Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fritz LaRue, World Traveler, Had A Very Nice Funeral

I hate funerals. I have made certain I will not have one and no one can change my arrangements. I donated my body to the University of Utah Medical School. I've told all my friends that they would do well to outlive me since I will not attend their funerals, but the truth is I will have to attend a couple of them in the not too distant future, and it's killing me. These are gloomy times for me right now.

But yesterday I went to a funeral. It was the funeral of a Chihuahua. My New York friends, Rachel and David, were in New York working. Rachel's 14 year old, world traveled Chihuahua curmudgeon, the Chihuahua who went Fashion Week in Paris, Fritz LaRue, was staying with Rachel's mother, my long time friend Esther. So it was on Esther's watch that Fritz LaRue died. He'd had a great time while Rachel was working in New York these last few months. Esther took him with her to the ranch a couple of weeks ago where he spent a last wonderful week. Then, just after returning to Salt Lake, he started breathing noisily. He was dead the next morning. His trachea had collapsed. So to my way of thinking, Fritz LaRue died a very good death. His suffering was minimal and short. He didn't spend his last hours in a hospital. I envy any creature that dies suddenly. My mother's death took an excruciating seven years from diagnosis to death. Four or five of those years she was with me. The reason I'm unclear of the length of time she was in my care was the excruciating quality of the time. It was the worst thing I've ever been through, and believe me when I tell you, I've been through some very bad times. So quick is how I want to go.

Fritz had a lovely funeral, small and nondenominational. There was no mention of god or heaven at all. He's buried in the front yard of Rachel and David's Salt Lake home, and a native plum tree has been planted on his grave. The grave is marked with sandstone and river rocks. There were tears and there was laughter. We toasted Fritz LaRue with a drink made from 2 parts fresh homemade Concord grape juice, 1 part club soda, with a jigger of St Germain. I'd never tasted St Germain before (a French liqueur made from elderflowers). As an ingredient in this drink, it was perfection. So here's to one good funeral for the old curmudgeon, Fritz LaRue.


PENolan said...

Sounds like exactly the right kind of funeral. I may make that drink some time. How was the food?

Quick with as little pain as possible is definitely the way to go. I hope I never know what hit me.


Randal Graves said...

Funerals are often funky, if subdued circuses, but a quick end, and the ability to fuel the growth of a tree makes for a not-too-shabby end to the life cycle.

Berowne said...

Good to see another Savage around. My blog is "Savage Reflections" Not in Utah, exactly -- in Connecticut, in fact -- but I'm doing my part to keep our illustrious family name alive. Cheers...

Madam Z said...

I couldn't agree more! From hating funerals to hoping for a quick death. I go to funerals if I have to, but I almost never look at the corpse. I did once, when I was 8 years old and again just recently, when my husband's uncle died. My theory is that I want to remember the decedent as he/she was when living, not dead.

As for my own death, I want to be cremated and my ashes tossed to the four winds. No funeral, please, but a little get-together of good friends and family is okay, as long as they share fun stories and don't cry.

And of course, doesn't everyone wish for a quick, painless death? Fritz LaRue went out in style. The lucky dog!

susan said...

An excellent post about an excellent dog and friend. I try not to go to funerals either and I'm even hoping not to attend my own. I plan on being elsewhere.

Samantha Thomas said...

Death is such a bug-a-boo, I want to experience mine wall-to-wall, with eyes wide open. I often think that if I find myself alive and in a state of irreversible decline, I'd like to experience something uncommon. For instance, I may parachute off the New River Gorge Bridge (I've enjoyed the West Virginia gorges since I was a child) after packing my parachute, and conveniently forgetting the parachute. It would be an exciting last ten seconds with a final velocity of about 120 mph. As for my body, when I am done with it, I will be done with it. Do with it, or not, as You wish. They could wrap me in yesterday's newspaper and throw me in a dumpster. I would not be offended.

I take care of my father (85, diabetic and moderately demented), my mother (87, high blood pressure and a low opinion of me) and my uncle (96, talks to himself incessantly, pausing only to make old man sounds). Obviously, Your excruciating experience of taking care of Your Mother in her final years struck a chord with me. Who would want to live like these old boinkers, when one can choose otherwise?

Peggy, I absolutely adore You, and Your blog is a great delight.