He Died With A Smile And A Song


On Thursday a friend of mine passed away.

By worldly accounts, he was probably the richest man I ever knew.  He was a founder of the Ultramatic bed and, along with his wife, one of the largest personal contributors to Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton, ON with a stunning two-storey glass and steel encased lobby named after them.  He owned several high-end cars, and a handful of custom Harleys.  He loved his gold rings and his flamboyant attire, and was more of a fashion statement than I’ve ever seen on the cover of a magazine.  His own circle of friends included celebrities and he had a long-standing friendship with Canadian icon Gordie Tapp of Hee Haw fame, who was the spokesperson in many Ultramatic bed commercials.

But it won’t be his material wealth, his bling, his vehicles, or his famous connections that I will remember about him.  It will be his spiritual riches. Continue reading

Measure Twice, Live Once. With A Hat On.


There’s an old saying you’ve probably heard before:  measure twice, cut once.  It’s oft used by carpenters, glass cutters, and folks in the construction or manufacturing businesses.  I’ve even heard it at Home Depot by a sales clerk trying to help a customer make plans for a DIY project.  It’s a reminder there’s only one chance to get it right.  Otherwise it could cost time, materials, and money.

By extrapolation, I think the old proverb has a fit for life in general too …

Measure twice, live once. Continue reading

$29 IKEA Desk + Funeral = ?

The desire to start writing again.  Finally.

My last post was in September.  Going on 6 months now.  Where have I been?  Mostly here in Guelph, Ontario.  Where have I not been?  In any mood whatsoever to write.  Not on this blog or on my book or on anything for that matter other than trivial emails, text messages, and notes to my kids on our family’s communication central (read: a dry-erase white board in the kitchen).  It’s been so long I can barely find my way around WordPress anymore haha.  Maybe I should sign up for another go at Blogging 101.  Note to file.

What changed? Continue reading

I Accepted The Invitation

Today’s Daily Prompt asks what kind of legacy we wish to leave on the world.  In short, I hope to have accepted “The Invitation” by Oriah.  My responses to each stanza of the poem are indented and bold, just like me.


The Invitation by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.  I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

I ache to raise my children to be whoever they wish to be, to share kindness and gratitude with the world, and to write.  Truth and dare accepted.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.  I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

I have been and will be the fool for all, to all. 

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.  I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I have been at the naval of my own grief and unlocked truth through treason’s seduction.  When fear withers me, I use faith and others to cultivate me back to strength and courage.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I can meditate with anguish, alone or in your company, in stillness, silence, and surrender.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own;  if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

I can share happiness with my soul and yours;  I can tango in spontaneity from my head to my toes while singing a proposition to join me and “shut up and dance”.

Continue reading

It’s My Funeral So Everyone P-A-R-T-Y!

The Life Of Marianne:   Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

People get ready!  We’re gonna have a party!  Only God knows when it will be, where it will be, and how it will take place but my death will happen.  I won’t have much control, if any, over any of those things but what I do have some control over now is planning the party that will take place after it.  Yes, I said party.

I don’t want some dark and gloomy funeral where everyone is crying over the loss of me in their lives.  I want better than that, more than that, especially for my own children.  Yes, I know there will be tears, I know I have family and friends who will be sad at my passing.  But I want the overriding theme for all to be a celebration of the wonderful, meaningful, and even corny & quirky things that made me me, and how that me meant something positive to them.

The inspiration behind this plan came from two sources.  One was my mother.  Long before she even became ill, she would joke about her funeral being a party and what a fun time it would be.  After she got sick and as she knew her life’s end was nearing, she took the reigns and told us her wishes for her final days if they were possible.  She got what she wanted.  My brother, sister-in-law, and I held her hand as she took her last breath in a hospice here in Guelph where I live now and she had previously lived.  And three months later, we threw her a party at the place that had been her home with her husband, my step-dad, for some years.  It was a beautiful sunny May day, along the waterside, and we truly did have fun celebrating the awesomeness of my mom.

Some of my other vision for my funeral came to me while reading “Who Will Cry When You Die?”, a book by one of my favourite authors, Robin Sharma, the man behind “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”.  It was then that I started to actually put my thoughts to print so should my death come unexpectedly, my family would know some of my wishes.  The first thing I started to write out was a playlist of songs.  Music is the soundtrack to my life, and when I’m not sure what it is I want to express to someone, I often turn to lyrics to help guide me.  On that playlist are some of the songs I want dedicated to my loved ones.  Others are on there because they’ve had some meaning in my own life.  There are some sappy ones on it because like I’ve said before, a dose of sappy every now and then is good for the soul.  But there are a lot of happy ones too.  I want people to smile, sing along, and even dance.  Remember, it’s a party.

This post idea came from today’s Daily Prompt:  Festivus for the Rest of Us.  I could write a whole other post on all of the songs on my funeral playlist, maybe I will one day.  And yet another post on the rest of the details I have planned out like location and food and such.  But I’ll finish up this post on a music note.  I have picked one song to be the theme of my funeral.  One that has some life lessons in it.  A song that many will have heard and will remember seeing in the comedy movie it comes from.  A song that talks about death in an honest way, but at the same time in a lighthearted manner too.  A song that makes me smile every time I hear it.  That song is:  “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” from Monty Python’s “The Life Of Brian”.  Here’s an excerpt from the lyrics I love:

“For life is quite absurd, and death’s the final word, you must always face the curtain with a bow,

Forget about your sin, give the audience a grin, enjoy it, it’s your last chance anyhow”