peace sells but who’s buying?

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From arms & drugs, to self-righteously paying for your passage to the pearly gates with a lifetime of good deeds, death has always been a money spinner and right now, it’s hot. Once merely the inevitable end to your days on this planet where, if you were lucky, a few pals raised a glass to your distant memory, death has now become a rite of instagrammable passage that must be planned, personalised, celebrated and executed to, well, within an inch of its life.

Fancy yourself as a bit of a Hunter S Thompson and yes, of course your ashes can be blasted into orbit. Perhaps a more environmentally friendly burial where you can choose to be wrapped in a bespoke biodegradable artisanal shroud for a mere $545 is more your cup of tea? Bonzo will join you later for only $68. Not particularly inspired by a local authority cremation with your ashes being scattered in the local park then burial-at-sea is proving increasingly popular and let’s not even get into the mushroom-seeded burial suit, either literally or metaphorically. Unsure which way to go and a death doula, a supposedly trained individual, will, for a small fee, gladly assist in all ‘end of life’ areas. With even silver-surfers now living lives in the glow of public social adoration it was only going to be a matter of time before commercial interests caught on.

But in all this hype & hoo-hah the concept of ‘death cleaning’ has struck a chord, albeit a Dm, which according to Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel remains the saddest chord of all. Death cleaning refers to the process of sorting out all your possessions before pegging it: in essence de-clutter your life yourself and don’t be such a lazy so-and-so by leaving it to someone else. To my mind this is the rational, logical, unsentimental and responsible thing to do, it strikes me as being ‘proper’. Whilst billionaires are trying to find ways of avoiding the inevitable, I think ordering our final days is the least the rest of us can do. With one less thing to worry about it’s just gotta make our passing that much easier for all concerned.

Mind, let’s not completely over-objectify the process as dealing with one’s own passing is going to be somewhat traumatic and emotional. It involves accepting certain truths, one of which is that you are the one who cares most about your legacy. Furthermore, it means addressing tough questions about those you leave behind, what, if anything you choose to leave and potentially, how you’re going to be remembered. A valuable keep-sake, an album of memories, a five-grand drinks bill from the funeral bar or directions to the nearest cat charity. You pays your money, you takes your choice. I kid you not, I’m going to start planning for my passing even though I hope it’s at least thirty-five years before the time comes for it to be actioned.

And the reason for such maudlin thoughts on a Monday morning? Well, a month ago several of us buried a pal of ours, a ‘Connections’ boy, who had a massive heart attack at the tender age of just thirty-eight, leaving behind a young family and precious little plan. It’s never too early to avoid such a scenario so, on that uplifting note, happy death cleaning!