Perhaps because of the death of so many friends this year, it’s a subject I’ve been thinking about, “not to dwell on, just to wonder.*” It’s been the subject of an earlier posting, in which I confessed myself to be undecided about the arrangements I want for my own mortal remains when the time comes.
Last week, in the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, I had my own personal epiphany, and I’ve made my mind up.
We didn’t go looking for the graves of the rich and/or famous, and we didn’t see any. The tombs and memorials we saw bore names that meant nothing to me, and that was what crystallised my feelings. Walking along the ‘streets’ and alleyways of this city of the dead, it came to me that I don’t want that; I don’t want to be memorialised in this way. I should have trusted my Zen instincts all along, that when I was considering burials and headstones for myself that was an ego-trap. It seems obvious now. I will leave nothing behind, as I brought nothing when I came into the world, and as I’ve tried to tread lightly on it throughout. Not that I’m anticipating departing any time soon – I hope there’s many a good year ahead – but I can write my instructions now.
* From the poem Day Tripper, recently accepted for Envoi.