Ashes to Ashes

Another morbid post.

Sorry. It’s the phase of life we’re in right now. It’s been a long chapter and doesn’t look to close anytime soon.

We’ve been thinking a lot about the hereafter and how to transition from the top side of Planet Earth to below-the-ground status.

Funeral and ceremony planning has filled the days for those close to that transition and for those not so close but destined to take that journey someday unless the good Lord makes other arrangements...

Lessons learned through this process:

1. Dying is expensive.

2. Dying requires lots and lots of paperwork.

3. Living is expensive.

4. Living requires lots and lots of paperwork.

5. Preplanning (and pre-paying) your end-of-life choices takes a huge burden off your family—or whomever may be responsible for your affairs when you no longer need affairs.

I’ve been teetering between a couple of ideas for myself. Until we went to DC, my main wish was direct cremation. No viewing. If you must have a ceremony, make it a happy, geeky, corny one. When the ashes come back from the crematorium, don’t put me in an urn or shove me in a box (claustrophobia issues, remember?). Buy some cheap, purple flowers of some sort or another, take the flowers and bag of remains to the local river and dump me in—but don’t drop me from the train trestle (bridge fear, remember?) then be done.

Move forward and make more life and more memories.

After we went to DC, however, I had another idea.

One that would take some forethought and planning, a bit of money, and is quite possibly illegal, but that won’t be my concern when the time comes…

The Library of Congress.

My favorite spot we visited in all of DC (and we hit almost all of the main ones). Drop-dead (no pun intended) gorgeous architecture with meaning and intention packed into every nook and cranny. If you ever go, take the thirty-minute tour. Well worth it, free and informative, then walk the tunnel to the Capitol building and have lunch in their cafeteria. Interesting desserts there, but I digress…

I love the National Treasure movies. Plotting and planning and problem solving with codes and cyphers, and… well, that’s just plain fun.

My gang may need to hire Nicholas Cage (or the script writers, at the very least) to hatch a plan to get my dusty old self past security and into the stacks of ancient tomes to discreetly spread my ashes. And the National Treasure gang already “hypothetically” broke into the place once (with the President’s help, of course), so the groundwork is laid…

Thomas Jefferson has an impressive book collection he sold to Congress after the city burned. Neat story. That would be a cool place to rest. And the fact that old Tom raised his own geese so as to never run out of writing instruments adds to the appropriateness of the space. But one would need an exceptionally good reason to be in there if not on a tour.

The main rotunda would be awesome. One would need a library card to access the room, but dropping bits of me out of a holey pocket under some massive desk wouldn’t be too difficult.

The marble staircases, worn and uneven from years of foot traffic, adorned with little boys (putti, not cherubs) depicting all manner of trade in early America are breathtaking. One could pose as a photographer while sneaking some of me right into the relief up and down the steps.

At the bottom of those stairs were two lion heads (I believe, didn’t get too close) which used to be water fountains. One could stuff me inside and I’d bet I’d hang around for a bit. The fountains don’t work and I doubt the interiors of those get dusted much.

The list could go on and on. At that point, I promise not to be too picky. Just pick a spot and don’t get arrested. Or pick multiple spots and don’t get arrested. Then move on.

Make more life and more memories. Though getting arrested would certainly be memorable…

Maybe at that point, I’ll have a tome or two of my own hiding in their stacks.

Move over Jefferson.

Now wouldn’t that be cool? .

Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on Mondays for a new blog and the first Friday of every month for a free fictional short, and be sure to visit my Amazon page.