My parents. My beloved Aunt Flo and a couple of years later, her husband, my uncle, Ritchie. Ice skater Mike and optimistic Michael Mc., Movie Mike, Dr. K., Bob B., Robert Schink , BJ, 'New Jersey Robert, Ladye, Emily, Liz, Dot, my confidantes. Perry Lee., my longest friend. Ronnie, fellow waiter, and cruiser, in ‘the good old days’. And the list goes on possibly containing ‘missing’ people whom I haven’t heard from in years, or just disappeared, like Pepe and Mark.
I suppose as a teenager, and a young man in my twenties, I might have thought, now and then, that I would be dead by the time I was thirty but I never really gave any thought to dying. One of my first thoughts regarding my mortality was when Flo died and I started thinking, a little, about my possible future death. Though I had friends dying of AIDS I didn’t see it as affecting me as I wasn’t at a high risk. It was when I had congestive heart failure. As soon as I got of the hospital I went on a diet watching my intake of sodium, calories, fats, protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol and fiber losing 60 pounds. I cut back, but didn’t quit, smoking from three packs a day to 15 cigarettes a day. I realized that if I didn’t start watching myself I could die. I did stop smoking completely in 2008 after I had an aorta valve replacement.
After Flo died I vowed, and told everyone, that I would never go to a funeral again, (and I haven’t), but now I started to plan my own elaborate one with a big party included. I made out a crazy Will working on it for days!
I started to think about what happens when you die. Reincarnation was the first thought that came into my mind as it sort of intrigued me. What would I come back as? Did reincarnation really mean you come back to finish things you didn’t in your previous lives? What didn’t I finish? Would I come back as a male or female? Or maybe an animal? What did the latter have to do with unfinished business? I don’t ever remember thinking, or feeling, that I had been another person in a previous life and I certainly didn’t see myself living in another century, or recalling any memories of other times, when reading the numerous books over the years.
Then there is the possibility of Heaven and Hell. I pictured Heaven as a place where I could eat, drink and smoke everything and anything without any consequences. All, and only, my great sex partners, (and those I missed) would be there at my beck and call. I’d see places I have always wanted to see, but didn’t. I would be able to watch a full production of "A Chorus Line" twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I would have everything I ever wanted and didn’t have, which granted isn't much.
There would be all the salami, peanuts, carrot cake and scotch that I could ever want. (Do you eat and drink in Heaven?) And I would have all the money possible. (Do you need money in Heaven? Or do you just get what you want when you want it?)
The best part of Heaven will be that I would be loved for whom, and what, I was without any expectations.
Should there be a Heaven then, I guess, I have to entertain the possibility of Hell. I don’t t want to go there! I wouldn’t have any of the things I expected in Heaven. In addition I would be getting only tofu to eat . I would be surrounded by people I have hurt, betrayed, dismissed, rejected and let down. NO! If I have to accept there is a Heaven then I have to accept there is a Hell.
What’s the bottom line for me? I believe you die and that’s it. You lose your flesh, and bones, to the air, earth and water around you. I’ve stipulated that I want to be cremated and my remains scattered over the sand and water on 6th Street and Ocean Drive in Miami Beach.
Oh, yes, I still want that big party though how it would be paid for I don’t have a clue. Guess my ‘heirs’ will have to figure that out along with all the debts and accumulative ‘things’ in my estate.