Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Death and Blood

I was recently thinking about what was important to me; my 'legacy', as it were, a bit of morbid reflection to be sure, but, as one ages, these are the pre-occupations that replace the sex-drive and quiet the incessant cry of ancient ghosts reminding one of uncompleted life-events.

That led me to thinking: Who do I want to speak at my funeral service? My first thought was: I want a long list of people: with a long list of maximum tears and maximum lies all recording the wonderfulness of my life and death.

But most of all I want to be surrounded by family; the primitive call of blood. My wife, my two children, my Granddaughter, even those nephews and cousins I ignored during my life (to be fair, they ignored me also, but, to be scrupulously fair, they ignored me in response to my initial ignore); I want them to stand at my coffin, in some strange way missing the 'me' they rarely encountered in life, and scream into the coffin that they are of my blood.

What is that call of "blood"? Today, the most hip people talk of family as function, not necessarily of blood: the alternative family, the modern family, the family of choice and not genetic necessity,

But in me "blood" calls, genes trump; at least in my atavistic heart. I hear the call of generations, and of Darwinian logic: we are our gene pools, and those gene pools which have gotten as far as we are. We are the surviving strands of DNA, the singular lone series of sperms that found or was attracted by that one egg(s), still floating through the universe in this cell-splitting amalgam of cells, the form we call human. This is me, my blood, the destiny that immortalizes me, and that I seek to surround me foremost at my funeral. My family, my clan, my tribe.

Others may remember me for as long as they live and in so doing, grant me the immortality of their memory cells; and to the degree that those cells and their effect on their evolution are ties to me, they are my blood also.

So I want them there, too, at the funeral parlor, scattered throughout the room, with their tall tales of my earthly importance. But mostly, in the front ranks nearest the coffin, I want blood.

And later in the day, when the coffin slips with its echoing thud into the earth, I want blood to issue forth a scream, a shriek, a cry, a wail of dominance: "We, this family. this clan, this tribe, still exist in the face of death...and the seduction of nothingness we call universe. This man is leaving, but we, of his blood--and therefore of him--goes on! And then, with a solemn spit in the face of the void, my blood kin rushes home from the burial ground not to cry, mourn, despair any longer, but to laugh, dance, drink, celebrate me in their respective bedroom, with extra effort, to create anew the unending gene pool that makes me live forever.


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