Thursday, August 6, 2009

Reflections (4): On Death


August 6, 2009

If you are reading this it is because I have passed on. All I can say at this point is that you should NOT feel sad for me. At all. In fact, you should know that by the time I wrote this I was ready to die. Or, more precisely, I had stopped worrying about death.

That's not to say I don't feel a little trepidation about how, exactly, I died. Not sure you can ever prepare yourself for being crushed by a semi, being drowned at sea, or even succumbing to a horrible disease. None of that stuff sounds very pleasant.

But it is the process of death that I have come to terms with. I am now actually looking forward to embarking on one last great journey, one that every one of us will one day share. On this journey, there is no bicycle to ride, no tent to set up, no defined trail to blaze. Death is as natural as childbirth, as comforting as breathing and, just maybe, as beautiful as a sunset over a clear blue ocean.

Death is the greatest journey of them all.

There is no denying that things have never been easy for us. There have been moments of rancor and bitterness that, at times, have tested our love for each other.

But that's all in the past. It doesn't matter now. In fact, as I sit here today, none of that stuff ever mattered. Ever.

What truly matters is that you know how deeply I have loved each and every one of you. How my love for you has sustained me through some of the darkest, loneliest moments of my life. How this love seeped into every inch of my heart until there was nothing left but memories of my love for you.

I love you all. I always will.

You all know that I've never been the type of guy to express my feelings. But I guess that no longer matters.

I want you all to know that I would not be the person I am today if it wasn't for your strength, love and support. Know that I cared for you and that I cherished every beer, every laugh, and every hug we shared over the years.

If there is one overarching regret about death is that I can no longer be there for you. What comforts me is that I will always be your friend.


It is my wish that my remains be cremated and that my ashes be spread along the Mount Vernon Bike Trail in Northern Virginia on a clear, crisp fall day. Though I wouldn't object to dropping a little of Jack on a clear, warm summer day at Hoosier Pass in Colorado. Make sure whoever is doing the spreading is riding a bicycle. :)

Disposition of Assets
As denoted in my Last Will and Testament, as amended, any investments and other assets are to be liquidated upon my death and aggregated with any cash and cash equivalents into a common fund. The designated trustee is then charged with disbursing moneys from this common fund to pay for the Service as described below. Any remaining funds are to be used to pay for an all-expenses-paid, two-week vacation for my friends and family anywhere in the world. Have fun guys!

I don't want any corny solemnity, depressing speeches or any of that standardized, gloomy funerary bullshit at any service you guys have for me. I want people to celebrate LIFE that day.

I picture a wide open field filled with wild flowers somewhere in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. Everyone will be sitting on blankets, enjoying a delicious picnic while listening to awesome live music. No one should come in black. Wearing shorts and t-shirts will be encouraged. There will be a games section for the kids, tons of balloons, and an assortment of tasty desserts.

And, for God's sake, make sure you get a liquor license! I want people to drink their fill of wine and spirits, to dance, laugh, make love, and sing long into the night.

I want some of you to love so much on that day that you welcome a new life into this world nine months hence.

Saying goodbye is never easy. But know that I am leaving this world after having found something precious and beautiful: genuine love. Love for my family. Love for my friends. Love for my fellow man. Love for myself.

When it is all said and done I died having lived my life on my own terms and without regrets. And that's more than most people can say.



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