Occasionally I get email from friends who have passed away -- spam, of course. Today I got an email from a friend who passed a year ago that was a real email. The time stamp was today; the email was written five years ago, before early-onset Alzheimer's took my friend away.
My friend was a programmer; he helped develop a great deal of the infrastructure that supports email and IM. Before my friend's memory was gone, he composed an email to his friends, put it in the equivalent of a "hold" folder with a timer set to release today.
I imagine he could have written something to us and asked a friend to send it a year after his death, but he says in his email -- no -- he couldn't help showing off his programming skills; and also by reading the email that he could guess accurately when he would die. (He was an arrogant that way: he was really good at anything concerning time.)
He didn't write a treatise on how much he loved us all or how we all should life each day as if it were our last or any such treacle. He wrote:
I hate you all for living, I hate you all for going on when my mind is going off. I hate your idiotic cheerful messages and inspirational sayings. I hate the flowers. Send flowers to your aunt, not me. I hate that I'll be wearing adult diapers soon and I'm happy my mind will be gone before that happens.
I'm going to die angry because I am angry. I'm going to be hell to take care of in my final days because all that will be left of me is anger. Don't go off on me about acceptance. I've accepted Alzheimer's, but I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT. There is nothing in the literature that says I have to go all enlightened on you, give you a reason to be comforted because I'm accepting of my fate.
To hell with you: I'm not dying the way you want me to.
I'm not giving you a chance to weep at my funeral, there won't be a funeral. Dump my ashes anywhere you'd like. I suggest under a tomato plant, I love ketchup. Don't contribute to a charity in my name, and by Jove, you will NOT plant a tree in my honor. The hell with me, I'm dead. I won't be there to give you a pat on the back because you're so damn noble and caring.
Contribute to a charity in your own name, plant a tree in your own honor. Get that? Honor yourself.
Peace, love, and power my pretties.
*No lectures about the Oxford comma, please...