The third ghost

In "A Christmas Carol" the miser Scrooge was visited by three ghosts who showed him his past, his present and his future.

J.P. Morgan Hearse, Stuyvesant Sq. (LOC)

Scrooge saw his own funeral and heard what people really thought of him. The experience was so traumatic he became a changed man, and in doing so changed his own future and the futures of those around him. When he finally died he was loved and respected.

At least at real funerals, as opposed to literary fictions designed to provide a morality tale, people don't usually complain too much, it being bad form to admit that the deceased had too many faults beyond, for example, loveable gruffness (bad temper), endearing eccentricifies (mad as a bag of frogs) or style (no style is a style).

Contemplating one's own funeral may be coloured by the story of Scrooge and perhaps we dread to hear others describe us in unflattering terms. But what I want to hear people say at my funeral is probably not what they will say, for better or worse. And what they will say (assuming anyone turns up of course) is unlikely to be anything they would say to me now.

But regret nothing, and move on!

Perhaps the best prediction I can manage is something people do already say about me being a good organiser, or indeed the dreaded "She was the sensible one who got things done". Yes I am, and yes I do, and I would rather be the exciting one who went where the moment took her.

If they don't say I was cynical you will know they are lying!

I would like to be remembered for my sense of humour (occasionally sharp but hopefully witty), my community spirit and the fact that I write a darned fine quiz, thank you very much. These would be fair.

Who knows what the future holds: joy or despair. There may be many other things to add to my epitaph before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

And if I have ever helped anyone, let it be recorded that my life was not futile and that there are some items in my favour on the scales of judgement. We cannot know when it will be our time, so let us live as if each day were our last.

Vivez, si m’en croyez, n’attendez à demain :

Cueillez dès aujourd’hui les roses de la vie.

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