Many admirers, well-wishers and friends filled the sanctuary of Wesley United Methodist Church on Connecticut Avenue last night to hear award-winning humorist and long-time Post columnist Art Buchwald relate the story of his final days — and his survival of them.
When speaking of planning his funeral, Buchwald said “I didn’t want to be remembered as dying after a long illness.” He went on to say “I wanted to die at 95 playing tennis against Agassi — because he couldn’t handle my serve.”
He also wanted his funeral to be held at Carnegie Hall, which he claimed would be “the hottest ticket in New York.”
Buchwald said that “death isn’t funny, but you laugh because you don’t know what else to do.” Humor aside, Buchwald became quite emotional several times during his story-telling — on things such as his caretakers at the hospice and preparing families for the inevitability of death.
When it became apparent that it wasn’t in fact his time to go, he said “When I decided I wasn’t going to die, I figured ‘what the hell, I’ll go to Martha’s Vineyard, it’s just as good as Heaven…'”
He then took questions from the audience, all of which were quite complimentary to Mr. Buchwald.
After roughly half an hour on stage, Mr. Buchwald wrapped up the evening by saying “Everyone has a connection to Heaven,” continuing “If you call and there’s no answer, you get to stay. But if God answers, you have to go.” He went on to say “I thought when my kidneys stopped working, I could go, but they wouldn’t let me do it.” The audience responded with a standing ovation.
While Mr. Buchwald continued to chat with people in the front of the sanctuary, several attendees had congregated on the sidewalk outside and were remarking on Mr. Buchwald’s ability to emotionally move his audience.