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Month: February 2019

A Control Freak’s Funeral

It’s My Party and You’ll Dance If I Want You To

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to plan a funeral. But don’t worry — it’s going to be the most soul-satisfying, life-affirming, totally-not-creepy sendoff that ever consecrated a cadaver.

See, I recently attended the memorial service for a beloved family member who died suddenly — and much, much too young. None of us knew how she wanted to take her final leave (coffin? viewing? urn? ocean?) or to whom she wanted donations made in lieu of flowers (Humane Society? homeless shelter?) because these aren’t the sorts of things on which busy, prime-of-life people spend a lot of time ruminating. So we guessed, by god, because what else can you do? And we shuffled through the traditional paces prescribed for an aggrieved family: choosing a casket, ordering flowers, designating burial garments and jewelry, assembling a slide show, banging out a stark and bloodless obit, and attempting to sum up this woman’s life, character, and passions for the eulogizing pastor who never even met her. Not once.

A Drink with Dr. Chill

Taking the Stress Out of Stress Management

He promised me a beer but made me order tea instead.

“Hot tea is always nice, right?” he said.

I mean, hot tea is all right. But with a full-time job, homework due in a graduate class, a family waiting at home, a trip to pack for, flu season lurking on every dang doorknob, and this column to write … I could have used a beer, honestly.

I was meeting Dr. Jay Winner for a drink to talk about stress. Since he’s an expert on the subject, and almost supernaturally mellow — and since my mind feels like gloppy, neon-hued spin art most days — I did what I was told.

“Let’s take a smell,” he says as we both lift our steaming cups to our faces. “Feel the warmth? Kind of let go of your thoughts …”

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