My Soul to Keep

This past weekend we buried my uncle. And I found myself getting into that thoughtful mode that occurs when someone close to me has passed on.

The fact is, death make me pensive.
Not sad.
Not morose.

Certainly, there was much to consider. My uncle was well loved by those who knew him. Those who cracked his crusty exterior found him a bit gooey inside -- and anyone who took the time, found him to possess an exceedingly big heart. In addition to being a worthwhile human being, he served his country well in the armed forces. And he had a great faith that saw him through the tragic journey we call life.

We respected his wishes and buried him as he saw fit.
We celebrated a life well-lived, and we cried for the loss of it.
And then, I got to thinking about my own mortality. And what I might want when my time comes... and I pass along into the ether. And I began to wonder if my vision is anything like what people might expect.

Most people who know me realize that I'm a hopeless food geek, so I'm fairly sure everyone would expect me to dream up some stuffy food-filled affair. But the truth is, when I imagine my farewell, I don't imagine anything stuffy.

I want people to eat thoughtless things at my funeral. And I want them to enjoy them -- without care for cholesterol or calories or trans-fats. Let all of that be set aside in favor of celebration.

I want hot dogs wrapped in crescent roll dough.
And mini cheesecakes made in muffin tins.
And peanut butter right from the jar -- eaten with abandon from teaspoons.
I want chai flavored chocolate.

I want giggling.
I know that you can't keep loved ones from crying (if, indeed, they did love) -- but I want mischievous laughter for all the times we spent creating. And scheming. And frolicking in our silly underpants.

You need not have a viewing. Or a burial.
My cremains can be scattered in some lovely place. Like in the tulip gardens that surrounded that football field in Mt. Vernon, Iowa... remember the one? We picked tulips there at midnight and filled our dorms with their lipstick red.

And the memories?
I want people to remember the whimsy. To pick up that box of collected shells and think about the oceans I dared dip my toes into. To read the dusty books from my library and dream the dreams I once wrote about. The ones I lived. The ones I didn't.

I want everyone to return home with a smirk -- and dare to be more than they imagined possible. To dance. To sing. To write. To remember.

To Live.

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