The Irish Wake and A Will of Your Own

I’ve been thinking about wills a lot lately. And the topic of wills seems appropriate with mediumship – after all, in mediumship we communicate with those who have already gone over and presumably have left their requests in a will.

But many people don’t. Even with a belief in life after death, many people avoid writing their own will – as if writing one will then cause the author to drop dead on the spot. Not likely – although I’m open to anything.

Before I get into what to do with your will – I’ll tell you some of the ideas I have – let me describe an Irish Wake I attended many years ago. It was the happiest and neatest funeral I ever attended! Not all funerals are musty, dreaded affairs.

My friend, Joe Green, was in his early 30s when I lived in Colorado. He was a lively, partying young man – full of vim and vinegar, as they say. Joe sped on his motorcycle around town, wind blowing across his face, his smile full and wide. But one night as Joe was riding home, a young kid in a car continued driving in spite of the stop sign – Joe didn’t have a chance. The car shot him into the air and he plummeted to the pavement – dead on impact.

I didn’t quite believe it when his best friend came to my door the next day. “Joe’s across the street in the funeral parlor,” Tim told me. I asked what Joe was doing there, never thinking he was dead. “He died last night.” I thought Tim was joking. He wasn’t. I ambled across the street to the local funeral parlor to find Joe laid out in a white coffin. It didn’t seem real.

Tim was an Irishman at heart, too. So, in honor of Joe, they had an “Irish wake.” Now, traditionally, I hear, Irish wakes involve taking the dead body, positioning it in a chair amongst their friends, and partying. Of course, we couldn’t do that with Joe, so we had the next best thing – photographic slides!

There was Joe on the wall of the local pub: Joe camping, Joe riding his motorcycle, Joe sitting on the toilet, Joe with his girlfriend, Joe just being Joe. Irish fiddles danced in the background, singing and drinking beer clashed with the grief of Joe’s unexpected demise. But it was fun. Joe would have liked it. And now, 20 years later, I still think of that funeral in the pub and Joe’s face shining on the pub wall. What a wonderful tribute to a great guy.

I started thinking about Joe’s Irish wake again after looking at the obituary photo of an acquaintance of mine who had died recently. That small glimpse of the person brought back memories, just like the slides of Joe made us all vividly remember him. I started thinking that it might be nice to leave such memories for others.

I already have a will, but I’m thinking about changing it a lot. So, I thought I’d toss a few ideas out there for others, and maybe you will give me some feedback – leave a message on my Facebook and let others know how you would like to handle your own will.

Will – the word, itself, connotes control…power…self-directedness. And that is what a will is – it is a conscious effort to leave behind memories for others once you have crossed into that other realm. So, instead of feeling creeped out about a will, see it as a last chance to say what you’ve always wanted to say; to reward those you have respected and cared for; and a chance to get the last word in for those you’ve managed to put up with their grief for a lifetime.

Of course, the basics need to be done: to whom will your children go if they are orphaned, and what happens to your estate or any money you might have. Those are primary. After that, it’s all icing on the cake.

I had a great aunt who once gave me an inheritance of $10,000. Unfortunately, it was a time when I was unemployed, and had a baby, and had to use the money to live on, however, it was a thrill to see that someone had actually thought ahead of time about me, and enough of me to leave me some of her estate. That same sense of memory, gratitude or receipt, can be had by others for you.

Let me tell you some of the things I plan to add to my current will. I don’t plan on having a film strip slide show of me when I die, but I would like to have some personal memories distributed. I’m planning a series of collages. I have tons of old photos I’ve collected over the years. I thought it would be nice to separate the photos according to people I’ve known. I’m going to create a personal collage for special people in my life. A way for us to share memories, even if I’m not there in person.

Photos of us in the various cities I’ve lived; photos of me and my friends enjoying a lobster dinner. Pictures of me and my family. I’m going to paste them on big poster boards – one for each person to keep. Not only will it be my shared memories with them, but it can also be something that they may want to pass down to their kids or family, too. A frame in a space of time. A clip in a chapter of life.

Of course, then there are those who have created suffering for you. At least I’ve had my share. I’ve got someone (not named here for privacy reasons – and to save the shock for later) in particular who was especially cruel to me. Time has passed, however, the repercussions of their actions still remain. It is a huge scar on my life. But I want to remember them in my will. I want them to come to the reading of the will, excited to be a part of it, feeling victorious that they still managed to get blood out of the stone. So, I’ve got a simple gift to leave behind: I’m buying a piece of fake “doo-doo” from a magic or joke store. It will be wrapped beautifully. Once they are handed their gift from me, and they peel off the pretty paper, there it will be sitting and staring them directly – with the big note taped to the doo-doo that says, “For all the s…. you gave me…..” Simple, to the point – but now I’VE got the last word in. Yep, they can curse to the winds all they want, but they’ll not have the satisfaction of beating me to death with cruelty. Nope, it will be my pleasure to give them a special reminder of how they are remembered. Who said practical jokes at a funeral aren’t practical!!

I don’t have much in the way of material possessions, so what I leave behind will be memories. But that’s all any of us really leave behind anyway. When we think of those who have gone on, we rarely, if ever, think about that expensive couch in their house, or the jewelry they treasured, or the clothes in their closet. What we usually think about are our shared experiences together – walking along the beach at sunset; eating nachos in an upstairs restaurant watching people below on the street; attending a great concert outdoors; the touch of their hands on our face; hiking through the desert and marveling at the lizards; eating lots of chocolate and drinking wine late into the night with sweet conversation to match.

The most special memories generally don’t involve “things.” They involve feelings. And that’s what I want to leave to others through my will. My will, my desire, is to rekindle those great feelings of love and happiness we shared. To let them know that I’m not cold in the ground, but I’m still watching out for them – even if they can’t hear or see me. I want them to gaze on those collages and remember our laughter, our joy.

And if I have my way…..they WILL!!

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Filed under Psychic Medium Sharon Tenney

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