I attended a funeral recently and it prompted me to create a plan for my own funeral.

I don’t believe I’m terminally ill and of course I have no plans to take my own life, HOWEVER, there are many people for whom death comes suddenly. And I don’t want to be caught unawares.

So I’ve started planning my funeral and I’ll need the help of my family, friends and the community to make sure my wishes are followed TO THE LETTER.

You know how most people say that, when they die, they don’t want their funeral to be a sad or mournful event? A lot of people say “I want it to be a party, a celebration.” Some don’t even want a funeral. They want as little fuss about their death as possible. Some just want to be simply returned to the earth or the sea with as little fanfare as possible.

Well that ain’t me.

Upon my demise I would like a public proclamation by City Manager Sammy Rich that the City of Rome, its employees and all residents observe 30 days of intense mourning. All banks, businesses and schools must be closed for three days after my untimely and tragic passing. And thereafter, all business transactions for the remainder of the month must be conducted in the most solemn, somber manner.

The month-long mourning period will include, but not be limited to, all community residents dressing head-to-toe in black. Women may wear black veils if they so choose.

There are to be no public celebrations of any sort. Special events such as weddings, birthday parties and funerals (other than mine) must be postponed and rescheduled so as not to interrupt the outpouring of grief which will follow my passing.

For 24 hours leading up to my funeral, I would like my body to lie in state at city hall, that mourners may pay their respects. All Rome City and Floyd County commissioners will be asked to stand vigil at my casket around the clock, ensuring that it is never unattended. Floyd County Commission Chair Scotty Hancock will weep openly during his vigil, murmuring “I loved him like a brother” repeatedly.

On the day of my actual funeral, a horse-drawn carriage will carry my casket through the streets of Celanese as mourners weep and swoon along the route. If no one is willing to weep publicly, I will leave money in my will to pay actors to weep and moan at the sadness of my passing, even going so far as to rip and tear at their clothes in a grief-induced frenzy.

I would like my Arch Nemesis Sammy Rich to eulogize me. Upon hearing of my death, he will immediately put our differences aside and forgive all the terrible things I said about him in the newspaper and via social media. He will not be able to hold back tears as he lists all the things he’ll miss about me. I will, in advance, have written the eulogy for him. Here is an excerpt...

“Severo died, as he lived, eating fried chicken. He was full of grace and warmth and great humor, a BELOVED member of the Rome community. He was best known for his humbleness and quiet nature. We will miss his unselfish heart and his quickness to forgive those who had wronged him ...”

After he’s finished with the eulogy, I will then ask RN-T Executive Editor John Bailey to read what I call “Severo’s Death List.” It is a list of people I dislike and I would like Mr. Bailey to read that list publicly, calling out all the people I held grudges against. As he is reading the names, I would like for those in the audience to nod and whisper approvingly after each name.

The city and county commissioners who had previously stood vigil as I lay in state will now act as my pallbearers. They will fight over who gets to carry my coffin.

I would like to be buried at the foot of the Clocktower in a golden casket and I trust that my wishes will be honored.

As the casket is being lowered into the ground very slowly — for more of a dramatic effect — I would like my dear friend and local radio mogul Randy Davis, senseless with grief, to leap onto my casket crying “God, why do you always take the good ones?” referring to me as “the good ones.”

He will then reach for the nearest individual and, in a dramatic and desperate attempt at bargaining with the Lord, cry out “take him/her” instead. If the individual was previously named in “Severo’s Death List,” that would be acceptable.

This will again lead to nods of approval by those in attendance.

Finally, as my mortal remains are lowered into the ground, I would like a lone trumpeter to play “My Old Kentucky Home,” at which time servers will appear with glasses of bourbon for everyone in attendance to drink to a life so full of promise, cut short.

And IF there’s money left in my estate, I would like for each year on the anniversary of my death, that Bojangles delivers a gravy biscuit to be placed on my grave.

Thank you all for your consideration.

Severo Avila is Features Editor for the Rome News-Tribune.

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