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The last of the Great Aunts died yesterday. She was 98. She was also one of the people without whom I would have grown up to be completely sociopathic, with zero empathy for other human beings1. There are certain human beings who, by their very existence, redeem the rest of the human race. Some people believe that person to be a mythical Jew the Romans subsequently nailed to a cross and left in the desert to die. For me, those people are a lot more personal, and she was one of them.

Yesterday wasn't a good day.

My godless daughter found out about this, and cuteness ensued:
"I'm sorry your aunty died, Aunt P. Will I be sad when you die?"
"No, by then you'll be all 'MUAHAHA, the power, it is ALL MINE!'"
"I think I'll be sad."
"You're not allowed to be sad. You have to make up all the lies about how awesome I was."
"I don't need to lie about that."
"You still aren't allowed to be sad for me, kiddo. I love you. I don't want you to be sad, ever."
"But you'll be dead."
"Oh, I'll totally be haunting you, so I won't be gone."
"'K. I won't be sad if you're my Capser."
(Yes, Capser, fuck off, she's 5. She means Casper. If you don't know who that is, you're not old enough to read this blog because you haven't yet learned how to use Google.)

Then her father got on the phone.
"Can I be sad if you die?"
"No. Remember the ghost thing? I have one word for you: 'poltergeist'."

So, y'know, I totally win. :D

There is currently a betting pool on how long it takes the godless daughter to call me to renegotiate this agreement so she can be at least a little sad when I die. I have no doubt whatsoever that this renegotiation attempt will happen and have already begun coming up with silly, illogical arguments to distract her from thoughts of my mortality.

When I die, I expect it to be the end of this life and if any part of me remains past that, I don't anticipate being in any condition to know or care about it one way or the other.

If I do my job right, the people I love won't ever be without me. Even when I'm physically gone, my voice will still be there in the back of their mind, saying exactly the right thing at exactly the right moment, even if that 'right thing' is something snarky, silly, or outrageous. The memory of my presence will be there for them.

If I do my job right, the answers to the question of "What Would Peregrine Do?" will be blindingly obvious - and will make them smile.2

That? That is immortality. That is my idea of Heaven.

1 - On any given day, my world is very small and the human beings I care about are very few. There are no days when there are no human beings I care about. This would not be true without certain people. I am profoundly grateful for those people.

2 - "Something probably involving thermite."


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February 2014

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