Ashes to ashes: Scott’s final visit to Las Vegas.

October 12, 2008

Someone (I believe it was Woody Allen) once said, “Death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you — just the last.”

It’s a great line, but it exudes a dark undertone that scares the shit out of me.

I don’t want to think about death or dying or funerals or wills or coffins or glum-faced undertakers or pallbearers or eulogies or favourite psalms or organ music or graves or cemeteries or crematoriums or headstones. Not now. Not ever.

But, of course, I will have to think about those things and, at my age, probably sooner than later. People I love will die. I will die. Shit happens. It says so in the Bible.

My thoughts turned to death and its aftermath last week in — of all places — Las Vegas. That’s because Viking Woman fulfilled a made-long-ago promise and left Scott W. there. More accurately, she left some of his ashes. (I won’t say where, exactly, because I’m sure we broke 6,000 American laws in the process, bad Canadians that we are.)

Scott was a fellow Sagittarian and, as such, we shared an intense passion for hoarding. But where I tend to be the quiet, introverted, bugger-off-I’m-busy sort of Sag, he was the other side of that zodiacal coin: outgoing, loquacious, everybody’s best friend. Big laugh, loud Hawaiian shirts. An actor, a director. Could recite entire Monty Python routines verbatim. Granted, that’s not my favourite trait in a person, but one mustn’t speak ill of the dead, must one?

Scott had his private side as well and, frankly, that’s what killed him. He kept his health problems to himself, didn’t seek medical help until it was too late, and died in the night, alone, in a blood-soaked bed.

Along with being December babies, Scott and I had one other thing in common: Viking Woman. He was husband Number 3. I’m Number 4.  And yes, she has been rather a busy young lady, hasn’t she?

Scott and I got along as well as could be expected, considering I’d replaced him in Viking Woman’s heart. I guess he knew it wasn’t exactly my fault, that she was the one who had conducted the pursuit, flushing me from my personal cave where I was perfectly content to review movies and watch hockey for pretty much eternity.

Scott faded out of our lives somewhat as we began our Damn the Pension World Tour (that has now reached seven years and four countries) but news of his sudden passing still rocked us to the core. He was much too young to die. We’re all much too young to die.

It took some time, but Viking Woman finally granted one of Scott’s final wishes, to have some of his cremains scattered in Las Vegas. Ironically, that’s one of my favourite destinations as well and, because we were forced into thinking about death and the subsequent disposal of remains, I informed her I’d like to have part of me left in that desert city as well.

Other Ziploc bags of my dust are destined for my home town of Langley, B.C., as well as Rarotonga, Cook Islands, where the tropic sun will forever bathe me in its blistering glory while laughing brown girls tread on me with bare feet.

Come visit me some day. In any of those locations. I’ll be the rather transparent fellow in the back of the cafe. Scott and I will nod to each other across the table and then shake our heads at what fools you mortals be. And wonder if you truly understand and appreciate how precious life is.

I’m doing my best to grasp that concept right now. Before it’s too late.

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