Planning for the Hereafter


You know, as I get up there in age- I’ll be 65 this year- I find my thoughts are often turned to the end. You know, the big one. What awaits us all somewhere down the trail.

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I’ve thought some about what sort of words I’d want to leave posterity on whatever stone marks my final resting place.  After all, the things said during ones life must have been important, otherwise you would never have wasted the breath or ink to say them, right?  So I try to recall the weightiest, most profound words from my past.  The phrases I come up with usually are an expression of love, or concern my wife, parents or children.  Then I usually find myself thinking, “How morbid!  Stop that!”  I know I have many years still in front of me- we all delude ourselves thinking that is the case.  But in my heart of hearts I understand the sad truth of the matter, and so I’ve taken to writing the things down that come to mind and leaving these notes where they might be put to good use after I am gone.

I have an imaginary friend, though- we’ll call him “Bill'” and give him the fictitious initials “W.M.S.” so that he, being imaginary, won’t be mistaken for some real person out there who might take offense- who I like to think was born, as I was, in the 1950s.  Say 1955, make Bill a few years younger than me.  I’ve taken to using Bill as a surrogate when I think about how an epitaph might look on a tombstone- that morbid thing, you know… avoidance and all that.  So I take words said by someone that I saw somewhere sometime and try to visualise them appearing on the monument that he would leave behind for future generations to see and call his life to mind.  You know, like

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Now that’s pretty weighty.    A little topical- I’m sure the “Blue  Screen of Death” will be wrestled to the ground at some point by the computer folks- but all in all a pithy message of hope and renewal, eh?  Speaking of pithy, there’th

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Now that’s heavy-duty.  I’m not a particularly religious person, so the reference to God and prayer doesn’t really hit home for me, but I’m sure that there are those who would see this and tremble in the face of some good hellfire and brimstone Old Testament wrath.  One last one…

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No.  Oh no.  I mean, what idiot would leave words like this behind to sum up his three score plus years on the planet.  One’s life would have to be pretty empty and devoid of any meaning to have these be the last words about it.  I mean, can you possibly imagine anyone for whom such an epitaph would be fitting?

Anyway, you should think about this stuff from time to time.  Otherwise, you never know.  Someone might well be thinking about it for you.

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