and it doesn’t make it any easier on those they leave behind.
I do not want people wanting to kill me when I die because they will have enough to do. A Southerner loves a good funeral much as she loves a ham biscuit. I want both, and that takes planning. I’m going to order this book right now. Twenty bucks is a small price to pay for peace of mind. The actual funeral is going to cost a little more.