There is probably no better place to contemplate your relative position to things in the greater scheme of things than soaking in a bath. I used to do that while lounging on the throne, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve discovered that some natural acts take more attention than once they did. So, for great thoughts (ha!), it’s the bath for me.
As the year winds down, and Winter Solstice swings past, I find myself pondering my own mortality these days. I’m not so morbid as to think I’ll be shuffling off my mortal coil tomorrow, nor so vain as to think that many will notice when it does happen. But there are some folks that actually seem to care about this old fossil, and I’m saddened to think that they might even grieve bit. For myself, I like to think I’ve had a good, long run. I’ve done pretty much as I pleased, and my mind has been active, if not necessarily logical, even in retirement. So rather than dreading the next stage of my existence (or non-existence, as the case may be), I find myself simply looking forward to the next big adventure.
Therefore, for those few closest to me that I leave behind, I intend to lay this little tidbit somewhere it can be easily found:
“Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!”
This lovely bit of prose comes from “September” by Rosamund Pilcher. If there’s a wake it can be read there. I’ve suggested to my wife that I’d like something like “Yes We Have No Bananas” by Spike Jones to be the music played. You know, just to set the proper tone. If at all possible, I’d like to go out as I lived — with a laugh from one and all…