If I Die Tomorrow – A How To Guide


I grew up in a church that spewed fire and brimstone week after week. We were taught that the world was going to end soon. Jesus was coming for a very specific people and while I tried so hard to be a good “Christian”, I wasn’t confident that I’d be one of the chosen. The thought of condemning homosexuality put a knot in my stomach and I was constantly being reprimanded for something. The odds were not in my favor.

I spent the majority of my early teen years bargaining with God. I begged him not to end the world before I was old enough to get my Drivers License. When that milestone passed, I graciously asked him to hold off until I had kissed a boy. For some reason, I thought that the ‘Good Lord Above’ was concerned about my social life.

Anyway, the point of revealing these details of my life is this: I didn’t see myself living into my 20’s, much less my 30’s. Yet, here I am at 33 (drivers license and all) and have thought about death way more than I would ever have liked.

When people die everyone seems to make decisions to the best of their ability with, “It’s what they would have wanted.” so I’m going to take the guesswork out of my death the best I can. Here we go!

First of all, I want to share a little about my beliefs. I believe in God and Heaven because I want to. To be a bit broader, I believe in Deity’s and an afterlife. I want there to be something greater than me, I want their to be a place of peace to pass into once this life is over. However, I also believe that if there is a God, He (or she) gives zero shits about whether or not I believe in them. God isn’t some egotistical maniac kicking people out because they hurt his feelings. He’s not Donald Trump (Boom! How you like that Trump? You just got burned!)

Anyway, I recognize and respect everyone’s deity and perception of what Heaven is.

For me, heaven is about believing. I think of it this way: If you don’t believe in Disney Land there is no way you can ever go. People can tell you about it, you can see pictures of it, but if you are not open to the idea of it existing then how will you ever experience it?

I feel like religion has a place in my life because my Mom and Aunt have shown unwavering faith through the years and I truly believe that on their deathbeds they won’t be scared. That’s what religion is, it’s a way to cope with the anxiety of the unknown and if that’s all it is then I’m fine with that.

Now, for those of you who use religion to discriminate and justify being mean or who dare tell my loved one’s that I’m in a bad place because I didn’t subscribe to your brand of religion; shut up.

On to the next thing, my funeral:

I’m not going to be one of those people who say, “Don’t be sad because I died, be happy because I lived.” No. Be sad. I was awesome and me being dead is a real bummer. However, let’s try to make this whole Shindig as un-funerally as possible, shall we?

– Try to stay out of a stuffy Funeral Home as much as possible. If there is an open casket and you just have to see my gorgeous face one more time, do it quick then get the hell out of there! Have a Crawfish Boil in my mom’s backyard or a picnic in the park. Those are much better places to reminisce about how badass I was.

– Don’t wear black. Wear something that makes you feel beautiful, powerful and/or special. If that Little Black Dress you wear for Lady’s Night is it then fine, you can wear black. Otherwise, wear your Prom Dress, Football Jersey, whatever makes you smile because you feel like the best version of you. Don’t be stuffy.

– Love everyone. Recognize that everyone attending had a place in my life. I genuinely want my ex-husband and my boyfriend to find common ground on that day. I’m not saying they have to join a Softball League together  afterwards but know that the other is grieving for their own reasons and respect that. For everyone in attendance, no snide remarks or digging up that past. I’m sure Becky is sorry for giving me shade in Kroger last year. Today, just let her be sad with everyone else. Capisce?

– I was a master at the Selfie. Seriously, I gave Kim K a run for her money. Use them freely. Do not pass up 300 perfectly mastered Selfie’s to get to the one picture of me eating a Chicken Wing in my pajamas. Just don’t.

– Let my niece’s and nephew’s (aka “My Babies”) pick out the music. This mean’s there will be Flo Rida’s “Welcome To My House”, Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” featuring Bruno Mars and many more awesome tunes. However, do be sure to play Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue” because I have fond memories of singing that with them.

My Gravesite

– My parents can bury me wherever they’d like. Whichever place they feel the most peaceful with.

– Ideally, I’d like to have a statue of Jesus winking and smiling with his arm stretched to where people can get under it for photo ops. I think this will make people smile and laugh and be happy. It will remind them not to take anything too seriously, even death.

– I’d like a bench at my grave with a plaque that says the following:

“You. Yes, you. I’m sure that at this moment you are very aware of the fact that life is fleeting. It goes by pretty quick. Trust me. So take a moment to sit with the person you’re with (I assume you’re not walking through a cemetery alone. That’s creepy and depressing. If this is the case, leave immediately and come back when you have a buddy) and share a story and a laugh. Enjoy being alive. It won’t last forever.”


– If there is any money please split it between My Babies. It won’t be a lot but maybe it can help buy their first car.

– If anyone ever wants to do anything “in my name” such as a foundation or charity I’d like for it to help fund underprivileged teenagers to go on their first trip abroad. Ideally, it’ll be in some educational setting. I was afforded that opportunity and it changed my life.

– I want my clothing rack to go to my little sister, Jessica. All fashion items including accessories & shoes should be split up between my nieces, little sister, mom, nanny, Misty and Katie. I trust you ladies won’t let this be an issue.

-Remember that I was kind and a good person. I tried very hard to be a good and thoughtful friend. I was happy. So very happy.

– I’ve done more than I ever thought I would and pinched myself everyday.

– I was funny and it made me feel awesome if I was ever the reason for a laugh.

Just for fun, here are some very plausible ways in which I may end up dying:

  • I spotted a Cockroach; slipped and broke my neck trying to escape its impending attack.
  • I gave the man robbing me while walking alone at night (sorry Mom) “attitude”.
  • I finally tried a Hard Drug and immediately died of a Panic Attack.
  • Sitting too close to the T.V. and listening to loud music finally caught up with me and I just keeled over just like my PawPaw said would happen.

I’m sure I’ll add to this so stay tuned because I have absolutely no intention on dying tomorrow. However, if I do then please recognize that I deserve at the very least, a National Headline and at the very most, a 20/20 Special about my life.

P.S. If you doubt my Mad Selfie Skills then check out my Instagram. That can’t be taught.




Published by Ashley Zoerner

I'm originally from New Orleans, LA and grew up in the nearby town of Waveland, MS. I graduated from Georgia State University with a communications degree in 2010. Since then I've traveled the country and world meeting the most interesting people. My dream is to tell people's stories and share my passions with the world.

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