“I was not. I have been, I am not. I am so grateful to have participated in life!”

A beloved cousin died yesterday and we, at a Johnson/Smith/Denoo family get together had a discussion about what we want inscribed on our gravesite. I don't intend to have a gravesite, but will have a marker placed on my mother's grave. I want it to be clear that when I die, my mind, body and emotions change into a different form and return to the atoms from which I evolved. 

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I can't really think of any thing more appropriate than what I saw a few years ago in Havana, Cuba. It was at the Peace Park. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. John Lennon.

This is off topic but Google "odd news" (it may have been in Yahoo) and you will find that when George Harrison died in Los Angeles in 2001 they planted a memorial tree in his honor complete with a plack of the event. Now they are having to cut the tree down because it was killed by beetles.

This is a true story.

What a strange coincidence! Is this what they call serendipity? No, I think it has to be a pleasant surprise. 

This is a nice memorial. Look at the polish on the arm rest and bench. It obviously is used. Sit there and have a virtual conversation with the man himself. 

I like the inscription, but grateful to what?

I am so grateful that I was born, was able to grow up, and that I was able to learn life-skills that improved my life and the life of people around me. I like your comment. 

Just like my ancestor with the flying dirgible machine long before there was one, I will fall into obscurity as a myth of sorts. There need be no inscription if I am creamated. Maybe "just add water" on the urn. That would work.

I've pre-arranged cremation with a service that promises to pick up my body anywhere in the world and return the ashes to my family. (This could be a very good scam: how can you tell one set of ashes from another?)

The constant theme at memorial services is that the dead person will not be forgotten, but I believe we should all be forgotten. My message to my survivors is: don't waste time memorializing the dead, get on with your own life while you can.

I like the poem of Marina Tsvetaeva:

It may be that a better way
To conquer time and the world
Is to pass and not to leave a trace,
To pass, and not to leave a shadow on the wall.

Nice poem. Somehow it reminds me of this quote from Hunter S. Thompson:

“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit…what a ride!”

Bertold, I like this. I am surely glad I did all the things I did and talked to all the people to whom I talked, and the challenges I overcame. Now I can just sit in my garden with a cup of coffee, a book, a computer on my lap, and the wildlife scurrying around my feet. No regrets, no missed opportunities, no place I want to go or person I want to meet. 'tis nice! 

How about this by the author Jack London, who died at 40:

I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.

I'll steal an idea from Mark Twain:

"My parents woke me up from a most pleasant nap! And without first asking me!"

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