Free at Last

Long ago, I took a year long class called “One Year to Live” at an institute in Alexandria, Va. Pretty far along into the class, we had the assignment of writing our own obituary, or whatever we felt we needed to put in writing.
Rev. Absurd had already decided that he wanted this to be his last lifetime here on earth, so he kept it short and sweet. He wrote this to be put on the urn of ashes, if needed.

Here are the ashes of the
Wright Reverent C. C. Absurd
Who planned to ascend,
But alas, what a nerd!!!

I must say, when I read it aloud in class, there was so much loud laughter, that the Reiki Class upstairs asked us to quiet down.

Now that my husband has died, and his ashes are at Arlington National Cemetery, and I’m getting older, I decided to put in my will what I want. I want the limerick put on the urn, and I want my children to hand out red noses for the celebration. I actually have this in my will.

We were going to put “Free at Last” on Herb’s urn due to an experience we had with him a few days before he died. Our family, Tami, Brett and I decided to make sure Herb knew it was ok with us if he wanted to move on. I had talked to Hospice nurses, and they said, yes, that was a good idea. So with Herb in a wheel chair, we gathered near, and told him he had taken really good care of us. We said we knew one of his main goals was to be a good provider, and we each told him in our own way how much we appreciated how well he had taken care of us. We said we knew he had always hoped he wouldn’t have to hang around a long time if his body stopped allowing him to lead the very active life that he loved. And we wanted him to know we are alright if he wants to leave. We sat there, waiting for him to reply if he wanted to.

All of a sudden he started singing:

“Free at last, free at last, Oh my God I am free at last”,

in a very loud off key voice. Our 2 children and I were sitting in a circle with Herb, and although we were a little startled, we realized Herb was taking his sense of humor with him! We had gotten through to him and he had accepted!

The Arlington National Cemetery would not allow us to put “Free at last” on his plaque. The young man who called me said he was so sorry. He had gone to several superiors, and they all thought is was inappropriate. I told the young man the story that went with it. We had a good laugh about it.

So, we pretty much think Rev. Absurd’s limerick and the red nose will have to be put inside the urn. Arlington National Cemetery said they have no jurisdiction over that!

Back to Herb Schaffer’s Memorial Page