Columnist Fiona Pringle; A matter of life and a matter of death

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No better place to start an uplifting column than the surety of death.

I certainly can’t be accused of avoiding the difficult questions and tough topics and I’m committed now, so here goes.

I don’t know how common it is in peer groups of varying ages but discussing death is not so common amongst me and my late twenty, early thirty types. Amidst all the buzz of life it is rarely brought up and thankfully something not often dwelled upon...but is that a good thing?

The intricacies of our own personal demise are unknown but the guarantee is absolute and recent events in my life have got me thinking ... and even talking more about, the ‘what ifs’.

I’ll paint a picture: four girls, close friends for donkeys years, bedecked in bikinis, hanging out in an outdoor jacuzzi on a beautiful Scottish summer’s day and for some reason unbekownst to me, talk takes an amble down the dark side.

In turn we begin discussing the finer details of our desired funerals. I even hesitate to continue. It seems such a taboo topic but as our bubble infused discussion showed us – it doesn’t have to be. We ended up rolling/floating in giggles as our requests got more flamboyant and extravagant. The joy of celebrating our lives in the way we would want, overtook the sadness of...well, the end.

One friend, who will be delighted at me divulging this to the world – or Fife – wants the remaining number to form a one-night-only band and perform a selection of songs to the, I’m sure aghast, gathering of mourners. It has been wished aloud, and when, because it really is a ‘when’, it comes to it, we’ll remember that day, gather our instruments and fulfil her wishes. I just hope for the sake of everyone’s eardrums, I’m already gone!

I asked them to destroy my childhood journals. For some reason I am holding on to them at the moment, a glimpse into a mind I barely remember, but I can’t imagine the deathly (here all week) reactions to some of the emotional diatribe I trundled out on a daily basis. And because they’re dear friends they have already refused my request and instead claim they will recite passages from the pulpit.

So this, readers, is my fail safe. Another recent conversation that meandered unwittingly into the morbid, revolved around The Song, that one song you’d have playing – I know you’ve thought about it! We all have.

Now this is the niggily bit. For all these wishes, no matter how ridiculous, to actually happen, we need to think about, talk about and write them down. It occurred to me that as life moves on and the people around you change, the secrets you’ve shared with one may not translate to the end. As cumbersome and sorrowful as it may seem, making your feelings clear is the only surefire way to make sure you’re sent off in the way you want.

Because our lives are a jumbled mess of ‘stuff’ and at some stage that stuff has to be dealt with, and not by our good – and by this stage – dead selves, and believe it or not, more than one loved one may lay claim to your Take That collection. Make it easy and get it down on paper.