I suppose it is some sort of sign that I need to complete my last will and testament, as well as my living will. I have come within a few words of completing both, but for some reason, I haven’t finished either. Perhaps I possess some fear of completing them only to have each being necessary within weeks – or days.
Funeral services and cremation can be expensive. My mother had a solution. She donated her body to science – the University of Nebraska at Omaha, to be exact. The university paid for virtually everything. I thought of doing the same thing until I read where neither the Des Moines University, nor the University of Iowa will accept a body that is obese. I saw no definition of what obese meant to either university, but I am considered to be on the threshold of overweight/obesity when determining my body mass index [BMI]. I have been trying to eat more so that I might grow taller and have my BMI decrease. So far, it hasn’t been working as planned.
Like many parishioners of Saint Ann’s Church in Vail, I paid little attention to the Reverend Denis L. Clark’s sermons. However, one of them had a profound impact on me. To paraphrase, he said that the body means nothing. The soul is the only part of us that remains close to God. He said that “when I die you should place my body in a gunny sack and throw it off the bridge into the Boyer River.” If you’re not from western Iowa, you probably want to pronounce the river as the [BOY- er]. You would be wrong. Boyer is a French word and is pronounced [BOO – your]. In any case, Father Clark is buried in St. Anne’s Cemetery outside of Vail in a genuinely nice location with a huge stone marker that covers the entire grave.
If a bunch of us parishioners fulfilled Father Clark’s wishes by placing his body in a gunny sack (it would have taken more than one) and throwing it off the Boyer River Bridge, the federal Clean Water Act might have been evoked.
It wasn’t that long ago when I mentioned to a small group that I am an organ donor. Stephanie said, “Honey, no one wants your organs.” Probably so. But if I can lose some weight, I can donate all of them in a package deal.
I now have a reason to lose weight – a desire to donate my body to science. It shouldn’t be so difficult. Think about it. Once death takes over, your body is no longer yours. If there are costs involved, your body will belong to your next of kin. Why burden them with financial agony when there is a simple, altruistic, cost-effective solution to burial?
However, losing weight at my age is a lost cause (pun intended). When people my age lose weight, they want to know “what is wrong with you?” “Have you been ill?” And rumors begin to take root. “He must have cancer.” “I hear he has a tropical illness.”
So, if you see me in the near future and I look slimmer, know that I have been successful in my quest to lose weight. If you see me, and I seem to have gained weight, please know that I have failed in my attempt to grow up to six-foot, five inches.
That cremation brochure was promptly buried in the round file bin.
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