“My Childhood days bring back sad reflections Of happy days so long ago. My boyhood friends and my own relations. Have all passed on like the melting snow.” (Traditional.) As recorded by Van Morrison.
I have a gift for you. It isn’t wrapped in gilded paper and it does not have a magenta ribbon tied into a dainty bow. In fact its not wrapped at all. And, there’s no way it can be ‘re-gifted’ by you. It’s yours for as long as someone is around to mow, and take perpetual care of the place; and as long as the owner of the land doesn’t get his or her head turned by the sign of the dollar and destroy your present by turning it into a golf course or a condominium complex. You see, I’m giving you your own blank, black marble tombstone. Yes, you read it correctly, it’s blank. It’s isn’t real, though, it’s at the bottom of this page. Now, that begs the question of what someone will have engraved on that smooth and exquisite black surface.Will it be that you were a giant of industry, hiring and firing at the first sign of the stock market trends? But unable to take the time to attend your son’s little league game? Or your daughter’s softball championship? Or perhaps, you were a high-ranking diplomat, off to Tangiers but not to Coney Island with your children. Maybe you were an elected official living in D.C. sitting on a committee to uphold some Commandment, but you were actually away to an ultra-private club with your mistress. Maybe you were a tele-evangelist assuring us that “God Cried” when the Supreme Court rejected the Defense of Marriage Act while you support Capital Punishment in Texas and “know” that God’s tears are for a man wanting to marry a man or a woman to wed another woman. Perhaps you glorify war and detest pacifists. Whatever. But for the sake of those left behind, let’s hope your epitaph tells the tale of an honest person, who sees that forgiveness is better than retribution and love is far more enduring than distrust, jealousy and scorn. Rest peacefully and with as clean a soul as a mere mortal can be expected to have.